Engineering Graduates Do What?

Nancy Anderson
Posted by

You’ve earned your degree, now how will you use it to dive into the broad field we refer to as “Engineering?” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are many different specialty areas to pursue under this heading. Following are details on the 17 engineering specialties covered in the Federal Government's Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system:

  • Aerospace engineers design, test, and supervise the manufacture of aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. Those who work with aircraft are called aeronautical engineers, and those working specifically with spacecraft are astronautical engineers.

  • Agricultural engineers apply their knowledge of engineering technology and science to agriculture and the efficient use of biological resources, equipment, sensors, processes, and structures, such as those used for crop storage.

  • Biomedical engineers develop devices and procedures that solve medical and health-related problems by combining their knowledge of biology and medicine with engineering principles and practices.

  • Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry to solve problems involving the production or use of chemicals and other products and sometimes supervise production.

  • Civil engineers design and supervise the construction of roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and water supply and sewage systems.

  • Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, test, and oversee the manufacture of computer hardware, including computer chips, circuit boards, computer systems, and all related equipment.

  • Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment from electric motors; machinery controls, lighting, and wiring in buildings to radar and navigation / communications systems.

  • Electronics engineers, except computer, are responsible for a wide range of technologies, from portable music players to global positioning systems.

  • Environmental engineers use the principles of biology and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems in water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and health issues.

  • Health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors, prevent harm to people and property by applying their knowledge of systems engineering and mechanical, chemical, and human performance principles.

  • Industrial engineers determine the most effective ways to use the basic factors of production—people, machines, materials, information, and energy—to make a product or provide a service.

  • Marine engineers and naval architects are involved in the design, construction, and maintenance of ships, boats, and equipment for aircraft carriers to submarines and from sailboats to tankers.

  • Materials engineers are involved in the development, processing, and testing of the materials used to create a range of products, from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs and snow skis.

  • Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines.

  • Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers, find, extract, and prepare coal, metals, and minerals for use by manufacturing industries and utilities.

  • Nuclear engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation, including nuclear power plants.

  • Petroleum engineers design methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth and determine the drilling methods use.

“But wait, there’s more!” Seriously, as the site says, there are multiples of subcategories and specialties within each heading! Have fun deciding which way to head, new areas of focus are develop constantly. Enjoy!

You can do this!

By K.B. Elliott
K. B. Elliott is a freelance writer for Working many related positions in the Detroit area for over 30 years gives him a unique perspective on the process. To read more of his blogs, please go to, and be sure to check out the postings for jobs in nearly any industry at Nexxt


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch