If you have an aptitude for science and math and enjoy applying their principles to real-world problems, engineering may be the right career for you. It’s a fast-growing professional field with application across dozens of industries, meaning job prospects for new graduates are quite positive. In order to fulfill the high demand for engineering professionals, many engineering programs have become more flexible in recent years by offering online degree programs, which are especially great for working adults looking to start a new career in the growing field of engineering.
Although there are more than a dozen engineering specialties available, each with its own unique coursework and expectations, the degrees listed below are in particular demand in today’s workforce. More importantly, each can be acquired through online educational programs.
Computer engineers work in a field that essentially integrates computer science and electrical engineering. These engineers work to analyze and solve computer-oriented problems, both based in hardware and in software. They invent ways to make computers smaller, faster and more powerful, and they often work to integrate computers into other machinery and systems in order to make them more efficient and productive. In their degree programs, computer engineering students take a multitude of courses, including electromechanics, computer architecture, digital imaging, programming, software design, microprocessors and electrical circuits.
Computer engineers often receive some of the highest starting salaries of all the engineering specialties because of their necessity in so many industries. They may work in computer software companies, in cybersecurity divisions for private companies or for the federal government, in the biomedical sciences or even in automotive design. As computers continue to permeate every product industry, prospects for computer engineering jobs will see further positive growth.
Civil engineers tend to work on big-picture projects and structures, both natural and man-made, which affect our everyday lives and our physical safety. From design to supervision, they oversee large construction projects such as bridges, tunnels, dams, highways and even water and sewage treatment systems for cities. The work they do is integral in keeping transportation systems safe and functioning in every city and state in the nation. While they are most often working in offices, civil engineers also visit construction sites to advise on building projects and oversee their safety and progress. To earn their degrees, civil engineers will take classes such as highway engineering, earthquake engineering, hydraulics, geophysics, surveying and construction safety.
Civil engineers have high median salaries and the field is expected to continue to grow over the next several years. Many are employed by governments spanning from small municipalities to federal transportation agencies, but many private construction companies also employ civil engineers to oversee projects. This field of engineering is expected to see modest growth in coming years, creating positive job prospects for new graduates.
Electrical engineers study and work with any devices or systems that rely on electricity and electromagnetics in order to function. They may work to develop new products that produce electricity, or they may work to redevelop existing technologies and machines so that they use electricity more efficiently. Electrical engineers study courses ranging from circuits and embedded systems to wave electronics and telecommunications in order to earn their degrees.
Electrical engineers have a broad spectrum of industries to choose from when applying for jobs, making this degree one of the most versatile in the field of engineering. These engineering professionals may work in medical technology, steel production, vehicle production and design, mobile device technology and even air traffic navigation or radar technology. As our electrical systems continue to advance, the need for more electrical engineers will grow.
Electronics engineers are a sub-set of electrical engineers who design and redesign electronic devices and, in doing so, impact many areas of everyday life. They may invent new technologies like global positioning systems, or they may enhance existing technologies for car stereo systems or digital watches. While earning their degrees, they study areas such as device physics, audio visual design, integrated circuit design, instrumentation engineering, robotics and telecommunications.
Electronics engineers are in high demand across many industries, as Americans continue to use electronic devices at a high rate. Entry level graduates in this field typically begin working under more experienced professionals before taking on larger roles in design or management projects. They may find work in the aerospace industry, biomedical research industry or in computer hardware engineering, and industry trends show positive growth potential in this engineering specialization.