Do you know all the different types of entry level engineering jobs you can get with an engineering degree? I sure didn’t when I graduated with my engineering degree. After working in the engineering industry for 15 years, I've discovered many different types of jobs for engineers. The industry you work in will have a huge effect on your quality of life. Your industry will determine the amount of money you make, the hours you work, the amount you travel and many other aspects of your day-to-day life.
Job Sectors for Entry Level Engineers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics breaks down the number of engineers in each industry as follows:
You can find every type of engineering discipline in every type of industry. Aerospace engineers will work in the private sector at Boeing. On the other side of the coin, they will also work for the FAA regulating the private sector. The same is true for civil engineers, mechanical engineers and so on. While you can find every type of engineering in every industry, some disciplines will be more prominent in one type of industry than others. You will find more civil engineers in government and construction jobs than you will computer engineers.
Entry Level Engineering Jobs in Manufacturing
Manufacturing is a very broad term. It is so large that it can encompass so many types of companies. By searching the general job websites, you should have an idea of the types of industry that hire your specific type of engineer. With manufacturing, there are two main career paths you can chose from: technical engineering or technical sales. Your personality will largely determine which type of job you would be better suited for.
Once you know those basics, you can search Industry Week’s list of the top 1000 public manufacturers (http://www.industryweek.com) for companies in that specific industry.
Entry Level Engineering Jobs in Engineering Services
Engineering service firms are also known as consulting engineering firms. Consulting firms are hired when an organization does not have the time, staff or technical expertise to complete a project on their own. Companies will select a consulting firm based on the type of technical expertise required for the project. Consulting firms may be hired by both public and private clients, typically depending on the firm's specific field.
The Engineering New Record publishes a yearly list every April of the top 500 Design Firms, along with many other engineering ranking lists (www.enr.com/toplists). The top 500 list is based on the size of the engineering company. The firms at the top of the list will be global engineering consulting firms with offices across the United States and all around the world. As you go down the list, the companies will be located all across the United States or only in a state or two.
Entry Level Engineering Jobs in Government
Governmental organizations tend to offer a better work/life balance than private companies. They provide more paid holidays and more time off. Typically the office shuts down at 5:00pm and you are free to spend your evenings as you chose. The tradeoff is that governmental organizations pay less than private companies. A typical rule of thumb: local government pays more than state government, which pays more then federal government. If you are looking for a job in government, I would start with local governmental (cities) and then work your way up to state finally federal. Keep in mind that the larger the organization, the more bureaucracy it will have, which can frustrate young engineers.
To find open federal and state job opportunities, start by searching USAJOBS (www.usajobs.gov). Local government positions can be found on the city website or most major job websites.
Entry Level Engineering Jobs in Construction
Some construction firms, especially large construction firms, hire entry level engineers. Engineers can serve in a technical lead, or as construction project managers. Similar to consulting, the Engineering New Record publishes a yearly list every April of the top 400 Contractors. (www.enr.com/toplists)
A Peak Inside Engineering Companies
What do you buy these days without reading the reviews beforehand? Almost everything I buy, whether a book or a toaster oven, I will read reviews on the internet before buying. Why would you not want to see other people’s experiences before committing yourself to a product? So why is it that so many engineers will decide to work for a firm before reading the reviews on that firm?
GlassDoor is the most well known website that allows employees to write reviews about the company they work for. This website provides a “glass door” that you can peak through to see inside a company before you commit to working there. GlassDoor is not the only website like this. Listed below are a few of the most popular:
GlassDoor - https://www.glassdoor.com/
Indeed - https://www.indeed.com/
Vault - https://www.vault.com/
Career Bliss - https://www.careerbliss.com/
Kununu - https://www.kununu.com/us
You have to be careful when reading reviews on these sites. You cannot put too much stock in any one review. Like with every review, no matter how great the company or product is, there is always one grumpy dissatisfied customer.
These websites offer great insight into companies and industries. When you are looking at specific companies or exploring different potential industries, these websites are a great tool in your arsenal. If you are willing to spend hours reading reviews to find the right headphones, you should do the same for your job. This is going to be the place you live five of your seven days per week for the next few years.
Get Your First Entry Level Engineering Job
Competition is stiff for entry level engineering jobs. When applying for a job online, less than 5% of applicates get called in for an interview. That means only five people out of a hundred. If you want to make sure you have a winning resume and are one of those people selected. Download our free guide: The Winning Entry-Level Engineering Resume. Avoid the common mistakes most engineers make and create an amazing resume.
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I wish you all the engineering success possible. Indeed, I hope you conquer the job market and change the world! Don’t let anyone or anything stop you.