Engineering and other STEM-related fields have been on the rise for decades, and even with a possible recession, the engineering field will continue to be in decent to high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is still a projected growth of 140,000 jobs through 2026, especially within civil, mechanical, and industrial engineering sectors.
Despite the popularity, usefulness, and even dependence Americans have on this career path, there are still misconceptions about the jobs that engineers do and how the field as a whole operates.
One Tech Staffing offers this myth-busting approach to explain how vital the engineering career is to our increasingly technological and software-driven world and how people have interpreted the job wrong for years.
1. Myth: Engineers Are in School for a Long Time
It depends. Yes, many engineers seek a doctorate or master’s degree in their chosen field, but that is not a requirement for all levels of engineering.
Some engineering positions need only a bachelor’s or even associate’s degree for entry-level roles or more. Plus, some companies offer further education programs that allow employees to continue their education while working.
2. Myth: Engineers Love Math & Use It Constantly
False. Loving math is up to you. Some engineers love it, while others don’t. And as for its use, yes, engineers frequently do “use” math, but what and how often they use it varies. Generally, engineers should be able to apply physics, chemistry, geometry, trigonometry, and algebra concepts to their job, but they rarely sit all day performing difficult calculations.
The type and amount of maths required also depend on the specific engineering field. While technical roles may need more computational math performed, other project management-based roles may not require as much.
3. Myth: Engineers Aren’t Creative
Totally FALSE. Engineering isn’t (and never was) a myopic focus on numbers and calculations. The purpose propelling engineers is problem-solving and seeking better, more sustainable, and more efficient solutions to complex problems, which is inherently creative.
Engineers must re-imagine machines, digital technology, and even entire civil systems to make them operate at higher efficiency, greater capacity, more safely, and more environmentally protective. These innovations can only come from creative people.
4. Myth: Engineers Lack Social & Communication Skills
That’s just rude. Whether a person is introverted or extroverted, shy or outgoing, these personality traits are not requirements for being an engineer. In fact, engineering demands good communication and people skills.
Engineers often work in teams for project development. They meet with clients to present scopes, plans, and project details. They negotiate financing and work with investors on project budgets and management. In short, these “soft skills” are essential in engineering.
5. Myth: Engineers Work on Large Infrastructure Projects
Not always true. Some engineering positions do allow for large-scale construction or infrastructure projects. However, most tasks require a team to design, plan, and develop these large enterprises, and the work may be done in both offices and on-site.
But any machine, device, or human-made material has had input from engineers, including design, construction, operation, testing, and maintenance. And their input may come from time spent in an office, a research lab, or a job site.
6. Myth: Engineers Only Work in One Applied Area
False. The idea that civil engineers build only bridges, electrical engineers work only on poles and wiring, or mechanical engineers design only engines is an outdated way of thinking.
With more specializations emerging within engineering, you can find engineers using multidisciplinary approaches to effectively solve all kinds of problems that range across different fields.
Think of how electrical engineering crosses into civil and mechanical engineering when designing alternative energy and power systems for businesses, governments, and entire communities or how civil engineers rely on hydraulic engineering to develop sustainable water supply and sanitation systems within a city.
7. Myth: Engineering Jobs Are Repetitive
Not true. The idea of testing hypotheses and repeating processes to ensure they will work is common in all science and technology disciplines, but that doesn’t mean they are repetitive or boring.
No two problems are exactly the same, even in specialized engineering fields. Since the role of engineers is to design elegant solutions that heighten the quality of life, even repeatable solutions have to be tailored to the specific conditions they are meant to improve.
For example, a civil engineer specializing in building bridges may rely on one type of design structure, but that design has to account for the unique variables in the environment where it will be built.
The bridge may need to be taller, wider, longer, or utilize different materials or stabilizing mechanisms depending on its location, and a civil engineer will be responsible for ensuring those specifications are met.
8. Myth: Engineering Is a Man’s Job
That statement couldn’t be more wrong. This field has been growing for decades, and with growth comes diversity. Women are entering engineering, and other STEM careers, at an increasing rate. Currently, women represent around 34% of all STEM workers.
The growth is even higher when education is factored in, as women comprise 44% of STEM workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
9. Myth: Engineering Isn’t a Transferable Skill
Absolutely false. With engineering expanding into so many other science, technology, and math fields, biomedical, and even humanitarian fields, it’s being touted as the new liberal arts degree.
Problem-solving, being a creative and lateral thinker, utilizing multidisciplinary approaches, re-imagining how a process works, and more are all advanced skills that transfer into nearly any career path.
Find engineers or people with engineering degrees and backgrounds in policy development, scientific research, business management, financial industries, communications and marketing, and more.
And don’t forget how many engineers are involved in tech startups!
One Tech Staffing: Your Source for Engineering Employment
There’s no myth in One Tech Staffing’s ability to help you find a career in engineering! Our specialization in placing you in your ideal technical or engineering job is all true, and we have the proven track record to show it.
Submit your resume to start, and let our team keep you in the loop for current and future job listings. Or check out our job board to see if any recent listings are right for you!