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How to become an engineer

Are you considering engineering as a future career, but unsure of where to start? Or are you interested in learning more about Engineering careers?

What does an engineer do?

Engineering is a broad field with exciting and varied career opportunities. You could be working anywhere from the aerospace and defence industry through to the automotive industry, working on a whole host of brand new technologies.

Engineers apply mathematical and scientific principles to solve problems and create things. They design, build and test systems and structures such wind turbines, cars and computer programs. Whilst there are numerous different types of engineers, they mainly fall under 4 categories: civil engineering, electronic engineering, mechanical engineering and chemical engineering. If you’re unsure which field of engineering you want to go in to; a general engineering course would be the best idea. General engineering courses are offered by many universities.

The routes into engineering

When deciding to embark on an engineering career, it’s important you consider the requirements you should meet to become a successful applicant. This can include academic study and in many circumstances, on-the-job training .

There are three main routes to becoming an engineer:

  1. A Levels or equivalent

To study an engineering related degree, you will need a good A Level in Maths and Science.

  1. Undergraduate degree

After completing you’re a Levels, there are multiple engineering degrees you can do. You can choose to study for a three-year Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) or a four-year Master of Engineering (Meng). You usually choose your specialism when applying for your degree, with around 40 types to choose from.

  1. Apprenticeship Scheme: Another popular route into engineering is through an apprenticeship scheme, where you can learn on the job, gaining experience and earning money. At the end of an apprenticeship you gain a qualification, and this enables you to progress within your career. Organisations offering engineering apprenticeships include BAE Systems, Toyota, BT, Muller and the Royal Navy.

Why engineering is a great career choice

The Engineering UK 2018: the state of engineering report states that the mean starting salary of engineering and technology graduates in 2015/16 was £25,607, 18 per cent higher than the average for all graduates. The report also outlines the mean starting salary for first degree leavers in the following roles:

  • General engineer: £27,121
  • Civil engineer: £25,445
  • Mechanical engineer: £26,101
  • Aerospace engineer: £25,169
  • Naval architecture: £24,627
  • Electronic and electrical engineer: £25,699
  • Production and manufacturing engineer: £24,625
  • Chemical, process and energy engineer: £26,971

There is an estimated need for at least 124,000 engineers and technicians with core engineering skills required each year. However, due to the UK’s ever imposing skills shortage, we currently have an annual shortfall of 59,000 engineering graduates and technicians to fill core roles. Could you help fill the gap in the market?


Browse engineering jobs

JAM currently has a range of contract and permanent engineering roles across multiple industries. Please click here to browse.

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