Industries & Professions /
As the world changes with the latest technologies and as we grow accustomed to the luxuries they afford us, there will be an increased demand for highly skilled, innovative professionals to continue the trend. These advancing technologies will put pressure on industry to improve and update their current systems-whether they are for production facilities or corporate offices-if they are to stay competitive. Overall, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) predicts slow to average growth for all engineers through 2020, although job prospects can vary dramatically by specialty. The more traditional engineering sectors will see average or slow growth. This is due to the continued sluggish economy and a slower than average demand for products related to the field. Types of engineers included in this average or slow growth category are aerospace engineers, agricultural engineers, chemical engineers, computer engineers, electrical/electronic engineers, industrial engineers, and material engineers. The DOL says engineers with specific skill sets in these sectors may fare better than others. For example, aerospace engineers that use collaborative engineering tools and processes and who know about modeling, simulation, and robotics will have better job prospects through 2020 than those who do not. In the agricultural sector, opportunities will often come from companies that market their products on an international basis. Opportunities in the chemical engineering sector will derive mainly from new fields in the sector, such as nanotechnology, alternative energies, and biotechnology. Computer hardware engineers who have a higher-level degree and knowledge or experience will see the most opportunities in this field. Civil engineers will find more employment opportunities when it comes to drinking water projects rather than the traditional projects of road and bridge construction, mainly due to shrinking budgets for these types of projects. According to the DOL, electric and electrical engineers are more likely to find employment with engineering services firms, since more companies are expected to cut costs by contracting engineering services rather than directly employing engineers. Since industrial engineers are most often employed by manufacturers, their prospects are not as favorable as other sectors. These engineers may find more opportunities in less traditional sectors such as hospitals, where facilities are expanding to meet growing populations in cities. The biggest opportunities for material engineers may be found at companies or organizations that are interested in reducing their energy consumption and costs. Despite the fact that growth in many of these sectors is average or slow, there are still a few sectors of the engineering field that are experiencing faster than average growth. One type of engineer that is expected to experience a very high demand is the biomedical engineer. In fact, the DOL cites a 62 percent increase in demand for biomedical engineers. This extremely high rate of increase is attributed to the increased demand for biomedical devices and procedures, such as hip and knee replacements, primarily from the aging Baby Boom generation. According to the DOL, this generation seeks to maintain its healthy and active lifestyle, so is turning to doctors for biomedical solutions to allow them to remain active. In addition, says the DOL, the general public has become more aware of medical advances, leading to an increase in the number of people seeking biomedical advances for themselves from their physicians. Another reason for the high rate of growth for this sector is the breadth of the activities that biomedical engineers can take part in, thanks to the diversity of the training they receive.
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