Jobs in the engineering industry

You hate Mondays because you hate your job. You should become an Engineer…

OK, so you’re a practical person, looking for a job that makes the most of your designing and building skills. But how do you take your enthusiasm for engineering to the next level and find your perfect position?

If you’re interested in engineering but don’t know where to start, here are some of the top jobs in engineering:


Civil Engineer

What is civil engineering? Civil engineering involves the design, construction, and maintenance of a variety of infrastructures – from roads, railways and airports, to dams, airports, and bridges. Whether they’re designing projects in an office as a Consultant, or implementing plans during construction, a Civil Engineer’s role is all about creating functional structures that complement their environment.

What you need: A genuine passion for designing and building things, coupled with good problem solving skills. You will also generally need at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering.

What you can earn: Starting salary for a recent graduate is around £20,000, quickly rising to £30,000+ with the right level of experience.

Perfect for: People who like to see the ‘big picture’.

Our advice: If you want to become a Civil Engineer but don’t have a degree, don’t panic. There are many ways to break into the industry – whether you start as a technician whilst studying part-time, or join an apprenticeship to gain the skills needed to progress.

How to become a Civil Engineer

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Aerospace Engineer

What is aerospace engineering? Aerospace engineering is a broad area, involving the testing, development, and production of various types of aircrafts – including commercial and passenger jets, military aircrafts, and weapons systems. An Aerospace Engineer could also include the design, manufacture and maintain spacecraft and satellites.

What you need: Interest and expertise in aircraft and flight technology, and a natural aptitude for science. An Aeronautics Degree would be preferential, although a range of other degree subjects (with a background in science or mathematics) will be accepted.

What you can earn: Around £25,000 as a starting salary; £50,000 once fully qualified/experienced.

Perfect for: People with their head in the clouds.

Our advice: Internships are a great way to start building experience in the aeronautics industry and will often lead to a permanent position. Airlines and manufacturers are often on the lookout for interns, but it’s a competitive field – so be proactive when you start searching.

How to become an Aerospace Engineer

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Mechanical Engineer

What is mechanical engineering: Mechanical engineering involves the design, development, testing, and manufacturing of materials used to create machinery. Mechanical Engineers could work on anything from building engine components and maintaining industrial plant equipment, through to servicing robotic machinery or even designing computer chips.

What you need: A methodical and mathematical approach to your work is essential, as well as a good understanding of key scientific principles. A degree is not necessary, but specific qualifications or apprenticeships will be key to finding the right position.

What you can earn: Starting salary is usually around £20,000, but skilled Mechanical Engineers will easily earn £30,000+ within a few years.

Perfect for: People who like to take things apart.

Our advice: Take up hobbies which enable you to gain a practical knowledge of mechanics. Auto mechanics, metalworking, and even robotics are good examples and will be valuable interests to add to your CV.

How to become a Mechanical Engineer

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Structural Engineer

What is structural engineering? Structural engineering refers to the design, construction and maintenance of large structures – like hospitals, oil rigs, and sports stadiums. Structural Engineers are experts in advising on what materials will work best from a technical, environmental and safety standpoint – meaning their help is vital to ensure structures are built in a safe and efficient way. Although they are sometimes considered a subsection of civil engineering, Structural Engineers are more concerned with the safety of their structures and materials than general design elements.

What you need: Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills are essential, along with a strong aptitude for maths and a solid grasp of physics. A degree in civil or structural engineering would be preferential, but a degree in another engineering discipline or even a science degree may be accepted.

What you can earn: A graduate position will pay in the region of £22,000, but will increase to a salary of around £32,000 once proven.

Perfect for: People who like to plan for every eventuality.

Our advice: Becoming a member of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) will provide you with professional recognition and is almost an industry standard for this profession. If you have no previous experience in the field, you can still apply for graduate membership and this accreditation could help set you apart when it comes to your application.

How to become a Structural Engineer

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Gas Engineer

What is gas engineering? Gas engineering involves the installation, service, and maintenance of gas appliances. Gas Engineers could choose to specialise in installation or service – but whether it’s a gas fire or cooker in a home, a heating system in a large office building or even the gas systems for an industrial estate, it all comes under the remit of a Gas Engineer.

What you need: First and foremost, you need to be a practical person. Although a degree is not essential, you’ll need highly developed technical skills and a strong attention to detail. And, those with a fear of small spaces and/or heights need not apply.

What you can earn: Apprenticeship salaries start at around £14,000, but will raise to £30,000 after around three years in the industry. And, if working for a larger company, amenities such as a company van, phone and laptop will usually be included.

Perfect for: People who are good with their hands.

Our advice: Apprenticeships are readily available in this field, with a whole host of the UK’s top gas providers on a continuous recruitment drive for these positions. But be warned: there will be a maths test as part of the process, so make sure you’re suitably prepared.

How to become a Gas Engineer

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Other jobs in Engineering to consider: Software Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Chemical Engineer, Rail Engineer, Maintenance Engineer, Petroleum Engineer, Pipeline Engineer, IT Security Engineer


Top tips

Here are some of our top tips for finding a job in the engineering industry:

  • If you’re not qualified, take a course in engineering which you can fit into your schedule.
  • Apply for an apprenticeship or internship to help build experience.
  • Take up relevant hobbies which allow you to show off your skills.
  • See if there are any specific societies or professional bodies you can become a member to help reinforce your professional status, and also enable you to network.
  • Be persistent – It will take a lot of hard work and training to become an Engineer, but once you’re fully experienced in the field, it can be incredibly rewarding.


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