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How to become an Engineer

Engineering is a broad field that encompasses a variety of subjects—mechanical, civil, structural, electrical, industrial and aerospace engineering are just a few. You might be wondering what engineers do, or what engineering qualifications are available. 

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to become an engineer. It’ll cover information on the different types of engineering degrees and programs available, as well as the specific skills and knowledge that are necessary to succeed in the field. We’ll also cover the different stages of developing your engineering career, including education, internships, and professional certification –allowing you to map out your postgraduate studies and eventual degree in engineering. 

Read on to start learning about what you could do in engineering, and how to get there. 


Why become an engineer? 

There are several reasons why you might consider becoming an engineer in the UK. Engineering is a varied field that allows for a lot of career advancement, as well as the opportunity to work on interesting problems across industries. You might start as an entry-level engineer and work your way up to specialised technical, management or executive positions.  

As an engineer, you’ll work on a wide range of projects—from designing new products to repairing bridges, building houses or developing spacecraft components. You’ll have the opportunity to work on interesting and challenging projects in the areas that interest you most. 

As an engineer, you’ll be a problem-solver and will often be involved in projects that aim to improve the world we live in. You can make a real difference in the world and help address some of the biggest challenges that society faces today. Engineers typically earn good salaries, especially as they gain experience and move up the career ladder, offering you a good standard of living and financial security. 

Overall, becoming an engineer in the UK can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice that offers a range of benefits, including good job prospects, opportunities for career advancement, and the chance to work on interesting projects and make a difference in the world. 

How do I become an engineer? 

As someone who has finished or is due to finish an undergraduate degree in an engineering discipline, there are several ways that you can build your employability and capability as a professional engineer through postgraduate education.  

One option is to take on a taught or research master’s in a relevant area to your existing interests and skills, like an MSc or MRes. These may involve completing coursework, passing exams, and completing a research project or dissertation. Many postgraduate programs in engineering may also involve industry placements or internships. They’re a great option if you’re looking to build professional connections and maximise your chances of moving straight into graduate employment. 

Another option is to complete a postgraduate certificate or diploma program, which typically involves a shorter period of study and may focus more on practical skills and less on research. You might consider one of these to develop specialist skills or alter your academic focus. 

Doctoral research programmes, like the MPhil or PhD, provide you with the option of conducting research in your particular discipline. These in-depth programmes involve working independently on a large research project or thesis. The advanced skills and knowledge creation that you complete in these courses can be highly attractive to employers, depending on your specialism. 

There are various professional accreditations and charterships that you can work towards as a professional in engineering, which will prove your expertise to employers and further boost your employment prospects. 

What are the entry requirements? 

In general, to study your chosen engineering discipline at postgraduate level you’ll need to have an undergraduate degree in a related area. This will typically need to be at a 2:2 level or above, though some courses may request a 2:1 or higher. In some cases, having lower academic qualifications is still acceptable if combined with significant relevant professional experience or other training. 

The entry requirements for postgraduate engineering courses will vary depending on the subject and level of study you’re applying to, as well as the university offering the programme. 

You can check the entry requirements for courses you’re interested in through the postgraduate course finder tool. 

What skills do I need to become an engineer? 

As an engineer, you’ll often work on complex problems and must be able to think critically and creatively to find solutions. To achieve this, you’ll be adept at analysing data and information in order to understand problems and develop solutions. 

Engineers must pay close attention to detail to ensure that their designs and plans are accurate and reliable. Having a strong understanding of the principles and techniques of your specific field, as well as proficiency in the use of relevant tools and technologies, will be essential. 

You’ll often work in teams and must be able to collaborate effectively with others to achieve common goals. Communicating effectively with a variety of stakeholders, including team members, clients, and management, will allow you to succeed. 

Creativity is also an important skill for engineers, allowing them to come up with new ideas and approaches to solving problems. 

Working to tight deadlines is common, and you should be able to manage time effectively in order to complete projects on schedule. Adapting to new technologies and changing circumstances, allowing you to stay current and relevant in your field, will help you excel. 

What universities offer engineering courses? 

There are a variety of subjects that you can choose from for a postgraduate degree in engineering. The majority of UK universities offer multiple engineering programmes. You can explore the full range of courses available and identify your top choices using our dedicated course search tool. 

Some of the top UK universities for engineering include: 

Next: Search for engingeering courses


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