3 Ways To Choose Which Engineering Industry To Work For.

“It shouldn’t be difficult to choose…but it is.”

Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

“Which type of engineering job should I choose?”

I received this question one time when I was speaking at engineering career night at my old community college.

It’s a fair question. There are a lot of engineering students that are gearing up for their first engineering job and don’t know which industry they want to go into.

Today I am going to give you the 3 ways you can choose which engineering industry you should work for.

1) What Do You Like?

What is the easiest way to choose what industry you should be an engineer for?

I’ve come to learn that the best answers in life are usually the simplest.

Back in 2008, the first Iron Man movie came out. It was from that movie that I decided I wanted to work as an electrical engineer for the defense industry. So that’s what I did when I got out of college. I got a job as an electrical engineer for the defense industry.

The easiest way and the one I always recommend to new engineers is to choose based on what they like.

The easiest path in life is not the one most traveled. The easiest path in life is the one that you would enjoy traveling the most.

Think about it, if you are hired as an engineer you will be working 8+ hours a day for 5 days per week. That’s 40 + hours a week (Working more than 40 hours a week does happen when you are an engineer).

What do you think will be easier? Working 40+ hours a week in an industry you don’t like? Or working 40 + hours a week in an industry that you find exciting?

I can guarantee that you will last longer in the industry you actually like than the one you don’t like.

You will also be more successful in the industry you do like because it won’t be difficult for you to go the extra mile to get things done.

So the advice here is, choose based on what you like.

2) What’s In Demand?

How many professions can you name that don’t exist anymore?

Back in the 1800s there was a profession known as a lamplighter. These were people who went around the town and lit up the street lamps at night. Do you still see lamplighters walking around? Needles to say these people practically don’t exist anymore.

You don’t want to fall into the same situation. After you choose what industry you would want to work for, you need to check the job outlook for your specific engineering title in that industry.

There are 2 good places you should look to determine this.

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. Job board sites (Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com, Monster.com etc.)

The bureau of labor statistics has a lot of good information, but can be a bit vague at times.

Using job board sites you will have to search a bit more but it will give you a sense for what’s in demand right now.

You can see what companies are currently hiring in the area you want to work in and look-up what industry each company is in.

If you find multiple job postings for companies that are all very similar then you know that industry is a good place for you to work.

3) How Much Do You Want To Get Paid?

How much do you want to get paid?

It’s a serious question that most new engineers don’t ask themselves. Some industries are clustered in certain states and those states may pay more.

The same job title will see different salaries for the same years of experience in different states and industries.

For example…Aerospace engineers in Washington state get paid an annual mean salary of $131,110 in May of 2020. Compare that to Aerospace engineers in New Jersey in May of 2020 getting paid $119,680. Why?

Washington state is the birthplace of aerospace company Boeing. With that, a huge number of aerospace parts manufacturers for Boeing’s supply chain came about. Because so many aerospace parts manufacturers are in Washington state, other companies locate offices over there such as Blue Origin and SpaceX.

The bureau of labor statistics is a good site to use to see the pay differences for the same job title in different states.

BONUS TIP: Networking

Here is a bonus tip for you. Start talking to engineers in different industries.

  • Ask them about their experience.
  • Ask them about what path they took to get to where they are at.
  • Ask them how they like the industry and what other industries they could get hired for.

These engineers have a wealth of knowledge and have inside information that you probably can’t find anywhere else.

Conclusion

Picking which industry you want to work in should not be a difficult task but it is and I feel for the people that go through it.

I went through it too when I was going to get my first engineering job.

You want to look at all 3 factors that I laid out here. But most importantly try to choose an industry that you like.

You will have a harder time trying to be successful in an industry that you hate, than in one that you like.

What’s Next?

If you enjoyed this article, here are the 3 things you should do right now!

  1. Follow me on Medium for more posts on how to get an engineering job and what its like working as an engineer.
  2. Click here to read my other post “I’m 25, I Feel Lost In My Engineering Job.” Here’s The 3 Reasons Why
  3. Looking to get your first engineering job? Click here to discover how to get an engineering job fast with no experience!

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