Engineer Job Description

Job Overview

Alternate Titles: Civil Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Chemical Engineer, Environmental Engineer, Water Engineer

Engineers work in a variety of fields to analyze, develop and evaluate large-scale, complex systems. This can mean and improve and maintaining current systems or creating brand new projects. Engineers will design and draft blueprints, visit systems in the field and manage projects.

Specializations of Engineering

Civil Engineers design and supervise the construction of roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and water supply and sewage systems. They must consider many factors in the design process from the construction costs and expected lifetime of a project to government regulations and potential environmental hazards such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Civil Engineering, considered one of the oldest engineering disciplines, encompasses many specialties. The major ones are structural, water resources, construction, transportation, and geotechnical engineering. Many Civil Engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions, from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer. Others may work in design, construction, research, and teaching.

Electrical Engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment.Some of this equipment includes electric motors; machinery controls, lighting, and wiring in buildings; radar and navigation systems; communications systems; and power generation, control, and transmission devices used by electric utilities. Electrical Engineers also design the electrical systems of automobiles and aircraft. Although the terms electrical and electronics engineering often are used interchangeably in academia and industry, Electrical Engineers traditionally have focused on the generation and supply of power, whereas Electronics Engineers have worked on applications of electricity to control systems or signal processing. Electrical Engineers specialize in areas such as power systems engineering or electrical equipment manufacturing.

Mechanical Engineers research, design, develop, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Engineers in this discipline work on power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines. They also work on power-using machines such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, machine tools, material-handling systems, elevators and escalators, industrial production equipment, and robots used in manufacturing. Some mechanical engineers design tools that other engineers need for their work. In addition, mechanical engineers work in manufacturing or agriculture production, maintenance, or technical sales; many become administrators or managers.

Chemical Engineers apply the principles of chemistry to solve problems involving the production or use of chemicals and other products.They design equipment and processes for large-scale chemical manufacturing, plan and test methods of manufacturing products and treating byproducts, and supervise production. Chemical Engineers also work in a variety of manufacturing industries other than chemical manufacturing, such as those producing energy, electronics, food, clothing, and paper. In addition, they work in healthcare, biotechnology, and business services. Chemical Engineers apply principles of physics, mathematics, and mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as chemistry. Some may specialize in a particular chemical process, such as oxidation or polymerization. Others specialize in a particular field, such as nanomaterials, or in the development of specific products. They must be aware of all aspects of chemical manufacturing and how the manufacturing process affects the environment and the safety of workers and consumers.

Environmental Engineers use the principles of biology and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues. Environmental Engineers conduct hazardous-waste management studies in which they evaluate the significance of the hazard, advise on its treatment and containment, and develop regulations to prevent mishaps. They design municipal water supply and industrial wastewater treatment systems, conduct research on the environmental impact of proposed construction projects, analyze scientific data, and perform quality-control checks. Environmental Engineers are concerned with local and worldwide environmental issues. Some may study and attempt to minimize the effects of acid rain, global warming, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion. They also may be involved in the protection of wildlife. Many Environmental Engineers work as consultants, helping their clients to comply with regulations, prevent environmental damage, and clean up hazardous sites.

Water Engineers are engineers who specialize in water-based projects, including maintenance of water containment structures, disposal of wastewater, and mitigating flood damage. They design water systems, present technical data, review technical plans and submissions, and supervise the operation and maintenance of water and sewage infrastructure. Water Engineers also prepare water resource models, ensure that projects are abiding by all safety standards, and gather data. Water Engineers must be aware of new environmental laws and regulations, and also must be able to break down complex technical jargon for non-technical colleagues and clients.

Source: SnagAJob; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook