Kangan Institute Blog

How to Become an Engineer

If career growth, stability and job progression are important to you then starting a career in engineering may be a smart move! The average salary for a graduate engineer is among the highest graduate salary in the country and especially for those working in the more remote regions.

Engineering courses provide students with a fundamental strong foundation in science, technology, problem solving skills to design, create and improve current systems. There is a considerable proportion of problem solving skills required using specialist technical and practical skills.

If you are an aspiring engineer and considering a career in engineering, here are some helpful insights and tips to help you break into the industry.


Engineers work in a diverse range of industries within Australia, from telecommunications to pharmaceuticals, mining to information technology. Historically, engineering has been divided into four broad disciplines: chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering. Within each of the disciplines, there are various branches of engineering covering a wide range of fields. This profession has changed over time and there are now numerous sub-disciplines and emerging streams of engineering, such as environmental, geomatic, mining and software.

Engineers combine and control science and technology in order to explain and enhance our everyday life. Nearly almost every aspect of our lives has somehow been influenced by engineering, everything from analysing the water we drink, the creation of the buildings we live and work in and all products created by robotic technology in factories which makes our lives more comfortable and much more efficient.

Get Certified

For those looking to become a professional Engineer, you will be required to complete a four-year full-time Bachelor of Engineering degree at university. Many students often decide to choose to undertake a combined degree course, combining Engineering with Science, Business or Arts or a range of any other subjects. Further training courses or double degrees are highly regarded and can potentially increase career opportunities in later years.

Another option prospective students have is to qualify as an Higher Engineering Tradesperson, this can be achieved by completing the Certificate IV in Engineering (MEM40105). Similar to most jobs, relevant work experience is usually a crucial element of any Engineering qualification and is highly attractive to future employers.

Find a Mentor

Finding a more experienced role model who is available to support your career development is key to career progression. As in all industries, working alongside someone who will inspire you to do better and will continue to push you to be the best you can in your career will keep you on the right path. Look up to your superiors and learn how the exercise leadership. Watch others who you admire and follow their strengths. Do the same for those engineers you do not admire, note their weaknesses and avoid repeating them. Ask your mentor questions, asking questions allows us to consider all possible options and extends our comfort zones which ultimately helps us grow.

Learn How to Manage People

Although your chosen profession is engineering, this does not mean you should stop focusing on your transferrable skills. Building your professional skills outside of the profession can significantly increase your value to your company. One of the most highly regarded skills is your ability to manage other engineers. As technology and science are together evolving rapidly, unfortunately ever so few people keep up to date with the advancements. You should make it your priority to learn new skills and understandings. Upon learning new skills and teaching others puts you in great stead to creating the conditions for future generations of engineers.

Career Options

There are so many different areas of engineering to work in, however, most engineers will choose to specialise in one particular area. Each engineering discipline requires professionals with specific skill sets. Consequently, all engineers need to have strong mathematical skills, logic and the ability to rise to intellectual and practical challenges.

Throughout your studies, you may need to decide on a specialisation to focus on, although most engineers fall into the specific niche by identifying what they are naturally good at or what the find the most enjoyable. There are other engineering careers, but here are some of the areas you can become qualified in are as followed:

  • Chemical engineers are involved in employing chemical and biological scientific techniques to transform and process raw materials into usable, functional products and substances.
  • Civil engineers are involved in the planning, design and construction of the built environment. Civil engineers are responsible for providing engineering expertise of the physical infrastructure that supports modern society. This involves many forms of construction including large buildings, bridges, stadiums, sewerage systems, dams and harbours.
  • Electrical/Electronic engineers are required to deal with large-scale electrical systems, such as electrical generators and engines, whilst electronics engineers are all about small scale electronic systems such as motherboards, circuits and nanoelectronics.
  • Environmental engineers are required to assess and manage the effects of human and other activity on the natural environment.
  • Mechanical engineers are responsible for the designing, organising and managing the construction, operation and maintenance of mechanical equipment, apparatus and machinery that use heat and mechanical power to operate. Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest and most popular engineering disciplines.
  • Mining engineers specialise in mine management and development, extractive technology, mine reclamation and minerals processing.

Engineers are now able to access an overwhelming amount of information, data and materials which can essentially enhance their careers. With access to new information, the way we research may be very different to past generations. You can now access anything from basic equations to advanced technical materials. Whilst having experience in the field is a significant advantage, having a great mentor, an expanded skill set and continual education will see you progress a considerable amount.

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