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In the general sense, engineers use mathematics and science to develop ways to harness the materials and forces of nature economically for the benefit of mankind.  Engineers are responsible for a multitude of projects which help improve our world, and the broad scope of engineering encompasses many varied disciplines.  Common engineering disciplines include electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, and industrial as well as aerospace, environmental, computer, biomedical, and automotive.  Other engineering disciplines include geological, metallurgic, nuclear, marine, safety, optical, and structural.  So many everyday objects we take for granted were invented or made more efficient by engineers!

engineering - engineers working in a refinery A university degree in engineering is applicable across a wide variety of disciplines and many engineers move easily between them throughout their careers.  Most engineers enter the field with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.), while about 20-30% go on to achieve a Master's degree or Ph.D.  Engineers differ from scientists in that their work is a search for the practical solution to a given situation.  However, because of the similarities between science and engineering, many engineers who go on to earn a Master's degree first earn a bachelor's degree in Science.  Many engineers find work in some sort of design, research, technical services, or production within the manufacturing, construction, agriculture, or government sectors.  Some engineering work is repetitive, such as maintaining production quality, but other work is highly creative, such as finding new solutions to pressing environmental and social issues.

Engineers possess a set of skills which are crucial to modern life.  They run factories and power plants, build bridges, design aircraft, and engineer many more things that we take for granted every day.  As we move into the future, segments of engineering will evolve to focus on the increased need for economical green energy solutions and the problems of pollution, poverty, hunger, and clean water.  Because engineers have a hand in almost everything we use in modern life, the need for skilled engineers is high and engineering remains one of the most reliable forms of employment.

For more information about engineering, visit The Engineering Profession page on the U.S. Library of Congress website, and read this book, entitled Careers in Science and Engineering.

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Engineering Guide - Engineers and Engineering Firm Directory