Table of Contents
- 1 Almost All The Different Types of Engineering Degrees
- 1.1 Types of Engineers, Degrees and Jobs: 1-50
- 1.2 1. Types of Engineers Under Mechanical Engineering
- 1.2.1 Acoustical engineering
- 1.2.2 Aerospace engineering
- 1.2.3 Automotive engineering
- 1.2.4 Biomedical engineering
- 1.2.5 Manufacturing engineering
- 1.2.6 Production engineering
- 1.2.7 Opto-mechanical engineering
- 1.2.8 Thermal engineering
- 1.2.9 Sports engineering
- 1.2.10 Vehicle engineering
- 1.2.11 Power plant engineering
- 1.3 2. Software Engineering
- 1.3.1 Front-end software engineers
- 1.3.2 Back-end software engineers
- 1.3.3 Full-stack software engineers
- 1.3.4 Dev-Ops engineers
- 1.3.5 Systems software engineers
- 1.3.6 Security software engineer
- 1.3.7 Quality assurance engineer
- 1.3.8 Web development engineer
- 1.3.9 Embedded systems engineer
- 1.3.10 Information engineer
- 1.4 3. Civil Engineering
- 1.4.1 Coastal engineers
- 1.4.2 Structural engineers
- 1.4.3 Architectural engineers
- 1.4.4 Construction engineers
- 1.4.5 Geotechnical engineers
- 1.4.6 Geomatics engineers
- 1.4.7 Geological engineers
- 1.4.8 Mining engineers
- 1.4.9 Transportation engineers
- 1.4.10 Railway engineers
- 1.4.11 Traffic engineers
- 1.4.12 Highway engineers
- 1.4.13 Pavement engineers.
- 1.4.14 Environmental engineers
- 1.4.15 Marine engineers
- 1.4.16 Sustainability engineers
- 1.4.17 Water resources engineers
- 1.4.18 Sanitation engineers
Almost All The Different Types of Engineering Degrees
There are different types of engineers and engineering careers out there in this country and certainly all over the world. Now this article is rather a really stretch in an attempt to cover all the different engineer types, degrees and jobs.
In my research in putting this article together, I said OK if we’re going to list the top 40, 30 or 20 most popular engineers, why not find every other type of engineering and what the engineers do?
So here we are with 100 different types of engineers that we could find on the web. It’s rather a long article and it can get boring quickly reading through them all. But it pays to know that these options are there and that you’re not limited to the most popular engineering degrees and jobs.
I have broken it into two articles so as to shorten it a bit. This is the Part 1. The second is linked here. Since we have all these different types of engineers to discover, let’s get into it.
Types of Engineers, Degrees and Jobs: 1-50
There are four primary categories of engineering. These are:
- software, and
Computer engineering is under electrical engineering. So those are the big four. And then finally there is an interdisciplinary concept around engineering. For example, mechatronics doesn’t really fit into mechanical and doesn’t really fit into electrical. So it’s both.
So let’s start with mechanical engineering and then every type of engineering within mechanical, then we move on to software, civil and electrical and the sub-disciplines within those.
1. Types of Engineers Under Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline that combines engineering, physics and math principles with material science to design, analyze, manufacture and maintain mechanical systems. It’s a broadest type of engineering.
There’s about 350,000 mechanical engineers employed in the United States alone and it’s more than any other. Within mechanical we have a whole family tree of other types of engineering.
Acoustical engineering deals with sound and vibration. It includes the application of acoustics and the science of sound within technology.
Aerospace engineering is concerned with the development of aircraft and spacecraft. It has two major overlapping branches. The first one being aeronautical engineering. It’s aerospace engineering that deals with things within our atmosphere.
So planes and things that are not outside of our orbit. Then the secondary part of aerospace is astronautical engineering and it deals with satellites and things outside of earth’s orbit, actually in outer space.
Automotive engineers design, manufacture and deal with operations of motorcycles automobiles and trucks and their respective engineering subsystems. It also deals with the modification of vehicles this is most likely the most popular avenue within mechanical engineering.
There’s only about 19,000 biomedical engineers employed in the U.S. It’s a very niche field and one of the fewest. Find out more about biomedical engineering here.
Biomedical engineers deal with the design and concepts around medicine and biology to amplify healthcare purposes. This field closes the gap between engineering and medicine combining the design and problem solving skills of engineers with biological sciences.
This requires the ability to plan the practices of manufacturing, research and development tools, processes, machines and equipment. Everything that goes on with manufacturing engineering is what manufacturing engineers do.
A production engineer typically has a wide knowledge of engineering practices and is aware of the management challenges related to production. The goal is to accomplish the production processes in the smoothest most judicious and economical way.
I’m sure you’ve never heard of this of engineering. I hadn’t too. Opto-mechanical engineers design and develop opto-mechanical systems devices and components such as optical mirrors and optical mounts. Look into this, it’s very nichey but an interesting field.
Thermal engineering is a specialized sub-discipline which involves mechanical and chemical engineering together. It deals with the movement of heat energy and transfer. The energy can be transformed between two mediums and transformed into other types of energy.
There are lot of friends who want to design helmets and do things within sports that they think is cool because they were an athlete. This field would be for you. This can be thought of as the application of math and physics to solve sports problems.
It might include designing equipment, building facilities, analyzing athletic performance, regulating standards and ensuring that safety requirements are met for these athletes.
This discipline of engineering is the parent of automotive and aerospace engineering. They integrate the engineering and business acumen to ensure that vehicles are designed, developed and produced within cost requirements. This field uses many scientific principles including thermodynamics to enhance the operation and develop solutions to design flaws.
Power plant engineering
This is defined as the engineering and technology required for the production of central station electric power. The field is focused on the generation of power for industries and communities.
All right those are the fields within mechanical engineering.
2. Software Engineering
There’s about 1.3 million people who are hired as software developers in America alone and not necessarily engineers. Software engineers develop software. They build, make and construct software. It’s a branch of computer science. actually
Within software engineering there’s the front-end engineer and back-end engineers.
Front-end software engineers
Front-end engineers implement the visual elements that users see and interact with within the web application. They design, select and install the user interface of that application.
Back-end software engineers
Next we have back-end engineers. They work on the server components of multi-tier web applications. They focus on web services and the data storage, modelling and databases. They also may be involved with the business and implementation of the logic.
Full-stack software engineers
Next you have full stack engineers and as you can imagine this is both front-end and back-end. They can tackle projects that involve databases, user facing websites, work on clients, within problem solving and do the full range of software engineering needs.
There are also dev-ops software engineers. This is the IT professional who works with software developers, systems operators and other staff to oversee code and the release of the deployments.
The role calls for someone who has relevant hard and soft skills to overcome the traditional barriers between software development, quality assurance, testing and IT operations teams.
So if you were going to work within software engineering, this would probably be you if you’re not the best coder, you’re not the best technical person but you really good communication and team management skills.
Systems software engineers
Systems engineers design computer software systems that streamline internal operations such as the communications, inventory and record keeping in industries ranging from finance to medical research.
Security software engineer
You could be a security software engineer. This is a specialized type of engineering that focuses on the security aspects in the design of systems that need to be able to deal robustly with possible sources of disruption ranging from natural disasters to malicious acts.
Quality assurance engineer
This is someone who monitors every phase of the software development process, making sure that the software adheres to the standards set by the development company.
Web development engineer
You could be a web development engineer. They work in the development of a website for the Internet. The duties of web development software engineer range anywhere from developing simple single static pages with plain text to complex web-based Internet applications, electronic businesses, social networking services and beyond.
Embedded systems engineer
They deal with the process of controlling various devices and machines that are different from traditional computers. They integrate software engineering with non-computer devices and leads to the formation of embedded systems.
There are also information engineers. This is the discipline that deals with the generation, distribution, analysis and use of information, data and knowledge in systems.
3. Civil Engineering
There are five types of engineers and engineering degrees under of civil engineering. In general civil engineering is the discipline that deals with the design, construction and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment.
This includes public works such as roads, bridges, canals, dams, airports, sewage systems, pipelines, structural components. Basically anything that is designed and in terms of infrastructure or things that influence civilian and human life that could also be the environment.
Civil engineers for the most part build bridges and roads. There are different types of engineers that you would find within civil engineering and here they are…
We have coastal engineering and their training and duty is to focus on the specific demands posed by constructing at or near the coast such as the development of the coast itself. So jetties and barriers and dealing with scours and dealing with bridge piles is what coastal engineers do.
The next types of civil engineering are structural engineers. They create the drawings and specifications, perform calculations and review the work of other engineers. They write reports, evaluations and observe construction sites. If you want to build and design those buildings and bridges, this is the type of engineering for you.
Within structural engineering, we have two types of engineers. These are…
They deal with the technological aspects and multidisciplinary approach to planning, design construction and operation of buildings. Here’s a link to another article that compares engineers versus architects and another one on architectural engineering. Check them out when you have time or would like to know more.
Construction engineering is the other type of engineering falling under structural engineers. This deals with the designing, planning and construction and management of infrastructure such as roads, tunnels, bridges, airports.
All the things that actually get designed and implemented by civil engineers, construction engineers are there to make sure that it all goes smoothly.
If you’re a more hands-on kind of person or engineer and want to be on site more and actually be there to see things happen within civil engineering this is the type of engineering degree you want to go for.
Another primary field of civil engineering is geotechnical engineering and this deals with everything under the ground. This is application of scientific method and engineering principles to the acquisition, interpretation and use of knowledge of materials of the earth’s crust and earth materials for the solution of engineering problems and the design of engineering works. So foundations, retaining walls, all these pipes and utilities that are underground pertains to what geotech engineers do.
The next different types of engineers under civil are geomatics engineers. This is the management of global infrastructure through the collection, measuring, monitoring and achieving of geospatial data. Also within geotech you could be a geological engineer.
This engineering deals with the application of geology to engineering study for the purpose of assuring that the geological factors regarding the location, design, construction and operation of engineering works are recognized and accounted for.
The final different types of engineers under are mining engineers. They deal with the extraction of minerals from underneath the ground, above the ground or within it. Technically a lot of people consider petroleum engineering to be within geotechnical engineering. However, I did not include it here under civil but I talk about it later.
There’s still more different types of engineers under civil. Next is transportation engineering. This is the application of technology and scientific principles to the planning, functional design, operation and management of facilities or any mode of transportation in order to provide for the safe, efficient, rapid, comfortable, convenient, economical and environmentally capable movement of people and goods and transport.
Within transportation engineering you have other sub different types of engineers such as freight, safety, traffic, airways, seaways and road construction. It’s a really broad field so let’s dive into it.
You could be a railway engineer. This is a multi-faceted engineering discipline dealing with the design construction and operation of all types of rail systems.
You could be a traffic engineer. As a traffic engineer you would be using engineering techniques to achieve the safe and efficient movement of people and goods on roadways. Traffic engineers could even deal with things like livestock and how they move around in an industrial agro-business situation.
It’s even more broad than that within traffic engineering we have things called intelligent transportation systems which is things like connected vehicles, data and monitoring systems and everything that’s actually linked in with tech and civil engineering. It’s a really interesting field of engineering.
Another set of different types of engineers are highway engineer. This involves the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of roads, bridges and tunnels to ensure the safe and effective transportation of people and goods. Highway engineering design is very boring so if you like it, more power to you.
This is also another one of the boring engineering disciplines. There’s actually people that literally just create different types of concrete and different types of asphalt so that our roads last longer and are safer and don’t get destroyed by big trucks.
But it is so boring in my opinion. It’s basically just taking all these samples of different types of concrete and pavement and testing them over and over and over again in the lab. It sucks but they design and maintain the flexible types of roads asphalt and the rigid ones which is concrete.
The final bracket of civil engineering is environmental engineering. They take the broad scientific topics like chemistry, biology, ecology, geology, hydraulics, hydrology, microbiology and math to create solutions that will protect and also improve the health of living organisms and improve the quality of the environment in general.
Within that you have several different types of engineers a you can possibly imagine.
You could be a marine engineer. This involves the boat, ships, oil rigs and other types of marine vessels or structures as well as oceanographic engineering or ocean engineering.
Another subset of engineers is sustainability engineering. This is typically offered at the master’s level and it’s pretty niche. Sustainability engineering is the process of designing or operating systems such that they use energy and resources sustainably so they don’t compromise the environment.
This is a big deal because as we all work as different types of engineers, we want to be able to reuse as much as possible before you even recycle and be 100 sustainable.
Water resources engineers
You could also train and work as a water resources engineer. This is technically also known as the field of hydrology but there is a course in university called water resources engineering I had to add it to this list of engineers.
It’s the design of new systems and equipment that help manage human water resources. This includes water treatment facilities, underground wells and natural springs.
Finally under environmental engineers, you could be a sanitation engineer. This type of engineers rely on the application of engineering methods to improve sanitation of human communities, primarily by providing the removal and disposal of human waste. In addition, they also deal in the supply of safe drinkable or potable water.