What do Engineers do?
Engineers are professionals who invent, design, analyse, build, and test machines, systems, structures, data systems and materials to fulfil objectives. As Engineer you could be developing solutions to technical problems, developing new products, or fixing things. Using knowledge of science and maths to bridge the gap between scientific discoveries and applications that are useful to consumers and society.
If you are great as seeing the bigger picture, curious and love the challenges of solving problems, this could be an exciting and rewarding career to explore. To find out how to become an Engineer in Australia, read on.
- High level of knowledge and understanding in maths and science
- Communicates effectively to accurately relay ideas and instructions
- Inquisitive, analytical, practical and methodical
- Creative thinker, who’s able to prioritise and pays attention to details
- Collaborative worker who is adaptable and great at managing time
You’ll usually be working on projects, so every day could be different depending on the industry, project and which stage of in each project you are at.
For example, you could be meeting with clients, preparing proposals, working on designs, preparing estimates and budgets, experimenting, writing reports, presenting detailed instructions, or working on site, meeting deadlines and delivering solutions.
- In the Mining industry you could be looking for suitable mine locations and planning operations to extract minerals, ores, petroleum or natural gases safely, practically and economically.
- Within the manufacturing industry you could be researching and experimenting with new products and recommending materials to do specific jobs.
- Those in the Construction industry might be responsible for planning and supervising works, carrying out installations, maintenance work, performing planned or emergency inspections.
- Civil Engineers could be designing and building anything from skyscrapers, and roads, to dams and bridges.
- Working in the Aerospace industry, you could be designing new aircraft, solving space shuttle problems, or developing probes for deep-space exploration.
Lifestyle Impact: Medium
- Part Time opportunities: Low – most opportunities are full time positions with only a small percentage of part time roles available across most industries (source: joboutlook.gov.au)
- Slightly above average hours for full-time workers: 43-47 hours a week seems the norm (42 hours a week being the average) (source: joboutlook.com.au)
- Engineers salary (average) $108,500* per year (Source: com.au)*salaries vary between industries, and your skills and experience
- Future career growth: Strong (Source: joboutlook.gov.au) *Varies between industries from Stable to Very Strong
- There is a chance that working in Engineering could see you travelling between different locations, working overtime outside of normal business hours and maybe even at night or on weekends. But there are also many roles where this isn’t necessarily true.
Engineers are most in demand in these locations:
There are opportunities across Australia, and internationally. Historically New South Wales and Victoria advertise the largest amount of Engineering vacancies. (Source: Australian Engineering Vacancies Report 2019)
How to become an Engineer in Australia
In order to work as an Engineer in Australia, you’ll need a relevant accredited tertiary qualification, most commonly that’s a Bachelor’s degree. Which degree you’ll need varied depending on the industry and role you are aiming for.
Step 1 – No matter which industry you go into, you’re going to need strong Maths and Science skills, so focus on these subjects at school as well as the necessary English component.
Step 2 – Narrow down your particular areas of interest, read up about opportunities in each industry or job role. That way you’ll be able to select the best tertiary pathway to get you where you would like to be.
Step 3 – Complete relevant tertiary qualifications
Vocational Qualifications are an option e.g.:
If this is the route you choose, then you could consider and Apprenticeship or Traineeship that could give you the qualifications, work experience and a salary.
A large proportion of Engineers in Australia get a relevant degree, you’ll need to explore these in more detail once you know which industry you’d like to work in.
Bachelor of Engineering (Specialisation) with Honours at UTAS – you can choose to specialise in a particular area
You may have the option of studying some courses online.
Step 4 – Get lots of work experience if possible, applying for an internship could be a jump start. Think about signing up for a mentorship programs or finding your own mentor.
Find out more here –
Find other professional and technical societies here
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Patent & Intellectual Property Lawyer
Find out more about alternative careers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
What do Engineers do?
They design, build and fix things. From machinery to buildings and everything in between. For example, at a molecular level, you could be working on drug delivery systems inside cells. At a macro level, you might be finding solutions to help clean up oil spills, abandoned industrial sites and other biohazards. On a galactic level, you could be designing spacecraft for space explorations. You may be working on projects that find solutions to provide people with clean drinking water, safe food storage, or working to help to protect the environment.
How long does it take to become an Engineer?
On average it takes 3-4 years to qualify as an Engineer, you’ll most likely then have to work as a graduate engineer for 2-3 years before becoming considered a Professional.
Do I need to go to university to become an Engineer?
You won’t have to go to university to become an Engineer, there are other pathways including VET. However, the majority of Engineers do go to university and a degree could open up more opportunities with employers.
What Industries do Engineers work in?
Engineering is another occupation that’s extremely diverse.
Some examples of industries you could work in include:
- Building Services
- Chemical Engineering
- Food Engineering
- Petroleum and Petrochemical
- Process Control (IT)
- Civil Engineering
- Coastal and Ocean
- Electronics and Telecommunication
- Mechanical and Manufacturing
- Minerals and Metallurgic
- Risk Engineering
For more details go to Engineers Australia
What are 3 things I can do right now to work help me become an Engineer?
If you’re at high school and you’d like to find out if a career as an Engineer is right for you and start learning skills and gaining experience, here’s a few things you could try:
- Explore the world of Engineering, try to narrow down your areas of interest and make sure your subject selections cover any areas of assumed knowledge.
- Enter engineering competitions at school, in your community and around the globe.
- Consider summer courses for coding or other engineering skills, volunteer or try to get work experience within the industry. Perhaps you could engage your entrepreneurial side and engineer a solution for a problem around your home, school, or community.