Network Engineer

There are many other types of engineering beyond the three examined above, although that trio captures a good cross-section of where engineering as a whole is heading. A growing focus on computer hardware and software, network connectivity for the IoT, and the medical industry will all reshape the career paths of millions of engineers around the world.

With that overarching trend in mind, let’s look at 5 more specific paths that are currently taking shape and becoming magnets for top engineering students:

Engineering students discuss concepts in robotics.

1. Robotics engineering
The “rise of the robots” is an important topic in the future of labor and productivity. The International Federation of Robotics has estimated that by 2018, 1.3 million industrial robots will have entered service in factories worldwide. Robots can perform many common work-related tasks previously done only by humans, such as assembling complex electronics and helping with surgery.

Accordingly, robotics engineers are set to be in significant demand as their field expands and what the IFR calls a “fourth industrial revolution” unfolds. They ought to be experts in:

Industrial design.
Robot behavior control.
Social implications of robotics.
Autonomous robots.
Robot applications research.
Mechanical maintenance.
Algorithm creation.
Bachelor and master’s degree programs can help develop these skills. There is also significant overlap with computer science as well as mechanical and electrical engineering. Robotics engineers will be important contributors to the IoT.

2. Water/environmental engineering
Demand for environmental engineers, especially ones with expertise in water systems, is increasing. One reason is the growing attention of many state and local governments to the quality and affordability of their water supplies.

Environmental engineers also contribute to highly technical projects such as the design of green energy systems including windmills, hydropower deployments, and solar infrastructures. The growth rate for the profession is pegged at 12 percent, or faster than the national average.

3. Data science and computational engineering
Many emerging engineering professions combine classical elements of mechanical and electrical engineering with principles from relatively new fields such as computer programming and data analytics. Computational engineering is a prime example of this combination.

Computational engineers have cross-disciplinary expertise (including electrical engineering, mathematics, data science, and computer science) that enables them to address problems using statistical modeling, computer algorithms, and other techniques derived from working large data sets.

Read more: entry level network engineer pay

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