Engineering involves applying maths and science to solve problems. Engineers find practical uses for scientific and mathematical discoveries, so they're the ones behind many of the amazing objects, products and structures we use in our everyday lives. Engineering is responsible for innovations that push society forward.
There are a huge range of engineering careers, from the electrical engineers who developed your phone to the software engineers who designed the apps on it. Then there are civil engineering jobs which involve designing the railways, buildings and bridges you use every day, and the environmental engineers who create structures to protect the environment.
Engineers use their technical know-how and lateral thinking skills to come up with ways to make our buildings, technology and machines faster, stronger and safer.
Almost every gadget or built object you see has had a contribution from an engineer. There are about half a million engineers working in the UK, while the industry as a whole employs almost two in 10 people in the workforce. So there are plenty of different job roles within the sector to choose from. Engineering careers include:
Learn more in our in-depth guide to engineering jobs.
If you've ever been tempted to pull something apart to see how it works, or if you enjoy making things - everything from paper planes or jewellery, through to apps and games - then an engineering career could be for you. It's also key that you enjoy thinking outside the box to find creative solutions to problems.
Engineers have excellent:
The school subjects you'll usually need for engineering jobs are maths, physics and computer science, particularly if you want to study it at university. You should also aim for at least a grade 4 in English at GCSE.
However, it's important to remember that engineering is not all about science and maths. Art and design can be useful too.
Many engineers will need a degree in engineering or a technology related subject like computer science. Degrees are usually a four-year combined course taking you up to master's level (called an MEng or master's of engineering). If you see a course advertised as a BEng (bachelor's of engineering), you may need to do an extra qualification at the end to pursue an engineering career.
To specialise in a particular area you may also need to study for a PhD.
There are many higher and degree apprenticeships in engineering, including:
After completing a degree, apprenticeship or vocational qualification in engineering, you could go on to gain professional registration as Engineering or ICT Technician (EngTech or ICTTech), Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng). Like doctors and lawyers, professionally registered engineers are well respected. The letters after your name demonstrate academic ability, expertise, competence developed by work place experience and commitment to your chosen career.
186,000 engineering roles will be needed in the UK annually until 2024 to plug the skills gap.
NASA plans to get humans to Mars by the 2030s.
In the future, marine engineers will building structures that float on our oceans and generate energy from waves. Mechatronics engineers will design and build robots that help us in all aspects of our lives.