5 Engineering Disciplines and How They Differ

5 Different Engineering Disciplines

  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering

With so many different engineering disciplines around today, it’s not surprising that engineering in one form or another is in almost every aspect of our lives. It’s also not surprising that so many students are choosing to earn an engineering degree. Regardless of where we’re at or what we’re doing, there is or was some form of engineering involved. Despite the large number and types of engineering around, it’s amazing that each one is different than the next. Here are 5 top-paying and different types of engineering.

See our ranking of the 30 Best Values for Aerospace Engineering.

1. Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum engineering is a discipline that deals with the extraction of gas and oil from below the Earth’s surface. Petroleum engineers are not just the professionals responsible for getting the petroleum out of the ground. They also are the ones who design and develop that methods to do so. Petroleum engineers develop plans to drill gas and oil fields, design equipment to extract the fuels and develop methods to inject fluids into oil reserves to force out the gas and oil. Petroleum engineers may fall in the following categories:

  • Drilling engineers
  • Completions engineers
  • Production engineers
  • Reservoir engineers

Petroleum engineers are expected to see an employment growth of 15 percent between 2016 and 2026 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

2. Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline that deals with the developing, designing, testing and overseeing of the manufacturer of electrical supplies and equipment. These may include radar and navigation systems, electric motors, communication systems, power generation equipment. They are the professionals who develop the electrical systems used in aircraft and automobiles. Electrical engineers also oversee the installation and testing of electrical equipment used to ensure products are up to code. Electrical engineers should see a job growth of seven percent from 2016-2026.

3. Computer Engineering

It can safely be said that behind every computer and piece of computer hardware is a computer engineer. Computer engineers, often referred to as computer hardware engineers, research, develop, create and test computer systems and computer equipment, such as routers, circuit boards, processors or memory devices. They also create schematics for computer equipment they intend to design, update current computer equipment, analyze the testing results and supervise the manufacture of the computer. Computer engineers also ensure that all computer hardware parts work together with the appropriate computer software. An employment growth of five percent is expected for computer engineers during the 2016-2026 decade.

4. Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineering is the engineering discipline that involves the creation, design and testing of aircraft, satellites, missiles and spacecraft as well as the prototypes for these products. Aerospace engineers coordinate and supervise the design, testing and manufactures of aerospace products and ensure that the products meet not just the customer’s requirements and quality standards but also environmental regulations and engineering principles. They also specialize in designing special types of aerospace products. Aerospace engineers may be either astronautical engineers or aeronautical engineers. The bureau reports that aerospace engineers should see a job growth of six percent from 2016-2026.

5. Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering is an engineering discipline that uses the principles of math, chemistry, biology and chemistry to solve problems regarding the production and use of food, drugs, fuel, chemicals and other products. Chemical engineers perform research to create new and better manufacturing methods, establish safety protocols, design equipment layout and develop methods of generating electrical currents with controlled chemical processes. Chemical engineers also work in the production of electronics, energy, paper, clothing, and food while also troubleshooting and ensuring the products are compliant with government regulations. A job growth of eight percent is predicted from 2016-2026 by the BLS.

Engineering is a field that offers many great career opportunities and an excellent wage potential. The BLS states that about 194,300 new engineering jobs should be created by 2026. Earning an engineering degree is definitely worth it to be able to pursue this career, particularly with so many engineering disciplines from which to choose.