Albert Einstein once put it, “Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been.” In short, by applying mathematical and scientific principles, engineers turn dreams into reality; problems into solutions; theories into application, creating many tremendous feats that shape human civilisation. Without engineers, there will be no infrastructures to underpin our cities, no technological innovations like smartphones to make our lives easier, and no drugs to save lives and improve health … to name just a very few in an inevitably endless list.
With the unlimited possibilities engineers may create, you may already have an interest in becoming an engineer. Wait, you need to know this: 5 requirements to fulfill to become an engineer in the UK.
1. Understand yourself
There are different types of engineers, from civil engineers to aerospace engineers to electrical engineers to software engineers. The 5 largest engineering areas are: chemical engineering civil engineering, electronic and electrical engineering, industrial engineering and mechanical engineering. As such, you have to first find out which is your favourite and choose the type of engineer you want to be.
2. Academic attainment
Many engineering employers run graduate schemes for the engineering degree holder. To this end, you need good to top grades in A-level mathematics and physics in order to be admitted to engineering degree programs, with chemistry or biology being additional requirements subject to certain engineering fields. Prestigious universities like Cambridge and Oxford require three A* grades to study engineering at undergraduate level, while others require only CCC to AAB. Most universities also offer one-year Engineering Foundation programs to those interested but without having studied relevant A-Level subjects as an alternative.
You may also become an engineer through an engineering apprenticeship, where you earn paid experience in the engineering industry accompanying study. There are 4 levels of apprenticeships in engineering with a Higher National Diploma or Foundation Degree being the highest attainments awarded upon completing level 4 (or higher apprenticeship).
Recently, degree apprenticeships, a new government funded scheme, have been launched in various engineering disciplines for 18-19 year-old school and college leavers to get an industry-designed part-time degree and provide with them a relevant full-time paid job in the course of such apprenticeships. Apprentices will get 3-6 years of professional work experience with a Bachelors or Masters degree awarded at the end, and all costs are funded by the government and their employers.
To move up the career ladder as an engineer, it’s imperative to attain professional registration recognized by the Engineering Council: Chartered Engineers or Incorporated Engineers.
To become an incorporated engineer, you need to possess an engineering related degree or a Higher National Diploma or Foundation Degree followed by structured professional training.
Chartered Engineer, on the other hand, is considered the highest professional qualification to prove competency of an engineer. You may become a Chartered Engineer by acquiring a Masters of Engineering degree or Engineering Doctorate, accredited by a professional engineering institution; or submitting a technical report, based on engineering experience and demonstrating an understanding of engineering principles.
5. Lifelong learning
Elon Musk and the late Steve Jobs are hailed as epitomes of the spirit of the engineer. The greatness of engineers should see their endless pursuit of knowledge, innovative solutions and professional excellence to improve the world as well as their consistent manifestation of leadership, professional communication, management and interpersonal skills. As such, obtaining the status of a Chartered Engineer should not be the end but just the end of the beginning for every engineer.