Engineering is a popular and high demand career choice with many opportunities for growth and development within the UK. Many engineering students will begin by studying engineering in a broad sense before selecting specialist areas to study in subsequent modules of their course. Broadly speaking, the engineering industry, particularly building systems engineering, is often split into seven sectors. These sectors contain various sub-sectors and engineering exists in many forms outside these sectors.

To provide a concise view of the seven sectors of engineering, we’ve compiled a list of their various characteristics to help you find your next engineering role.

1. Civil Engineering

Civil engineering involves the design, construction, and maintenance of various large-scale-built environments. The construction of new transport networks such as airports, roads, and railways are all part of civil engineering. Canals, dams, pipelines, sewerage systems, and commercial building structures all fall under the remit of civil engineering. Civil engineers will often work on large-scale projects in collaboration with various other professionals.

2. Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is a broad and diverse field. It involves any project where electricity is key to functionality. Electrical engineers may work on vehicles, cars, planes, trains, and boats. They may be involved in domestic and commercial electrical systems or work in an electrical power station where electricity is generated. Electrical engineering is a fast-moving area where new advancements in technology are continually demanding increased levels of electrical support.

3. Mechanical Engineering

A more traditional area of engineering, mechanical engineering involves the production and maintenance of machines. This could involve motor vehicles, factory-based machinery or mechanical systems located in buildings such as air conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems. Mathematical theory plays an important part in mechanical engineering where a good knowledge of various formulas and physics-based calculations is required. Mechanical engineers will often undertake a high percentage of maintenance roles as machines must be kept in excellent working order.

4. Structural Engineering

Closely connected to civil engineering, structural engineering refers to the design, construction, and safety of a building or large edifice such as a bridge, dam, or dock. Structural engineers must have a good knowledge of architecture and the characteristics of various materials. Structural engineers will design buildings and structures to meet a certain purpose, e.g. A multi-storey car park. They must consider both strength and aesthetics during the design phase and often use collaborative software such as CAD design programmes and BIM (Building Information Modelling).

5. Modern Technology

Often considered a sub-sector of electrical engineering, technology or software engineering involves the development of cutting-edge software, appliances, and computer systems. Technology engineers will often work on high-tech information systems such as security systems, CCTV networks, internet access technology, IT systems, communication networks, and business-specific technology. A technology engineer will often specialise in one of the above areas or an even more niche area such as artificial intelligence or developing the next generation of fingerprint or retina scanning security systems.

6. Water systems and plumbing

Plumbing engineers can be involved in any water management system. These can vary from domestic heating appliances to industrial waste management systems. Water systems engineers often work closely with civil engineers and mechanical engineers. Projects often require a collaborative approach where the different sectors of engineering work together to find the best project solution. A good knowledge of physics is required to understand the importance of pressurised systems and water flow calculation.

7. Energy production and supply

Energy engineering is currently undergoing drastic changes. As a society, we are moving away from relying on traditional fossil fuels for energy production, with a focus on more sustainable methods. A modern energy engineer will most likely work on developing the next generation of green energy production and supply. This could be as a wind turbine engineer or as a specialist solar panel technologist. Lithium battery technology is also at the forefront of recent energy developments as is the nuclear energy sector.

As you can see, engineering is a broad and diverse area. It is also an excellent choice in terms of career prospects and salary expectations. If you’d like to find out more about our current opportunities within engineering call PPR on 01895 808188 or contact us online.

Related content:

What is the difference between white and blue collar operatives?

7 transferrable skills that you can apply to the construction industry

Promoting equality: women in the construction industry