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9 Careers You Didn’t Know Existed in Engineering

9 Careers You Didn’t Know Existed in Engineering

Nearly every aspect of life in modern communities is shaped by engineering, whether it’s the design, construction or maintenance of our surroundings, both natural and man-made.

If you’ve walked on a street, lived in a building, drunk from a tap or ridden a bus, thank an engineer. Bridges? Engineers design and build them. Buildings, dams, waterways, entire cities and more? You guessed it: Engineers have a hand in all of it.

If you’re thinking about getting a degree in engineering, then you need to check out this list of potential specialized careers that you can pursue after graduation.

1. Urban Engineer

Think it would be fun to dream up a city? That’s what urban engineers do—they design and construct roadways, street lighting, sewers and public parks.

Even the placement and layout of bike paths in cities are thought out by urban engineers. They look at how public commodities, spaces and services work together and develop strategic plans to improve their safety, accessibility and functionality for residents.

2. Architectural Engineer

Who designs skyscrapers? Architectural engineers do. This branch of engineering uses innovative technology to test the principles of structural engineering in erecting buildings big and small.

Taiwan’s Taipei 101 is more than just a big building—it’s a testament to what architectural engineers can achieve. Between 2014 and 2024, around 67,000 new jobs will be added to this field.1

3. Construction Engineer

While architectural engineers design buildings, construction engineers carry out the plans and execute the designs. They develop the building sites, know how much weight materials can bear, arrange for construction crews and transportation of equipment, and manage the actual construction of buildings.

In short, construction engineers take a paper design and turn it into a physical reality. The projected job growth for construction engineers is 20 percent through 2022.2

4. Water Resources Engineer

Water resources engineers deal with the logistics of the collection of water as a natural resource. They work with lakes, rivers and streams, tracking the quality of the water and predicting or sometimes redirecting where water will go. They also work closely with water management facilities in both urban and rural areas.

Common tasks for water resources engineers include analyzing data from bodies of water and designing water treatment facilities.3 Typically, they analyze the data in order to design improved facilities that enhance the cleansing ability of water treatment systems.

5. Earthquake Engineer

Earthquake or seismic engineers have a straightforward job: They design structures to withstand earthquake tremors and safeguard against buildings collapsing, which is the biggest threat to public safety during earthquakes.4

To build earthquake-proof buildings, engineers need to have an understanding of how different landscapes and materials respond to intense tremors, how buildings move when being shaken, and what changes can be made to structures to help them survive tremors while keeping them in compliance with building codes.

6. Transportation Engineer

These engineers know how to move people. Transportation engineers are concerned predominantly with helping people move safely and efficiently through planned environments, like cities, in an intuitive way for each community.

They manage freeway design, traffic infrastructure, mass transit, airports, canals and ports, working to facilitate easier transportation and minimize congestion.

This is also a growing field: Demand for this type of engineer is expected to rise 20 percent in the next decade.5

7. Skatepark Engineer

Attention skateboarders: This is a real job. Skatepark engineers design skateparks, and if that sounds easy, remember: They need to really understand math and physics to create perfectly angled ramps and halfpipes. They’ll also need to have a solid grasp of urban planning and construction.

As skateparks continue to be built (there are around 3,000 skateparks in the United States), the need for this specialized job may steadily grow.6

8. Environmental Engineer

Ever thought about what happens after you flush? Environmental engineers think about waste all the time—specifically, how to dispose of it without contamination and how to control what kinds of chemical, biological and thermal wastes go where.

Careers in this sector of engineering deal with remediating contaminated sites, air and water pollution, and many other kinds of ecological hazards.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for this type of engineer is expected to increase 12 percent between 2014 and 2024.7

9. Roller Coaster Engineer

Major theme parks make major money, and some of the big draws at these parks are roller coasters—the faster, the newer and the scarier, the better.

But it’s not so simple to design a thrilling-yet-safe ride; in fact, it takes a roller coaster engineer, someone who both understands what kind of coaster will work in a specific area and the math and physics that go into making a coaster run.

Roller coaster engineers decide where tracks should go and set weights and speeds according to the materials used. They are involved in the design of all of the most innovative coasters out there, such as coasters that use virtual reality headsets, and other record-breaking coasters—the highest, the fastest and the longest.8

Best of all: They even test the rides!

What Kind of Engineer Will You Be?

As our infrastructure is gradually replaced, engineers will only stand to have a larger impact in our day-to-day. Find your field and get started today!

Whether you want to construct buildings or design skateparks, engineers generally possess a similar set of characteristics that make them successful in the field. See if you have what it takes here!

Case Western Reserve University has engaged Everspring, a leading provider of education and technology services, to support select aspects of program delivery.