What it’s like studying and working in Engineering

17/11/2017

If you’re considering studying or working in engineering fields of any sort, you’re at the right place! This is a quick overview of the degree and the industry. I personally have graduated this year from Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering from UNSW, however, this article is inspired by many friends from a variety of different fields.

Academic

1.    The Academic Side

Engineering degrees start off with very generic content with subjects in mathematics, physics and some first-year electives which give you an open choice. After your first year, your degree will begin to specialise and you’ll see class sizes getting smaller with more people in your stream with you. The content gets harder and harder whilst the contact hours get lower. In the first year, you should expect to have a full timetable but it gets very small towards the end stages of your degree. Finally, most engineering degrees in New South Wales require you to do an honours component which requires a thesis or capstone project. This is a yearlong project of your choice that allows you to showcase what you have learned. This will be a long and arduous project but can be one of the most enjoyable parts of your degree.

2. The Industry Side

Engineering jobs are on the decline now. That is a fact that you should be aware of coming into the industry. The more employable areas are in the computing, software and civil side of the spectrum. Though this shouldn’t waver your dreams of becoming an engineer, you should just be aware and ready. The engineering field is one that highly respects and rewards experience. In my second year, I found an internship but it took over 50 applications and 10 interviews with one single offer. Internships are mandatory for graduation and despite anything you hear from Universities, YOU need to find an internship yourself. No one will help you. So, get on this early on so you can build an amazing portfolio. If you have this in mind and focus on this early on, you will do well so don’t stress too much.

industry
extra

3. The Extra-Curricular Side

Experience is hard to find but extracurricular activities can provide you some excellent experiences and fun times. Some examples are Redback Racing and Sun swift both of which were you are designing, building and racing real cars. I would recommend you join these groups in the first year so you can taste real engineering and work on projects that will help you gain an internship early. This was a big regret of mine, I only joined projects like this later in my degree.

So that’s a brief overview of the engineering degree which has been an extremely rewarding yet difficult degree for me personally. If you love the sound of the things I’ve mentioned then you should go for engineering!