How to get a job in engineering

Welcome to the latest instalment in our Be Ambitious series. Today we look at the practical and varied world of engineering.

'Engineering' is a generic term that actually covers a very broad range of businesses and industry areas, not just the more well-known ones like construction and electrical. Think mechanical engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, just to name a few. Engineering work can take place in all kinds of environments, including offices, laboratories, studios, outdoors or underground. Wherever there's some kind of technology that needs to work, an engineer isn't too far away.

In short, engineering is basically about building or creating things, sometimes direct from the design concept, so that they work properly. You could say an engineer is someone who applies science to reality.

So, what do you have to do to become an engineer?

Firstly, there are a couple of check boxes you'll probably need to tick from the outset. Most importantly you'll need to be reasonably good at maths and science, as your work will require a lot of calculus and understanding of scientific principles. It'll also be helpful if you enjoy problem-solving, designing things and have an analytical mind.

Formal qualifications

To become an engineer you'll also need some kind of formal qualification. TAFE NSW offers over 300 engineer-related courses, so whichever course you enrol in depends on exactly what industry area you've got your eye on. If you're not sure which field you'd like to work in, a good starting point might be Certificate I in Engineering, which will give you the basic competencies required to work as an operator in a range of areas. If you have a better idea of what kind of engineer you'd like to be, there's a range of courses available at all levels including Certificate I, II, III, IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma.

Study during high school

Did you know you can begin your TAFE studies while you're still at school? This is through the TVET program. TVET stands for "TAFE-delivered vocational education and training" and covers many industry areas relevant to engineering such as Metal and Engineering, Electrotechnology, Automotive, Construction and Information and Digital Technology. It means you can learn valuable workplace skills and gain hands-on experience while you're still at school.

The TVET program has been developed by the Board of Studies and can count towards your HSC. Upon completion of your TVET course you'll be awarded a Certificate qualification or statement of attainment, which is nationally accredited and recognised. If you're interested in starting your training while still at school, speak to a career advisor either at your school or your nearest TAFE NSW college.

No matter what industry area you gravitate to, the work of an engineer is often varied, interesting, challenging, and extremely rewarding, as you get to use both your brain and your hands. It's also a vocation that's usually very well paid.

So what are you waiting for? Download our free course guide here.