what is an engineer?

Engineers are technical professionals who fill the gap between art and science in various areas of industry. You are responsible for turning ideas into reality, ensuring that plans on paper can be achieved by solving design problems. As an engineer, you can specialise in areas like computer engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and more.

In your role as an engineer, you identify potential problems a design might encounter during the construction process and resolve them. For example, architectural designs that would be structurally unsound or electronic devices that would suffer from interference. The specific problems you are likely to solve depend on the industry you work in.

Knowledge of many related disciplines is necessary to excel as an engineer. For example, an electrical engineer needs a thorough grounding in electrical systems, a computer engineer in computers, and so on. 

Good communication skills are essential to your role, as being an engineer involves working closely with others on projects. Your ongoing involvement in a project, such as scheduling routine maintenance, also requires excellent communication and organisational skills. It is also sometimes necessary to present information to your superiors, such as reports on the viability of a product or project.

Would you like working as an engineer suit your personality and skill set? If so, keep reading to find out what competencies and qualifications will help you succeed in this profession.

engineer jobs

average salary of an engineer

The average salary of an engineer in India is around ₹591,900 per year, though earnings vary across a wide range. At the low end of that range, entry-level engineers earn around ₹350,000 per year. At the other end of the scale, the most experienced engineers in India can earn as much as ₹16,53,086. However, it can take many years to reach the level of experience necessary to earn the highest salaries.

factors that affect engineers' pay

The primary factor in how much you can earn as an engineer is your chosen field. For example, a civil engineer earns, on average, a third of the salary that a testing engineer makes. After that, the biggest factors in your salary are your qualifications and experience. Qualifications are a bigger factor when first entering the job market, after which experience starts to have a more substantial influence.

engineer roles
engineer roles

types of engineer

As mentioned above, there are many areas in which you can specialise as an engineer. The choice of area is important, as it is not easy to switch between them due to their different qualifications. Some of the main types of engineers include:

  • civil engineer: working as a civil engineer, you are responsible for building and constructing civil projects, such as bridges, tunnels and dams. This type of engineering can cover a lot of different project types.
  • electrical engineer: electrical engineers work with electrical systems and electronic equipment. In this role, you carry out tasks like installing electrical lines and producing electronic products. You may be working in residential or commercial settings.
  • mechanical engineer: as a mechanical engineer, you assist in designing and developing machinery and other types of equipment for use in an industrial setting.
  • chemical engineer: in this role, you are responsible for converting chemical substances into products, such as medical supplies. Your role involves a lot of research and development and putting together ingredients for the products you develop.
  • test engineer: a test engineer plays a critical role in ensuring that software and products meet the required quality standards and function as expected.As a test engineer your primary job is to develop and execute test plans to identify defects, bugs, or performance issues. 
  • structural engineer: a structural engineer is responsible for ensuring that structures are designed, built, and maintained to be safe, reliable, and sustainable. As a structural engineer you play a critical role in the construction and maintenance of the built environment.
  • systems engineer: a systems engineer is responsible for designing and managing complex systems, including hardware, software, and infrastructure. As a systems engineer you play a critical role in ensuring that systems are reliable, efficient, and effective.
  • software engineer: a software engineer is responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining software applications that meet user needs and requirements. As a software engineer you play a critical role in the development of software systems and applications in a wide range of industries.
  • maintenance engineer: a maintenance engineer is responsible for ensuring that equipment and machinery are operating efficiently and effectively. As a maintenance engineer you play a critical role in preventing equipment failures and minimizing downtime, which helps to reduce costs and improve productivity.
  • development engineer: a development engineer is responsible for designing and developing new products, systems, or technologies that meet customer needs and requirements. As a development engineer you play a critical role in the innovation and growth of businesses and industries.
  • data engineer: a data engineer is responsible for designing, developing, and managing the data architecture and infrastructure of an organization. As a data engineer you play a critical role in enabling data-driven decision making and ensuring that data is accessible and usable by stakeholders.

working as an engineer

Whatever your technical specialism, your love of machines, structures and systems is fulfilled by your work as an engineer. As well as practical work, you may produce detailed designs and plans, analyses and reports. Your job can span lots of different areas and you often work with many other team members on large and complex projects.


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications for engineers include:

  • diploma in engineering: a diploma in engineering is a three-year program you can pursue after completing 10th grade. This qualification is generally enough to get into the profession, though your salary may not be as high as more qualified entry-level engineers.
  •  bachelor's degree: a bachelor of engineering is a four-year course and should improve your chances of being hired. It also increases your potential salary when first starting in the profession.

skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a successful engineer include:

  • attention to detail: small errors can cause significant and costly problems if left unchecked. Things like missing components, making minor mistakes in measurements or other technical data, and other errors can be caught early or avoided altogether if you have good attention to detail.
  • project management: engineers, particularly in project lead roles, handle the many moving parts of a typical project. Depending on your organisation, you may work on multiple projects simultaneously. For a civil engineer, your projects are large and have many aspects to keep track of. Project management skills enable you to keep track the mulitple parts of projects.
  • an aptitude for mathematics and science: maths and science are fundamental skills in engineering. From the design process to the planning and execution of a project, an aptitude for maths, science, and technology helps with day-to-day engineering tasks.
  • critical thinking: a strong faculty for critical thinking gives you the ability to solve problems and is a core skill for an engineer.

FAQs about working as an engineer

FAQs about working as an engineer:

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