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Why Engineering Careers Are Continuing to Rise

Engineers are currently some of the most highly sought after professionals in most parts of the world, so much so that, according to a survey carried out by the NACE, fresh engineering graduates in the US got a 3.9% salary bump in the year 2012. Better yet, some engineering niches such as aerospace engineering got a healthy 8.3% increase in starting salaries during the same period of time. Therefore, fresh graduates in the latter niches stand to earn, on average, $64,000 every year. In view of this, a career in engineering is likely to be financially rewarding. With that said, here are some of the reasons why there is a high demand for engineering professionals:
Traditionally, Americans have been thriving on entrepreneurship, and with startups springing up left, right, and center, there is a growing demand for engineering talent. This demand straddles a wide range of industries including energy exploration, mining, software engineering, automobile, aerospace, as well as missile technology. There is even talk of mining asteroids and proposed trips to mars in the near future. A study carried out by WANTED Analytics found that industries with a high demand for engineers include aircraft manufacturing, semiconductor and device manufacturing, research and development firms, as well as companies that design computer systems. Some of the businesses engaged in these endeavors are start-ups that did not exist a few years ago.
Rebound in the Economy
Just as any other profession, engineers suffer when the economy tanks and thrive when the economy grows. Employers who had held back on hiring when the credit crisis started to bite around the year 2008 can now afford to employ new engineers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), unemployment currently stands at 7.7%. In addition, economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Surveillance expect the economy to grow by at least 3% in the year 2013. While these figures are not exactly impressive, they do show that economic activity is not stagnant.
Flexibility and Choice
Unlike other professions, a career in engineering offers greater flexibility and choice. The search giant Google redefined flexibility when it introduced features such as “huddle spaces” instead of standard office cubicles, igloos, slides, and scooters at the workplace. Employees can even take time off to work on side projects. This workplace culture inspires and draws engineering talent from other companies as well as universities and colleges. The employers who cannot match what companies such as Google have to offer must scour the market for new engineers. Besides the workplace flexibility, engineering degrees open up a world full of tantalizing choices. For example, a software engineer can work in the finance, medical, media, manufacturing, or e-commerce industry.
Focus on STEM-related Degree Programs
Recently, media outlets and employers have been imploring students to take up STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors seriously. The reason for this sustained focus is simple, STEM related jobs are growing 60% faster than all other professions, according to a study published by Forbes. For example, computer engineering majors earn as much as $70,400 straight after graduation. In comparison, the median salary of a real estate agent stands at $42,680 per year with jobs expected to grow by 11% through 2020. Clearly, STEM graduates have an edge in terms of earning potential.
According to the study carried out by WANTED Analytics, employers in some parts of the US wait for an average of 9 weeks to fill engineering positions. This includes employers in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Houston. When you consider that modern businesses rely on technology to operate, this is not surprising. Factors that have fueled the demand for engineering careers include a growing economy, the entrepreneurship bug, focus on STEM-related jobs, as well as the flexibility and choice engineers enjoy at the workplace. With innovation at an all-time high, engineers will continue to be a rare breed.
Author Bio: William Stevens writes articles relating to technology. In this article, he explains a few benefits behind an engineering career and aims to encourage further study with a master of engineering management.

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