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Career in Urban Engineering


Urban Engineering

Municipal or urban engineering applies the tools of science, art and engineering in an urban environment.

Municipal engineering is concerned with municipal infrastructure. This involves specifying, designing, constructing, and maintaining streets, sidewalks, water supply networks, sewers, street lighting, municipal solid waste management and disposal, storage depots for various bulk materials used for maintenance and public works (salt, sand, etc.), public parks and cycling infrastructure.

In the case of underground utility networks, it may also include the civil portion (conduits and access chambers) of the local distribution networks of electrical and telecommunications services. It can also include the optimizing of garbage collection and bus service networks. Some of these disciplines overlap with other civil engineering specialties, however municipal engineering focuses on the coordination of these infrastructure networks and services, as they are often built simultaneously (for a given street or development project), and managed by the same municipal authority.


What do they do

Engineers apply the principles of science and mathematics to develop economical solutions to technical problems. Their work is the link between scientific discoveries and the commercial applications that meet societal and consumer needs. Many engineers develop new products. During the process, they consider several factors. For example, in developing an industrial robot, engineers specify the functional requirements precisely; design and test the robot's components; integrate the components to produce the final design; and evaluate the design's overall effectiveness, cost, reliability, and safety. This process applies to the development of many different products, such as chemicals, computers, powerplants, helicopters, and toys. In addition to their involvement in design and development, many engineers work in testing, production, or maintenance. These engineers supervise production in factories, determine the causes of a component’s failure, and test manufactured products to maintain quality. They also estimate the time and cost required to complete projects. Supervisory engineers are responsible for major components or entire projects. Engineers use computers extensively to produce and analyze designs; to simulate and test how a machine, structure, or system operates; to generate specifications for parts; to monitor the quality of products; and to control the efficiency of processes. Nanotechnology, which involves the creation of high-performance materials and components by integrating atoms and molecules, also is introducing entirely new principles to the design process. Most engineers specialize. Following are details on the 17 engineering specialties covered in the Federal Government's Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. Numerous other specialties are recognized by professional societies, and each of the major branches of engineering has numerous subdivisions. Civil engineering, for example, includes structural and transportation engineering, and materials engineering includes ceramic, metallurgical, and polymer engineering. Engineers also may specialize in one industry, such as motor vehicles, or in one type of technology, such as turbines or semiconductor materials. Aerospace engineers design, test, and supervise the manufacture of aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. Those who work with aircraft are called aeronautical engineers, and those working specifically with spacecraft are astronautical engineers. Aerospace engineers develop new technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and space exploration, often specializing in areas such as structural design, guidance, navigation and control, instrumentation and communication, and production methods. They also may specialize in a particular type of aerospace product, such as commercial aircraft, military fighter jets, helicopters, spacecraft, or missiles and rockets, and may become experts in aerodynamics, thermodynamics, celestial mechanics, propulsion, acoustics, or guidance and control systems. Agricultural engineers apply their knowledge of engineering technology and science to agriculture and the efficient use of biological resources. Accordingly, they also are referred to as biological and agricultural engineers. They design agricultural machinery, equipment, sensors, processes, and structures, such as those used for crop storage. Some engineers specialize in areas such as power systems and machinery design, structural and environmental engineering, and food and bioprocess engineering. They develop ways to conserve soil and water and to improve the processing of agricultural products. Agricultural engineers often work in research and development, production, sales, or management. Biomedical engineers develop devices and procedures that solve medical and health-related problems by combining their knowledge of biology and medicine with engineering principles and practices. Many do research, along with medical scientists, to develop and evaluate systems and products such as artificial organs, prostheses (artificial devices that replace missing body parts), instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems. Biomedical engineers also may design devices used in various medical procedures, imaging systems such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and devices for automating insulin injections or controlling body functions. Most engineers in this specialty need a sound background in another engineering specialty, such as mechanical or electronics engineering, in addition to specialized biomedical training. Some specialties within biomedical engineering are biomaterials, biomechanics, medical imaging, rehabilitation engineering, and orthopedic engineering. Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry to solve problems involving the production or use of chemicals and other products. They design equipment and processes for large-scale chemical manufacturing, plan and test methods of manufacturing products and treating byproducts, and supervise production. Chemical engineers also work in a variety of manufacturing industries other than chemical manufacturing, such as those producing energy, electronics, food, clothing, and paper. In addition, they work in healthcare, biotechnology, and business services. Chemical engineers apply principles of physics, mathematics, and mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as chemistry. Some may specialize in a particular chemical process, such as oxidation or polymerization. Others specialize in a particular field, such as nanomaterials, or in the development of specific products. They must be aware of all aspects of chemical manufacturing and how the manufacturing process affects the environment and the safety of workers and consumers. Civil engineers design and supervise the construction of roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and water supply and sewage systems. They must consider many factors in the design process from the construction costs and expected lifetime of a project to government regulations and potential environmental hazards such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Civil engineering, considered one of the oldest engineering disciplines, encompasses many specialties. The major ones are structural, water resources, construction, transportation, and geotechnical engineering. Many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions, from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer. Others may work in design, construction, research, and teaching. Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, test, and oversee the manufacture and installation of computer hardware, including computer chips, circuit boards, computer systems, and related equipment such as keyboards, routers, and printers. The work of computer hardware engineers is similar to that of electronics engineers in that they may design and test circuits and other electronic components; however, computer hardware engineers do that work only as it relates to computers and computer-related equipment. The rapid advances in computer technology are largely a result of the research, development, and design efforts of these engineers. Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment. Some of this equipment includes electric motors; machinery controls, lighting, and wiring in buildings; radar and navigation systems; communications systems; and power generation, control, and transmission devices used by electric utilities. Electrical engineers also design the electrical systems of automobiles and aircraft. Although the terms electrical and electronics engineering often are used interchangeably in academia and industry, electrical engineers traditionally have focused on the generation and supply of power, whereas electronics engineers have worked on applications of electricity to control systems or signal processing. Electrical engineers specialize in areas such as power systems engineering or electrical equipment manufacturing. Electronics engineers, except computer, are responsible for a wide range of technologies, from portable music players to global positioning systems (GPS), which can continuously provide the location of, for example, a vehicle. Electronics engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electronic equipment such as broadcast and communications systems. Many electronics engineers also work in areas closely related to computers. However, engineers whose work is related exclusively to computer hardware are considered computer hardware engineers. Electronics engineers specialize in areas such as communications, signal processing, and control systems or have a specialty within one of these areas—control systems or aviation electronics, for example. Environmental engineers use the principles of biology and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues. Environmental engineers conduct hazardous-waste management studies in which they evaluate the significance of the hazard, advise on its treatment and containment, and develop regulations to prevent mishaps. They design municipal water supply and industrial wastewater treatment systems, conduct research on the environmental impact of proposed construction projects, analyze scientific data, and perform quality-control checks. Environmental engineers are concerned with local and worldwide environmental issues. Some may study and attempt to minimize the effects of acid rain, global warming, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion. They also may be involved in the protection of wildlife. Many environmental engineers work as consultants, helping their clients to comply with regulations, prevent environmental damage, and clean up hazardous sites. Health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors, prevent harm to people and property by applying their knowledge of systems engineering and mechanical, chemical, and human performance principles. Using this specialized knowledge, they identify and measure potential hazards, such as the risk of fires or the dangers involved in handling toxic chemicals. They recommend appropriate loss prevention measures according to their probability of harm and potential damage. Health and safety engineers develop procedures and designs to reduce the risk of illness, injury, or damage. Some work in manufacturing industries to ensure that the designs of new products do not create unnecessary hazards. They must be able to anticipate, recognize, and evaluate hazardous conditions, as well as develop hazard control methods. Industrial engineers determine the most effective ways to use the basic factors of production—people, machines, materials, information, and energy—to make a product or provide a service. They are concerned primarily with increasing productivity through the management of people, methods of business organization, and technology. To maximize efficiency, industrial engineers study product requirements carefully and then design manufacturing and information systems to meet those requirements with the help of mathematical methods and models. They develop management control systems to aid in financial planning and cost analysis, and they design production planning and control systems to coordinate activities and ensure product quality. They also design or improve systems for the physical distribution of goods and services and determine the most efficient plant locations. Industrial engineers develop wage and salary administration systems and job evaluation programs. Many industrial engineers move into management positions because the work is closely related to the work of managers. Marine engineers and naval architects are involved in the design, construction, and maintenance of ships, boats, and related equipment. They design and supervise the construction of everything from aircraft carriers to submarines and from sailboats to tankers. Naval architects work on the basic design of ships, including the form and stability of hulls. Marine engineers work on the propulsion, steering, and other systems of ships. Marine engineers and naval architects apply knowledge from a range of fields to the entire process by which water vehicles are designed and produced. Materials engineers are involved in the development, processing, and testing of the materials used to create a range of products, from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs and snow skis. They work with metals, ceramics, plastics, semiconductors, and composites to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements. They also are involved in selecting materials for new applications. Materials engineers have developed the ability to create and then study materials at an atomic level, using advanced processes to replicate the characteristics of those materials and their components with computers. Most materials engineers specialize in a particular material. For example, metallurgical engineers specialize in metals such as steel, and ceramic engineers develop ceramic materials and the processes for making them into useful products such as glassware or fiber-optic communication lines. Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Engineers in this discipline work on power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines. They also work on power-using machines such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, machine tools, material-handling systems, elevators and escalators, industrial production equipment, and robots used in manufacturing. Some mechanical engineers design tools that other engineers need for their work. In addition, mechanical engineers work in manufacturing or agriculture production, maintenance, or technical sales; many become administrators or managers. Nuclear engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. They design, develop, monitor, and operate nuclear plants to generate power. They may work on the nuclear fuel cycle—the production, handling, and use of nuclear fuel and the safe disposal of waste produced by the generation of nuclear energy—or on the development of fusion energy. Some specialize in the development of nuclear power sources for naval vessels or spacecraft; others find industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials—for example, in equipment used to diagnose and treat medical problems.


ENGINEERING CAREERS AND THE EDUCATION YOU'LL NEED

If you think you'd like to enter the engineering field but don't know what to do next, read on for a step-by-step guide.

What is an engineer?

Engineering is the art of applying scientific and mathematical principles, experience, judgment, and common sense to make things that benefit people. Engineers design bridges and important medical equipment as well as processes for cleaning up toxic spills and systems for mass transit. Engineering is the process of producing a technical product or system to meet a specific need.


What types of engineers are there?

The five largest engineering areas are:

There are also more specialized engineering fields, including:

 Oceanic engineering




What qualities do successful engineers have?

 Strong in mathematics and science

 Highly analytical and detail-oriented

 Imaginative and creative

 Good communication skills

 Enjoy working in teams

 Enjoy building or improving the way things work


Should I earn a master's or doctorate engineering degree?

This depends on your career goals and what area of engineering you'd like to practice:

 Master's programs are designed to expand and deepen the knowledge and skills acquired as an undergraduate. Master's degree programs in engineering require two years of full-time graduate study.

 Doctoral programs require five-to-seven years of graduate study, while PhD programs are generally designed for people primarily interested in research and education in the engineering field.


Do I need to be licensed as an engineer?

All states require licensure for engineers who offer their services directly to the public. Engineers who are licensed are called Professional Engineers (PE). Civil, mechanical structural, industrial and environmental engineers are most likely to seek licensure because they often work for government agencies. Computer engineers are least likely to seek licensure.

Although licensure laws vary, most boards require four steps:

 Earn a bachelor's degree in engineering from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

 Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination

 Complete at least four years of engineering experience

 Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination


Engineering Careers


Engineering Degrees


Related Reading

Education & Training Required A bachelor's degree in engineering is required for almost all entry-level engineering jobs. College graduates with a degree in a natural science or mathematics occasionally may qualify for some engineering jobs, especially in specialties that are in high demand. Most engineering degrees are granted in electrical and electronics engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering. However, engineers trained in one branch may work in related branches. For example, many aerospace engineers have training in mechanical engineering. This flexibility allows employers to meet staffing needs in new technologies and specialties in which engineers may be in short supply. It also allows engineers to shift to fields with better employment prospects or to those which more closely match their interests. Most engineering programs involve a concentration of study in an engineering specialty, along with courses in both mathematics and the physical and life sciences. Many programs also include courses in general engineering. A design course, sometimes accompanied by a computer or laboratory class or both, is part of the curriculum of most programs. Often, general courses not directly related to engineering, such as those in the social sciences or humanities, also are required. In addition to the standard engineering degree, many colleges offer 2-year or 4-year degree programs in engineering technology. These programs, which usually include various hands-on laboratory classes that focus on current issues in the application of engineering principles, prepare students for practical design and production work, rather than for jobs that require more theoretical and scientific knowledge. Graduates of 4-year technology programs may get jobs similar to those obtained by graduates with a bachelor's degree in engineering. Engineering technology graduates, however, are not qualified to register as professional engineers under the same terms as graduates with degrees in engineering. Some employers regard technology program graduates as having skills between those of a technician and an engineer. Graduate training is essential for engineering faculty positions and some research and development programs, but is not required for the majority of entry-level engineering jobs. Many experienced engineers obtain graduate degrees in engineering or business administration to learn new technology and broaden their education. Numerous high-level executives in government and industry began their careers as engineers. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits college and university programs in engineering and engineering technology. ABET accreditation is based on a program's faculty, curriculum, and facilities; the achievement of a program's students; program improvements; and institutional commitment to specific principles of quality and ethics. Graduation from an ABET-accredited program may be required for engineers who need to be licensed. Although most institutions offer programs in the major branches of engineering, only a few offer programs in the smaller specialties. Also, programs with the same title may vary in content. For example, some programs emphasize industrial practices, preparing students for a job in industry, whereas others are more theoretical and are designed to prepare students for graduate work. Therefore, students should investigate curricula and check accreditations carefully before selecting a college. Admissions requirements for undergraduate engineering schools include a solid background in mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus) and science (biology, chemistry, and physics), in addition to courses in English, social studies, and humanities. Bachelor's degree programs in engineering typically are designed to last 4 years, but many students find that it takes between 4 and 5 years to complete their studies. In a typical 4-year college curriculum, the first 2 years are spent studying mathematics, basic sciences, introductory engineering, humanities, and social sciences. In the last 2 years, most courses are in engineering, usually with a concentration in one specialty. Some programs offer a general engineering curriculum; students then specialize on the job or in graduate school. Some engineering schools have agreements with 2-year colleges whereby the college provides the initial engineering education and the engineering school automatically admits students for their last 2 years. In addition, a few engineering schools have arrangements that allow students who spend 3 years in a liberal arts college studying preengineering subjects and 2 years in an engineering school studying core subjects to receive a bachelor's degree from each school. Some colleges and universities offer 5-year master's degree programs. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative plans combine classroom study with practical work, permitting students to gain valuable experience and to finance part of their education. Certifications Needed (Licensure) All 50 States and the District of Columbia require licensure for engineers who offer their services directly to the public. Engineers who are licensed are called professional engineers (PEs). This licensure generally requires a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, 4 years of relevant work experience, and completion of a State examination. Recent graduates can start the licensing process by taking the examination in two stages. The initial Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination can be taken upon graduation. Engineers who pass this examination commonly are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After acquiring suitable work experience, EITs can take the second examination, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. Several States have imposed mandatory continuing education requirements for relicensure. Most States recognize licensure from other States, provided that the manner in which the initial license was obtained meets or exceeds their own licensure requirements. Many civil, mechanical, and chemical engineers are licensed PEs. Independently of licensure, various certification programs are offered by professional organizations to demonstrate competency in specific fields of engineering. Other Skills Required (Other qualifications) Engineers should be creative, inquisitive, analytical, and detail oriented. They should be able to work as part of a team and to communicate well, both orally and in writing. Communication abilities are becoming increasingly important as engineers interact more frequently with specialists in a wide range of fields outside engineering. Engineers who work for the Federal Government usually must be U.S. citizens. Some engineers, particularly nuclear engineers and aerospace and other engineers working for defense contractors, may need to hold a security clearance.

Preferable institutions and salary


Top Colleges Offering Computer Science and Engineering Course:


2. Electronics and Communication Engineering

The ECE branch of engineering can be exciting for those candidates who are very much interested in electrical circuits, signs and signal systems, digital gadgets, power electronics etc. The telecommunication, mobile development and electrical industries are said to progress year after year, hence there is plenty of scope to build a career in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

Starting Salary (p.a.): Rs. 3.5 lakh to Rs. 4.5 lakh

Popular Companies for Electronics and Communication Engineers:

 Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL)

 Intel

 Texas Instruments

 Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL)

 Samsung

 Electronics

 Toshiba

 Sony

 Philips Semiconductors

Top Colleges Offering Electronics and Communication Engineering Course:


3. Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering is one of the oldest branches of engineering that exist. It is also one of the most popular choices of engineering specialisations, especially among people who are interested in machinery, automobile, product design, manufacturing etc.

There are a wide range of mechanical engineering jobs available in the market, including some of the highest paying jobs of the Engineering stream. A talented student has scope to earn a good salary and get hired by some of the top engineering and manufacturing firms around the globe.

Starting Salary (p.a.): Rs. 4 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh

Popular Companies for Mechanical Engineers:

 DRDO

 ABB

 Indian Railway

 TATA Motors

 Reliance Industries

 Ashoka Leyland

 Reliance Power Ltd.

 Mahindra & Mahindra

Top Colleges Offering Mechanical Engineering Course:

 Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS)

Check the complete list of Mechanical Engineering colleges here.


4. Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering is another branch of engineering that has a wide range of scope in job-availability. Graduates of this branch can find themselves employed in some of the largest construction projects of the world, such as damns and bridges as well as in small electrical component manufacturing units producing everyday appliances.

Starting Salary (p.a.): Rs. 2.50 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh

Popular Companies for Electrical Engineers:

 Bajaj International Private Ltd.

 Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)

 Centre for Electronics Design and Technology

 Siemens Ltd.

 Crompton Greaves Limited (CGL)

 Reliance Power Ltd.

Top Colleges Offering Electrical Engineering Course:

 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur

 Delhi Technological University (DTU)

Check the complete list of Electrical Engineering colleges here.

5. Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering is a branch that deals with not only the construction of infrastructure but also the design, planning and maintenance of structures essential to sustaining modern life. In a developing and growing country such as India, where there is no shortage of construction projects such as highways, bridges, tunnels, urban spaces like parks, pathways, there is plenty of scope for building a career in Civil Engineering.

Plus, with the issue of overcrowding and pollution in cities on the rise, an increasing need is being felt for talented city planners and civil engineers who can design spaces that are in harmony with the environment.

Starting Salary (p.a.): Rs. 3.5 lakhs to Rs. 20 lakh

Popular Companies for Civil Engineers:

 Larsen & Toubro Ltd.

 Engineers India Ltd.

 PWD

 Indian Railways

 DRDO

 SERC

 DLF

Top Colleges Offering Civil Engineering Course:

 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee

 IIT BHU, Varanasi

 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi

 Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS)

Check the complete list of Civil Engineering colleges here.


6. Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering is a branch that deals with the study and application of chemical reactions for solving everyday problems that often remain undetected in our day-to-day lives. In fact, chemical engineers are an essential part of many vital industries such as the fertilizer industry, petroleum and oil industry, food manufacturing and processing industry etc.

A career in chemical engineering can offer good prospects of jobs in some of the top companies in India along with excellent chances of growth.

Starting Salary (p.a.): Rs. 2.5 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh

Popular Companies for Chemical Engineers:

 ONGC

 Essar Oil Limited

 Reliance Industries Ltd.

 Gujarat Gas Company Limited

 Coromandel Fertilizers Limited

 Indo Gulf Fertilizers Ltd.

Top Colleges Offering Chemical Engineering Course:

 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras

 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay

 IIT BHU, Varanasi

Check the complete list of Chemical Engineering colleges here.


7. Biochemical / Biomedical Engineering

Biochemical Engineering is a branch that involves using the principles of chemical engineering to solve medical problems. It basically involves the study of biological organisms and molecules and applying the knowledge and principles learned to the improvement of quality of life of individuals.

Biomedical Engineering, although related to Biochemical in a sense that both are involved with the medical field, is a different branch in which engineering principles are applied to the medical field to aid in creating better medical procedures. This branch of engineering forays into fields such as designing and manufacture of artificial body parts, surgical and diagnosis machinery etc.

While both branches have their differences, many of the jobs available in these fields are in the same or similar companies and industries.

Starting Salary (p.a.): Rs. 4 lakh to Rs. 11 lakh

Popular Companies for Biochemical/ Biomedical Engineers:

 Biocon

 GlaxoSmithKline Panacea Biotec

 Bharat Serum

 Krebs Biochemicals and Industries Limited

 Monsanto Biotech

 TransAsia Biomedics

 Zydus Cadila

Top Colleges Offering Biochemical/ Biomedical Engineering Course:

 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur

 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur

 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi


8. Aerospace / Aeronautical Engineering

Considered to lie on the more difficult side of the spectrum, Aerospace Engineering is a branch that involves principles related to the design of aeroplanes, space crafts, missile systems, rockets etc. The requirement of a large number of talented aerospace engineers is imminent, especially in the current scenario when air travel is becoming and norm and we are dreaming to venture farther than ever into the universe.

Aerospace Engineering is further categorised into two: Aeronautical Engineering, which deals with the design and study of aircrafts, and Astronautical Engineering, which is concerned with vehicles and stations that can travel to and in outer space.

Starting Salary (p.a.): Rs. 6 to Rs. 11 lakh

Popular Companies for Aerospace/ Aeronautical Engineers:

 Civil Aviation Department

 Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA)

 Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE)

 National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL)

 India Space Research Organization (ISRO)

 Samtel Avionics

 India Space Research

Top Colleges Offering Aerospace/ Aeronautical Engineering Course:

 Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras

 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay

 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur


With the globalisation and liberalisation of the economy, many career options are available for engineers. There is a great demand for engineering in both India and abroad. Job prospects for engineering graduates have always been good. From the private sector to the public sector, to government there is a lot of scope for engineers.

Securing seats in one of the top engineering branches requires hard work and excellent scores in the respective engineering entrance exam as these courses get filled in the primary rounds of counselling. The job opportunities after pursuing these courses are very bright and some of the most reputed organisations recruit fresh graduates as well as experienced engineers from the above field.


Frequently asked questions

1) When did you start your job search? Have you been offered any positions?

What they’re really asking: This question is trying to establish whether there is any particular reason you aren’t currently employed. Also, the company won’t want to hire someone that has applied for a job simply because they are desperate to be employed. How to answer: Be relaxed and explain that you are looking for a company and role with the right fit, and that you are quite choosy when it comes to finding the ‘right job’. You may then need to answer what you believe the ‘right job’ entails.

2) What do you enjoy most/least about engineering?

What they’re really asking: The interviewer is trying to gauge your general attitude towards work. How to answer: You should tailor this to the responsibilities of the role you are interviewing for and try to keep your answer centred on the positives.

3) Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

What they’re really asking: Your potential employer will want to be sure that you aren’t going to move on to another job too soon. How to answer: You should research a career path that would flow from the position for which you are interviewing and ensure that you emphasise the intention to master the demands of that position first.

4) What would you consider to be your greatest success in using your skills to solve an engineering problem?

What they’re really asking: Your potential employer is trying to assess two things: how you approach explaining your achievements and how you apply your problem-solving abilities to overcome obstacles. How to answer: Draw upon a specific example – one that showcases your strengths as an engineer, such as the ability to think on your feet.

5) What new engineering specialty skills have you developed during the past year?

What they’re really asking: As an engineer, it’s important to keep up to date with changes in the industry and technological advances. This question is designed to find out if you are proactive in procuring new knowledge or learning new skills. How to answer: Detail any particular skills that you developed whilst at university and describe how you obtained them. Finish up talking about your willingness to learn.

6) What do you get out of engineering that you couldn’t get from any other kind of work?

What they’re really asking: The employer wants to gain an understanding of what motivates you to move forward in your career. How to answer: You could talk about one engineering achievement that you are especially proud of, or you could explain how day-to-day aspects of the work stimulate you. If it is the latter, you should again tailor this to the role for which you are interviewing.

7) On your last project assignment, what problems did you identify that had been previously overlooked?

What they’re really asking: Your potential employer will want to determine what you contribute to a team. How to answer: This is an ideal opportunity to depict several key qualities such as attention to detail, effective communication and creative thinking. You should come to the interview prepared with an example.

8) What was the workload like in your previous engineering department?

What they’re really asking: They want to establish your expectations and how you would handle a heavy workload. How to answer: It is imperative that you do not complain about the workload in your previous job, even if it was taxing. Illustrate your efficiency; explain how you manage your time and prioritise tasks.


9) What personal characteristics do you feel are necessary to be a successful engineer?

What they’re really asking: This question is really an assessment of your values. Your potential employer may be trying to get a feel for your character. How to answer: Choose three or four characteristics and expand on why you think they’re important. You could also describe how a previous manager of yours displayed these qualities to good effect and how you learned from that example.

10) Describe an experience with a difficult client. How did you handle the situation?

What they’re really asking: They want to analyse your emotional stability and how you act under pressure, as well as how you treat clients. How to answer: Your answer should include: the way you listened to what the client had to say, confirmed an understanding of their concerns and subsequently took responsibility to resolve the situation by offering a solution, without going into too much detail about the specific complaint.


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