• Question: I am looking to be an engineer when i am older have you got any advise for me and what path i should go down.

    Asked by 759mete34 to Eleanor, Andrew on 15 Mar 2016. This question was also asked by Loui Barker, BrodHod07, Percabeth4ever2.
    • Photo: Eleanor Sherwen

      Eleanor Sherwen answered on 15 Mar 2016:


      First of all, awesome news!

      It sounds like you are already setting out on the path. My advice would be to try and get some work experience, practical experience, really early so you can see what it is like. Even helping out with really basic jobs in an engineering or production environment lets you start to see how engineers behave at work, how they approach a problem, and what the challenges/skills are like!

      If you are like me, and have always taken better to academic/written work taught through theory & exams, you will probably find it easiest to get into engineering through A levels and a Degree in a relevant subject. If you want to do “hard” engineering, you’ll want to pick a BEng or MEng in a subject like Mechanical, Electronic, Aerospace, Structural, Industrial, Civil engineering. But I went down a hybrid route – design and engineering – so I did a BSc in Product Design Engineering. I chose by thinking about what kind of tasks I enjoy, and realised I liked the creative side a lot and also to make consumer products that will go to shops and customers, rather than be hidden away in a factory.

      If you do decide to go down the degree path, I would really strongly recommend choosing a course with a placement year (sandwich year). It means you graduate with a year’s worth of real-world experience. I felt like the confidence it gave me was essential in getting my first opportunities after University.

      If you are more of a practical learner and struggle with written examinations then you should take a look at apprenticeships and vocational qualifications. There are lots of options that let you learn in a more suitable way. Also have a think about whether you want to earn money now or later and how much – apprenticeships can have you earning a wage from day 1 and getting a qualification at the same time. Some people feel really motivated by being able to be independent early in life. With a degree you have 3-4 years of low or no income, but when you graduate you will probably find a higher range of starting salaries available.

      Anyway, really I made this up as I went along. My guiding star has always been to choose what I think will be the most fun, and so far that has been a big success. I would really advise making choices you will enjoy – it is easier to work hard and succeed at something you genuinely care about.

      Best of luck

    • Photo: Andrew Pidgeon

      Andrew Pidgeon answered on 17 Mar 2016:

      First of all, welcome to the engineering club 😀

      When I started out doing GCSE engineering I knew I wanted to get into it as a career but didn’t know what ‘type’ I wanted to be! My dad was a mechanical engineer designing Rolls Royce jet engines and things like that.. My uncle was a chemical engineer and told me how fantastic it was as well.

      Soooo.. my advice is to try and get some experience hands on in an engineering company to see which part interests you the most. First off you can do this by searching google about the different sectors of engineering. Then apply to companies and just ask! I did it!!

      It will help you pick a college course and help you decide if you want to go to uni or get a job and train while you learn (like I did!)

      Jacobs ‘do’ literally everything so why not look on our website and see initially what interests you?

      Good luck and most of all.. ENJOY IT!!!!!