For those who spent the time and money to get undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, it looks like that investment is starting to pay off, with many engineering fields making it to the top of Forbes' recent list of the most valuable college majors.
According to the Houston Chronicle, even in a still-uncertain jobs market, engineers can be confident that the skills they learned in school make them extremely marketable. To ensure a stable pipeline of well-trained engineers, many colleges and universities are developing new curricula, programs and coursework to continue to expand engineers' career possibilities.
At Texas A&M University, 18 engineering concentrations are offered through the Dwight Look College of Engineering, all of which focus on teaching students the required skills, and then some.
The media outlet states that Brittany Schield, a 2011 chemical engineering graduate, quickly found a job as an associate project engineer for Mars Chocolate North America.
"My general job duties include managing capital engineering projects, from design to execution - really, I get to make candy," she said.
The world of engineers holds several possibilities beyond candy making, too. Caitlin Tholstrup, another A&M graduate, recently took a job with Eastman Chemical Co. as a process improvement engineer, a job she says requires more than traditional math and science training.
"Entering the 'real world' is more than being technically sound," Tholstrup said. "It also is about people skills and interacting in team environments."
Universities like Texas A&M are doing their part to address a growing need for engineers in America. According to Inc.com, employment agencies are noting a major shortage of engineering graduates in the U.S., which analysts say could be due to a lack of interest among the public, lack of awareness of the need for engineers or a misunderstanding of exactly what engineers do.
However, those who do have engineering jobs give high praise for the industry, and reported job satisfaction should be enough to send anyone looking for an engineering career. One recent survey, conducted by Design News, found 56 percent of engineers who responded were either extremely or very satisfied with their career choice, and that problem solving, technical challenges and creativity were the best aspects of the job.