iEEE Spectrum: “Where the Jobs Are: 2018.” Our Advice for Engineering Graduates.

engineer with computer code  in background

iEEE Spectrum recently focused on the great opportunities for engineering grads in an article featuring Anthony Del Preto, manager of engineering divisional operations at Aerotek. Tony mentions top engineering opportunities in robotics, medical devices, autonomous and other vehicles, wearables and the Internet of Things.

“The engineering industry is responding to a wider device-driven economy, in which we’re pushing to make everything as mobile as possible.”

While technology drives the market in these sectors, the convergence between physical machines and the software controlling them is also changing how engineering graduates will do their jobs.

“These sectors depend on complex embedded systems talking to one another, and that’s changing the face of engineering,” Del Preto says, thus making prior experience less valuable. No longer does the hardware engineer do his job and the software engineer hers, with the systems team pulling everything together at the end: “Instead, the [electrical engineers] with the greatest opportunity will be the hardware engineer with a software background, or the software engineer with electrical experience,” he says.

The article goes on to feature a range of experts around the world who expand on Del Preto’s perspective, highlighting opportunities as well as the breadth and depth they require. As the leading staffing firm for engineers, our people at Aerotek offer a range of perspectives on why this is a great time to be an engineer and where the great employment opportunities are.

A step-change in technology

Emily Vlkojan-Reece, a senior account executive for embedded systems, highlights the changes in this field where software meets hardware and becomes a part of the physical machines around us:

“When it comes to how products are designed and produced, we’ve seen an incredible step-change in just the past several years … the skills we’re asking this new generation of engineers to bring to the job are changing, big-time.”

New technologies have not only led to a change in the jobs engineers do and how they do them; they’ve also changed how engineers approach their careers and build experience. As Aerotek Senior Recruiter Lead Matt Wiehe describes it:

“We’ve seen a great demand for engineers across the experience spectrum … more and more engineers are exploring contract positions over direct placement position. They find the idea of leaving their current jobs to work on new technologies and bigger challenges not only more exciting, but better for their long-term careers.”

School is still in session

Achieving an engineering degree is a great accomplishment that opens many doors. But in a world of rapidly advancing technology, engineers need to keep learning.

Since the role of an engineer now frequently bridges a variety of disciplines, learning on the job becomes essential to create the innovations specific to each project or industry. Finding a job that puts an engineer on a path to develop this expertise can mean a lot for career growth. As Matt Wiehe put it:

“Take a chance — immerse yourself deeply into one area and learn everything you can …. Even our most senior software engineers are constantly keeping themselves updated with the newest innovations and what’s happening in the market.”

Practical experience often needs to be combined with additional formal education to stay at the cutting edge of technology. Being able to access training and having the flexibility to pursue additional degrees can become key to accelerating a career. Swee Mok, an Aerotek contractor, gave his view on pursuing advanced degrees:

“To be marketable in a world of advanced technologies like robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, I recommend aspiring engineers get as much formal education under their belt, as early as they can. Real world experience is valuable, but in the world of engineering, formal education and the degrees that come with it offer an engineer significant competitive advantage in the jobs marketplace.”

Be ready to move with technology

Just as the iEEE article featured experts from around the world, engineering is truly a global field. Many of the most exciting opportunities, with the greatest potential to learn and advance, often involve a change of location. Aerotek Recruiter Melanie Wilson-Herring describes it:

“Many of my software engineer contractors tell me they are thirsting for challenges in their work. One of the hottest fields in software engineering is embedded systems. So, many of my top software engineer contractors are ready and eager to relocate if a challenging opportunity in embedded systems opens up elsewhere.”

Engineers looking to be constantly challenged by exciting work have many options across a wide range of industries and locations. While the opportunity to work on interesting projects is often compelling enough, companies are also offering compensation packages that can be hard to decline.

The future is bright

Technology keeps evolving and changing, and the engineers who stay at the cutting edge will continue to see their opportunities grow and evolve with it. As software engineering and embedded systems contractor Swee Mok stated:

“When you think about the advances in machine learning, the potential applications for artificial intelligence, combined with the increasing sophistication of robotics, it’s a pretty exciting future for fans of automation — if you’re interested in advanced robotics and artificial intelligence — there will be plenty of great jobs waiting for you.”

If you are interested in what exciting engineering jobs might be waiting for you, Visit our job board or create a free career account today. Upload your resume and customize your job search based on your skills and interests. And consider reaching out to one of our recruiters who are skilled at providing career advice you can use.