Why Study Engineering?
Engineering is an incredibly diverse field with a wide range of applications in the real world and a myriad of career options, wherever you choose to study. Deciding on the direction you wish to pursue is one that requires careful thought! This article is a tool that will help you in your consideration of whether you should study engineering at university.
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First off, engineering is cool! You get to build and design some of the most complex and useful things used in society. A project starts off as nothing, an entirely blank canvas. Engineers take a few ideas, propose and design solutions, and finally bring their drawings on paper into reality.
Not many careers create this opportunity for job satisfaction. Engineers can look at a completed project that offers a practical solution to a real-world problem and say “I fixed that.” This is a pride that many engineers keep for their whole lives, as their work is used for generations. Engineering is a career that allows you to have a tangible impact on society for the better.
Variety of disciplines
Secondly, there are few industries as dynamic and varied as engineering. The six main fields of engineering extend to even more specific areas, all with phenomenal project variety. The skills you learn as an engineer are not limited to one specific use; you will be applying your abilities to projects of differing requirements over the course of your career.
For example, Arup is one of the largest engineering firms in the UK and has contracts on a wide range of large-scale projects across all engineering disciplines. But the responsibilities of an engineer can span varying time frames across different projects.
An electronics engineer may have to edit some software, which might take a day; but they may also get to design an entirely new data centre for a global company, which would take many months. A chemical engineer might design and oversee the installation of new piping at an oil refinery; this could take a few months from design to installation. A structural engineer may work on the construction of a stadium complex which could take up to 10 years from proposal to completion, and they would have to be involved for the whole process.
Personal skill sets
Engineers are always learning and studying as new technologies become available. Naturally the most significant education for an engineer comes as an undergraduate at university, and there are so many high-level institutions to choose from. Studying for any engineering degree will be a challenge and a career in engineering is sure to give you plenty of options for personal development. You will have to be analytical, critical, observant, creative, collaborative and clear in your communication.
At Oxford Scholastica, we design our Engineering Summer School to seek out and develop these six skills within you. As we explore some of the entry level disciplines in engineering, you will be set tasks and challenges to get you thinking and responding like an engineer. This is a fantastic opportunity to get a taste of life as an engineering student.
When studying engineering at university, your time will be split between understanding theory, completing assignments and individual and group projects. Understanding and applying theory can range in difficulty. There are some things you will understand immediately and other concepts will require a few days’ study to fully grasp what you need to know. Every engineering student will face challenges in understanding and application – often this level of challenge is deliberate. Universities try to mimic the unknown nature of real projects that engineers face, to better prepare you for the working world.
Engineering may be challenging, but that’s not to say it isn’t fun! Your lecturers will be experts in their fields and full of fascinating knowledge that they will want to share with you. You will have practical labs and projects, which will put your theoretical knowledge into practice, and can allow for creativity. Most importantly, you will have the satisfaction of seeing the completed project and knowing that you have left a positive impact somewhere.
- Have you considered which field of engineering is most appealing to you?
- If you’re preparing an application to UK universities, make use of our Ultimate Guide to UCAS
- Here’s another helpful guide to studying science at university!
Are you a future engineer?
The Oxford Scholastica Engineering Summer School is designed to help you grow in confidence in your engineering skills and develop a deeper understanding of the subject. It’s a practical hands-on experience that will leave you ready to take on university applications and a career in this demanding field!