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The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future [For 2020 And Beyond]

18 Feb 09:00 by Jamie Silman

The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future [For 2019 And Beyond] header image from the Entech Technical Solutions Blog

With big personalities like Elon Musk and Richard Branson pushing the boundaries of technology on a seemingly daily basis, now seems like an exciting time to start a career in engineering.

But despite the engineering industry being expected to continue to grow, it’s predicted that 40% of jobs could be automated by 2030. So which fields of engineering are the safest for the future?

We decided to take a look.

Using our experience of engineering recruitment and figures from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, we’ve created this list of the 14 best engineering jobs for the future to help you decide which aspect of the industry you might like to start a career in.

 

Solar Panels - Solar Photovoltaic Installers - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

1. Solar Photovoltaic Installers

Photovoltaic installers assemble, install and maintain private and commercial solar panel setups to provide individuals and businesses with access to renewable energy.

As the price of solar panels continues to fall, they continue to become a financially viable option for more and more people. This increased demand, coupled with a change in public opinion about solar panels, means that the number of jobs for PV installers is expected to more than double by 2026.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

Governments across the world are under pressure to reduce their carbon emissions drastically over the next few years, so it’s important that they invest in renewable energy sectors. As they invest in solar energy, the number of installs is likely to increase, creating more work for the installers.

Even if the market became saturated, there would still be a need for PV technicians to carry out maintenance and repairs on the existing systems.

Median Annual Wage: $39,490 (£31,010)

Projected Employment Change: +105%

Number of New Jobs: 11,800

 
 

Wind Turbines - Wind Turbine Service Technicians - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

2. Wind Turbine Service Technicians

Wind turbine service technicians, or “windtechs”, work for utility companies or private individuals to install, maintain and repair wind turbines.

As the shift to renewable energy continues to gain pace, and more and more people see the benefits of wind power, it’s expected that in the United States alone, total wind capacity could reach more than 400 gigawatts by 2050.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

As with the whole renewable energy sector, it’s expected there’ll be a large amount of expansion and investment over the coming years.

From a business perspective, if generating power from renewable energy is cheaper than existing methods then utility companies will want to invest in these areas to increase their profitability - driving demand as the sector continues to mature.

That means more wind turbines to install, repair and maintain, making this job a good bet for the future.

Median Annual Wage: $53,880 (£42,310)

Projected Employment Change: +96%

Number of New Jobs: 5,600

 
 
Computer Code On Screen - Software Developers and Engineers - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

3. Software Developers & Engineers

Software developers create the framework and applications that run the computers, phones and other devices we all use on a daily basis.

As technology continues to develop, the need for software developers is growing, encompassing new and exciting sectors like healthcare, space exploration, and autonomous vehicles.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

As the number of connected devices continues to grow, and the applications for new technological developments pushes forwards, there’s plenty of opportunities for software engineers to build a long and prosperous career.

With Industry 4.0 in full swing, devices are going to begin to communicate with each other on a larger scale, with the ultimate goal for them to be able to make decisions without human interaction - a great challenge for talented engineers wanting to have an impact on the future!

Median Annual Wage: $103,560 (£81,322)

Projected Employment Change: +24%

Number of New Jobs: 302,500

 
 
Diabetes Testing Equipment - Biomedical Engineers - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

4. Biomedical Engineers

Biomedical engineers combine their medical and engineering knowledge to develop new equipment, systems and software that helps advance the medical industry.

With medicine and engineering both being industries that are constantly developing, there’s a seemingly infinite number of advances or developments that could be made in the biomedical field.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

Broadly speaking, biomedical engineering relies on two factors - people being ill, and technology advancing. Both of these factors are going to continue, meaning constant industry development is almost guaranteed.

As older generations continue to live longer, more active lives, new advances will be needed for devices and operations like knee and hip replacements, as well as for a range of other medical procedures.

Median Annual Wage: $88,040 (£69,135)

Projected Employment Change: +7%

Number of New Jobs: 1,500

 
 
Test Tubes In A Rack - Chemical Engineers - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

5. Chemical Engineers

Chemical engineers use their skills to solve the problems faced in the production of fuels, medicines, chemicals, foods and many other products.

Their research and findings can help companies improve manufacturing processes, improve safety, and reduce costs; and they work across a multitude of business sectors.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

In industries like manufacturing and food production, the need for chemical engineers to maintain or improve production rates, or reduce waste, is highly unlikely to disappear.

With developments in nanotechnology, alternative energy, and biotechnology set to continue expanding, there is likely to be a demand for chemical engineers to sit within the sectors that serve these types of businesses.

Median Annual Wage: $102,160 (£80,223)

Projected Employment Change: +8%

Number of New Jobs: 2,500

 
 
Bridge Extending Across The Ocean - Civil Engineers - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

6. Civil Engineers

Civil engineers work in the conception, design, building and maintenance of infrastructure projects like roads, tunnels, bridges, airports, and a host of other private and public sector schemes.

As the population continues to grow, the world’s existing infrastructure will come under immense pressure, eventually needing to be repaired or replaced. Couple this with the proposed shift to renewable energy sources, and the number of potential projects for civil engineers seems to be constantly growing.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

With the rate of technological advancement, and the global economy created by the rise of e-commerce and online trade, the world will need engineers to build and maintain the necessary infrastructure to support continued growth.

Whether it’s new housing schemes, transport projects, or the underlying infrastructure present in any modern city; there’s a range of challenges to explore with a career in civil engineering.

Median Annual Wage: $84,770 (£66,567)

Projected Employment Change: +11%

Number of New Jobs: 32,200

 
 
Man Testing Electrical Equipment - Electrical and Electronics Engineers - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

7. Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Electrical and electronics engineers work to design and develop electrical components and systems for a wide variety of uses such as electric motors and power generation equipment.

They also work in sectors like aerospace and defence, making sure the electronic components on things like satellites, radars systems and communications systems are working properly; so, there’s plenty of opportunities for someone with the right education and training.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

As we mentioned with the solar installers and wind turbine technicians, the shift to renewable energy sources is looming. This likely means a surge in demand for electronic components to update current infrastructure systems, as well as for things like electric vehicles and a whole host of other electrical products.

As the world continues to become more connected, the need for people who understand electrical engineering can only increase, so it seems like a good bet to us.

Median Annual Wage: $97,970 (£76,932)

Projected Employment Change: +7%

Number of New Jobs: 21,300

 
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Landscape With Factory Polluting The Environment - Environmental Engineers - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

8. Environmental Engineers

With 70% of Americans saying they believe the environment is more important than economic growth, now seems like the perfect time to start a career in environmental engineering.

Using a combination of engineering, biology and chemistry, environmental engineers work to improve waste disposal and recycling processes, water and air pollution control, and public health issues to address global concerns like climate change and environmental sustainability.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

People are growing more aware of the impact our society is having on the planet, and more and more corporations are working to create sustainable solutions to their business problems. When you combine this with the potentially-huge infrastructure changes caused by population growth, there’s bound to be plenty of opportunities for environmental engineers to thrive.

Median Annual Wage: $86,800 (£68,161)

Projected Employment Change: +8%

Number of New Jobs: 4,500

 
 
Greyscale Image Of An Industrial Plant - Industrial Engineers - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

9. Industrial Engineers

The job of an industrial engineer is to identify ways to reduce waste during the production process by developing systems that merge workers, machinery, materials, information and energy to create a product or service.

Their work can help companies improve manufacturing processes and reduce costs; and they can work across almost any business sector.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

Because one of the primary objectives of industrial engineers is to reduce costs, their work is valued by a wide range of industries.

With huge technological advances on the horizon for potentially hundreds of industries, companies will be relying on industrial engineers to help them identify the most cost efficient ways to operate during these turbulent times.

Median Annual Wage: $85,880 (£67,438)

Projected Employment Change: +10%

Number of New Jobs: 25,100

 
 
A Ship Leaving A Harbour With Cranes In The Background - Marine Engineers and Naval Architects - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

10. Marine Engineers and Naval Architects

Marine engineers and naval architects are responsible for designing, building and maintaining ships; from sailboats and tankers, to submarines and aircraft carriers.

Marine engineers can also use their skills to work for companies with offshore oil rigs and wind farms, so there are plenty of opportunities to explore in this sector.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

Roughly 90% of the world’s goods are transported by sea, and with that number expected to match the rise in the world economy’s GDP and population, it looks like seaborne trade won’t be slowing down any time soon.

The need to design environmentally sustainable ships is also becoming more apparent, creating a challenging environment for anyone getting involved in this sector.

Median Annual Wage: $90,970 (£71,435)

Projected Employment Change: +12%

Number of New Jobs: 1,000

 
 
An Oil Rig Surrounded By The Ocean - Petroleum Engineers - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

11. Petroleum Engineers

Despite plans transition to renewable energy sources, the world is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

Petroleum engineers work to find the best ways of extracting oil reserves from below the Earth’s surface, or improve production levels at existing sites.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

Because of the focus on renewable energy, many people underestimate petroleum engineering; but the reality is that it’s going to take many years to make the transition.

During this time, many more senior engineers will likely be retiring from the industry, creating space for a new generation of engineers to kickstart their careers.

Median Annual Wage: $132,280 (£103,875)

Projected Employment Change: +15%

Number of New Jobs: 5,100

 
 
A Surveyor Looking Over Building Plans - Surveyors - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

12. Surveyors

Surveyors take measurements and make calculations about an area of land that’s earmarked for development to provide the necessary data for engineering and construction projects.

They work closely with civil engineers and architects to develop a comprehensive plan for infrastructure or architectural projects.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

With the expected increase in infrastructure and engineering projects we mentioned in the civil engineering section, there’s a natural link to a growth in opportunities for surveyors.

Median Annual Wage: $61,140 (£48,011)

Projected Employment Change: +11%

Number of New Jobs: 5,000

 
 
A Computer Screen Showing A Security Icon - Information Security Analysts - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

13. Information Security Analysts

With privacy issues constantly appearing in our news feeds, it’s no wonder the demand for information security analysts is predicted to grow over the next few years.

Information security analysts are tasked with protecting an organization’s computer networks and system, and trying to stay one step ahead of would-be hackers.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

As the number of cyberattacks have increased, it’s become more and more apparent to companies that their data could be at risk, and they need to take the adequate steps to protect it.

As the internet of things continues to expand, the number of companies and devices that will need protecting is set to grow, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities in this sector.

Median Annual Wage: $95,510 (£75,001)

Projected Employment Change: +28%

Number of New Jobs: 28,500

 
 
A Computer or Information Research Scientist Analysing And Writing Code On A Computer - The 14 Best Engineering Jobs For The Future

14. Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer and information scientists use their computer engineering experience to solve complex problems for the business, science and medical fields, among others.

Working to improve the algorithms used in complex calculations can improve the efficiency with which the business operates, and this forms the basis for much of the work carried out in this field.

Why We Think It’s Future Proof

There are two business trends that many are hoping to capitalize on over the next few years: “Big Data” and A.I.

As these areas continue to grow, computer and information research scientists will be in-demand to make sense of large amounts of information, and improve the way their business operates.

Median Annual Wage: $114,520 (£89,929)

Projected Employment Change: +19%

Number of New Jobs: 5,400

 

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s plenty of diverse opportunities across a number of engineering sectors that are likely to grow over the coming years.

While some of these jobs may not be the “typical” engineering jobs many other sites list, they do reflect the trends emerging across the globe.

While this list shows there are plenty of opportunities that will arise, it’s also worth mentioning how competitive it will likely be to find top-level work within those sectors.

Companies will want to hire the best talent, so it pays to pick an area of engineering that really interests you, and to develop your career around something you’re passionate about.

We’re really excited to see what the future holds for the entire engineering industry, and we’ll be watching closely to see how the landscape changes over the coming years!

If you’re looking for an engineering job, why not take a look at our vacancies to see if you can find your perfect role?

 


Median wage, projected employment change and number of new jobs figures from US Bureau of Labour Statistics.

Approximate UK Currencies calculated from US equivalents using conversion rate of 1 USD = 0.785269 GBP