Manufacturing, and associated engineering roles, have taken something of a battering in the US in recent decades, with competition from overseas and the sending of US-based work offshore, but if you are interested in a career in US engineering, the good news is that the sector has been making a comeback. Job growth in industrial engineering for the years 2010 to 2014 was 10 percent. In addition, the industrial engineering sector has a relatively older workforce compared to many other sectors, and manufacturing firms are on the lookout for new entrants to the sector as no sector intent on expansion wants the threat of an aging workforce.
There has been increased interest in what the US engineering industry can provide customers, both in terms of the quality of the work offered and the ability of smaller, streamlined companies to fill particular niches within the engineering sector.
Transducer Techniques is an example of a US company that has carved a niche for itself within the broader engineering sector, utilizing the latest in technology to develop and market a range of load cells, torque censors, and associated instrumentation. If you have an interest in engineering, you will recognize that this is specialist work, calling for a particular range of expertise and employees comfortable with new technology, such as the use of computer software for everyday tasks as well as traditional engineering skills.
If you want to become involved in the engineering sector in a work capacity, then you will need to consider what type of experience you might need and the best qualifications to have. From an educational point of view, you should focus on the so-called STEM field of study – STEM refers to science, technology, engineering, and math. The US Department of Commerce has noted that careers in the STEM fields offer some of the best pay and have particular potential for job growth in the 21st century, compared to other sectors. Studying for a college course in the STEM field would equip you with the vital skills needed to work in an engineering role. These skills include:
• Analytical skills to research and develop a project to fruition.
• Science skills to break complex systems down into their constituent parts and to identify cause and effect before reaching conclusions.
• Math skills to calculate and measure.
• Technical skills to identify problem areas and troubleshoot them.
When it comes to obtaining the experience needed to impress a potential employer, you should identify companies local to your area and ask them for relevant work experience. It may well be that such a company could offer you paid employment following graduation.
The types of engineering careers available are numerous, but if your focus is specifically on industrial engineering, then the roles would include design engineer, Computer Aided Design detailer, project engineer, process estimator, and test engineer. You should be aware that industrial engineering roles will also be available in consultancy and academia.
Engineering represents an exciting career and an opportunity to use key analytical and science skills.