“A good scientist is a person with original ideas. A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible. There are no prima donnas in engineering.“
Freeman Dyson, Physicist
Pros and Cons of Working as an Engineer
You consider a career as an engineer but need further information for making a profound final decision in this regard?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you all the pros and cons of being an engineer in the following chapters.
Table of Contents
Engineer Job Profile
|Job Description||Engineers build, design and maintain machines and make sure that production and development processes work as smoothly as possible.|
|Salary||$85,000 per year on average, most engineers make between $74,000 and $97,000 per year.|
|Job Security||Decent since there is a lack of qualified engineers right now.|
|Job Satisfaction||Good if you are a tech guy and love to find your own solutions to complex problems.|
|Work-Life Balance||Good since you will not have to work lots of overtime and also have free weekends and evenings.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Working as an engineer can be mentally demanding.|
|Future Outlook||Decent future job prospects since good engineers will always be needed.|
|Requirements||You need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineer to work as an engineer.|
Advantages of Being an Engineer
- Engineers can make decent money
- Good promotion options for engineers
- You can work indoors as an engineer
- Engineers have good job prospects
- Good chances in the job market in the future
- Working as an engineer is rather relaxed
- You will not have to work lots of overtime
- Free weekends are quite common for engineers
- You don’t have to work in the evening or at nighttime
- Many fields you can specialize in as an engineer
- Engineers can work for many different companies
- You will be able to plan your life
- Engineers have an easy time getting a mortgage
- You will be able to save and invest money for retirement
- You can afford proper health insurance plans
- Working from home may be possible
- You can avoid heavy physical work as an engineer
- Engineers learn many important hard skills
- Easy to switch industries for engineers
- You may be able to make the world a little bit better
Engineers can make decent money
One advantage of working as an engineer is that you can make good money from your job compared to butchers and many other people who make far less on average.
In fact, many engineers are pretty happy with what they make for a living and many of them are also able to afford some luxury like buying a fancy car and some other nice things.
Of course, not all engineers will be able to enjoy this high living standard.
However, if you are willing to work hard and also develop your skills further every day, chances are that you will finally end up in a position where you can make much more money than the average person out there.
Good promotion options for engineers
As an engineer, you will also have pretty good promotion opportunities.
The longer your stay in a company, the more likely it will become that you don’t work as a normal engineer anymore.
Instead, you can often get into a leading role and can greatly influence how the future path of the company you work for will look like from a strategic standpoint.
Not only can this be quite interesting, but you will also earn significantly more money in these positions compared to a regular engineer who just started out his or her career.
You can work indoors as an engineer
Engineers also enjoy the privilege of working indoors.
While you may take this for granted, you should note that many other people still have to work outdoors under unpleasant conditions like rain, snow or extreme heat on a regular basis.
For instance, roofers or construction workers often have no choice other than to work outdoors and those people will secretly wish to change places with you in this regard since they have to work under extreme conditions while you can even enjoy a nice coffee or tea at work as an engineer.
Engineers have good job prospects
Another upside to becoming an engineer is that you will also have pretty good job prospects.
In fact, engineers are in high demand right now and many companies barely find qualified people who are willing to work for them.
In turn, you will have pretty high job security and will almost have freedom of choice regarding where you want to work.
In case you get fired for some weird reason, chances are that you will also find a new job pretty soon.
Good chances in the job market in the future
Not only do you have pretty awesome job prospects right now, but this trend will likely continue in the future since there will still be a high demand for engineers while not many qualified people will be available.
In turn, employees who work in this field will have a pretty good time since they will have the power to choose from a variety of different employers and will not become dependent on only few companies they could work for.
Working as an engineer is rather relaxed
Many engineers also report that they have a rather relaxed workday. Sure, from time to time, you will also have some stress at work when things just don’t work out as planned.
However, for the majority of the time, you will not have much stress at work and can rather enjoy your workday in a convenient and enjoyable manner.
In fact, many engineers are quite happy with what they are doing for a living and really appreciate the combination of workload and money they are able to get.
You will not have to work lots of overtime
Most engineers also don’t have to work many extra hours. Instead, you will often have a standard workweek and will only work 40 hours or less most of the time.
Hence, while many other people who work in the financial sector will often work 60 hours+ and barely have any leisure, you will have plenty of time to spend on your hobbies and your risk of burning out will also be significantly lower as an engineer.
Free weekends are quite common for engineers
Not only will you not have to work lots of overtime, but you will also have free weekends as an engineer.
This gives you the opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones or to make nice weekend trips with your family.
Opportunities are almost endless in this regard and I am sure you will find things to do that you enjoy even more than working while many other people out there have to work during those unpleasant times.
You don’t have to work in the evening or at nighttime
Another benefit of being an engineer is that you also don’t have to work at nighttime.
While many waiters, train conductors and also financial analysts often work during those hours, you will be able to meet up with friends after work and also get enough sleep so that you are fit the next day and will have more power and feel much better overall.
Many fields you can specialize in as an engineer
Engineers can also work in many different fields.
In fact, companies in various different sectors need qualified engineers to plan and produce new products and if you are really good at what you are doing, you can also switch from one field to the other and acquire many new skills during your engineering career.
Engineers can work for many different companies
Many big companies search for good engineers right now.
Consequently, you will almost have freedom of choice for what company you want to work and it will also be pretty easy for you to switch companies once you are no longer satisfied with the working conditions.
This will boost your confidence and will also get you into a better position in various aspects when it comes to promotions and raises.
You will be able to plan your life
Since you will be able to make decent money and will also have a high level of job security as an engineer, you will also be able to plan your life much better than most other people out there.
In fact, it will be much easier for you to handle your finances since you will just not have to care about every dollar you spend and you will also be able to send your kids to college one day and financially support them.
Engineers have an easy time getting a mortgage
If you want, you can also afford to buy a decent home and many banks out there will be pretty happy to grant you a mortgage for it since they know that your job prospects will be quite good and that you can earn lots of money in this field.
Consequently, while many other people out there have to rent since they just don’t get a mortgage, you will be the one who can afford to buy a house and you will also be able to pay off this house before you retire so that you don’t have to spend money on rent anymore.
You will be able to save and invest money for retirement
In general, thanks to your good salary as an engineer, you will also be able to save and invest enough money for retirement.
In turn, while many other people will financially struggle to pay their bills at this point in time, you will often have a pretty relaxed life in this regard and you may even be able to afford some luxury.
You can afford proper health insurance plans
While many other people out there will only have basic health insurance or no health insurance at all, you will be able to afford proper health insurance for you and your family.
Thus, in case of a medical emergency, you will be able to get proper treatment and your overall life expectancy may therefore be higher.
Working from home may be possible
Another advantage of being an engineer is that you will also be able to work from home quite often. Sure, you will also have to be present at work in person once or twice a week to discuss your results.
However, many companies will allow you to spend the majority of your workday at home and use modern technologies to make video calls.
In turn, this will give you more flexibility regarding how you want to structure your workday and it will also allow you to do some private things between meetings.
Consequently, you can also use your time more efficiently compared to someone who has to be present at work every workday and you can also save lots of money on commuting.
You can avoid heavy physical work as an engineer
Since you will work in front of a computer screen all day long, you will also be able to avoid hard physical work as an engineer.
In turn, you will often have more power after work than other people who have to work in a hard physical manner and also your risk of physical health issues will be significantly lower in the long run.
Engineers learn many important hard skills
You will also learn many valuable skills that are important in the job market as an engineer.
In fact, you will always stay up-to-date with latest technologies and this gives you the opportunity to develop your skills further every day.
Easy to switch industries for engineers
Thanks to the many valuable skills you learn as an engineer, it will also be pretty easy for you to switch industries. In fact, you don’t even have to work in the engineering industry forever.
Many engineers also switch to the financial industry and work as investment bankers since they can even make much more money in this field.
Hence, many doors will open for you if you have a strong analytical background and also have good logical reasoning skills as an engineer.
You may be able to make the world a little bit better
Apart from the many other advantages that come along with an engineering career, you can also just make the world a little bit better.
In fact, you will be able to work on many projects that can change who the world will look like in the future, at least if you are not just in the game for the money but really have an inner motivation to change things to the positive.
As you can see, a career in engineering can make sense for you for various reasons.
However, we should also not forget to talk about the negative aspects that come along with it so that you get a better impression of what working as an engineer will really look like.
Disadvantages of Being an Engineer
- You often have to work with a computer all day long
- Engineers don’t get rich
- Hard to start your own company in the engineering industry
- You need a college degree for becoming an engineer
- Student loan debt may financially constrain you in the future
- Getting an engineering degree is not easy
- Working as an engineer can be mentally demanding
- Certain stigma for female engineers
- It will take quite long until you see the results of your labor
- You cannot work in a physical manner
- You may get lazy
- Engineers may have to go to the gym after work
You often have to work with a computer all day long
One disadvantage of being an engineer is that you will have to do computer work all day long.
In fact, you will barely get the opportunity to work with your hands since all the complex calculations have to be done with the help of computer programs and you will also do most simulations on your computer screen.
In turn, you will have to stare at your computer screen for quite a long time every day and this can be pretty bad for your eyes while foresters and other people who work outdoors often get much more exercise at work.
Engineers don’t get rich
While you can make good money as an engineer, you should still not expect to get rich.
In fact, most engineers make much less money compared to doctors or lawyers and if money is really important to you and you aspire to a high-class lifestyle, you should rather not become an engineer but work in the medical, law or financial industry instead.
Hard to start your own company in the engineering industry
Even though you will learn many important skills that are needed in the job market as an engineer, it will still be hard to start your own company in this sector since upfront costs are often quite high and you will need lots of money to support your vision.
In turn, chances are that you will have to work as an employed engineer for your whole life and if you dream about having your own business one day, chances are that you should not go for a career as an engineer but rather go for something that is easier to pull off with small amounts of money.
You need a college degree for becoming an engineer
Another problem with becoming an engineer is that you will also need a college degree to be able to work in this field.
In fact, many companies require a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree in engineering and this means that you will have to spend lots of time and money on college education.
Consequently, make sure that you really want to work as an engineer to justify these high upfront costs.
Student loan debt may financially constrain you in the future
If your parents are not able to support you financially, you may also have to take on student loans to finance your engineering degrees.
However, you will have to pay back those loans sooner or later and this may take away some financial flexibility from you.
Some people even struggle to pay back their student loans since they simply underestimated the financial burden that comes along with it.
Getting an engineering degree is not easy
You should also not expect your studies to be easy. In fact, engineering degrees are quite demanding and many people quit or fail.
Hence, make sure that you are really willing to work hard in college to get one of those valuable degrees and that you don’t end up without a degree after a few years of spending lots of money and time on college.
Working as an engineer can be mentally demanding
Not only engineering education can be demanding, but also your work as an engineer can be mentally challenging.
In fact, you will have to carry out many complex calculations during work and if you don’t have the mental capacity to pull them off, chances are that you will just not get happy with what you are doing in the long run.
Certain stigma for female engineers
The engineering industry is still dominated by men.
In fact, there is only a small fraction of women graduating from college with an engineering degree right now and you should therefore not be surprised to get snarky comments in this regard if you are one of those female engineers.
However, this can also be a chance since many companies try to get more female engineers and you may therefore also have better job prospects.
It will take quite long until you see the results of your labor
Quite often, you will also have to work on projects that will not deliver any results soon.
Instead, you will often sit in front of your computer screen for many months or even years until your hard work finally pays off for the company you work for.
Hence, working as an engineer will also not be for you if you are the type of impatient person who wants to see results quickly.
You cannot work in a physical manner
While some people like office work, others rather want to work with their bare hands.
Therefore, if you belong to the second group of people, you will likely be better off with a tradesmen career where you can really work in a physical manner instead of sitting in front of a computer all day long.
You may get lazy
Since you will sit in an office or at home for almost all of our workday, you may also just become lazy as an engineer.
Consequently, you may also gain some weight and may even become obese in the long run.
Engineers may have to go to the gym after work
Due to your lack of exercise at work, you may also have to spend some time at the gym after work to maintain a certain fitness level and to lose some pounds.
This can be quite annoying since many of your friends will just meet up after work while you will often be stuck at the gym or with other sports.
Top 10 Being an Engineer Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being an Engineer Pros||Being an Engineer Cons|
|Engineers can make decent money||Working as an engineer can be demanding|
|You can work indoors as an engineer||You need to get a college degree|
|You will not have to work many hours||Student loan debt can be an issue|
|Free weekends are common for engineers||Many engineers gain weight in the long run|
|Good work-life balance in general||You may have to work out after work|
|Engineers don’t have much stress at work||Engineering degrees are demanding|
|You can work on important projects||You often have to work with a computer|
|You can work in many different fields||Lack of physical exercise at work|
|Good engineers will always be needed||Most engineers don’t get rich|
|Easy to switch fields for engineers||Hard to start your own business in this field|
Should You Become An Engineer?
Now that you know all the advantages and disadvantages of an engineering career, it is on you to decide whether you still want to become an engineer or if you rather want to go for different job options instead.
Either way, make sure to take your time to make a wise decision in this regard since it can greatly influence how your future will look like.
If you are still interested in an engineering career, you should also have a look at job prospects, job security, salaries, work-life balance, educational requirements, job satisfaction of engineers and much more.
Also make sure to check out the following articles to get more information on different job options:
Own research and interviews.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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