An engineering degree is not for someone who does not like math or science. It requires you to be good at mathematics, physics, and chemistry, just to name a few courses.
But being able to read well and are very logical people can help prepare students for this career path. A liberal arts education will teach you how to think about things logically, give you knowledge that can be applied in many areas, and help you hone your communication skills.
A liberal arts education is also great preparation for graduate school. Many master’s programs require either a bachelor’s degree or advanced degrees such as those from professional schools (for example, medicine). So, a BA in something other than social sciences, humanities, or business can help you get closer to that goal!
This article will talk more about some of the major fields within the liberal arts and what employers look for when hiring engineers with these backgrounds. But first, let us discuss why getting an engineering degree is a smart idea.
The importance of an engineering degree
Having an engineering degree means that you have received formal training in one of the hard sciences: biology, chemical engineering, physical engineering, and others. These disciplines take lots of research and study, so they usually pay better than non-science majors.
In fact, according to Business Insider, the average salary for an engineer is $110,000 per year, which makes it the third highest paying job out of all occupations.
Read a book
After high school, most people go straight into college or graduate school depending on their goals. While some people are able to transition directly from college as students to professionals, it is not for everyone. Most engineering jobs require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree, if not a master’s or doctorate. Companies want to make sure that they can depend on you being a productive member of their team, so they give you time to learn what things mean before hiring you.
Engineering is one of the largest fields in our society today. There are many different specialties within engineers, which makes it harder to understand why someone would choose not to become an engineer. It will take hard work and dedication to pursue engineering as a career though, which may be a turn off for those who do not plan to spend the time needed to advance their careers.
It is important to remember that even if you do not end up choosing engineering as your profession, going into technology or science is still a good way to start your career. Many successful entrepreneurs and business owners did not begin life with dreams of running large corporations, but working in tech or marketing is a great way to break into the field.
Having studied liberal arts, you have already mastered how to read, interpret, and evaluate information; you are also aware of the importance of literacy in society. Now it is time to apply these skills towards something more practical: practicing your writing and coding skills!
Many engineers can write their own names or short essays, but creating elaborate narratives that tell a story or analyzing how different systems work are concepts that most people do not learn until later in life.
This is totally normal! Most non-technical individuals never get trained in this area because it is considered beyond the realm of “normal” jobs for someone with no college education.
But it is important to know what it takes to be able to perform such tasks if you want to pursue engineering as a career. Luckily, you can pick up some basic software programs for free online that don’t require too much expertise to use. You can also find plenty of resources and tutorials via Google or YouTube.
There are even many courses available at community colleges and other educational facilities that can help you hone your writing and coding skills. Even better, some employers offer training events or in-house classes so that you don’t need to go outside to take lessons.
Learn to research
A liberal arts degree does not emphasize just studying what your instructor teaches you, it also emphasizes learning how to learn new information and concepts. This is called concept study or conceptual understanding.
Concept studies are important in engineering because engineers must understand basic theories such as physics or mathematics before they can apply their field more thoroughly.
For example, a chemical engineer needs to be able at least pass tests that measure his or her knowledge of chemistry, but he or she would be unprepared if asked to do work involving fluid dynamics or quantum mechanics.
So, before entering into the realm of professional practice, students should be prepared to pick up where they leave off when they stop teaching themselves theory.
Students who learn this lesson early on will still have a career after college since there are many ways to “pick up” the concepts for free or very little money. You can watch YouTube videos, read books, talk to professors, etc. – all of which contribute to developing your skill set.
Learn to think critically
A liberal arts degree does not teach you how to be an engineer, it teaches you why engineers are thinking about certain things. This is important as we live in a culture that seems to value only quantitative skills.
Critical thinking comes in many different forms but most agree that being able to evaluate evidence, arguments, and assertions efficiently and effectively is integral to developing this skill.
A liberal arts education trains you to analyze information and concepts through different lenses or perspectives, which can help you apply critical reasoning to new topics and areas of study.
This gives you additional tools to learn from and helps you develop your own set of knowledge and understanding. It also allows you to assess whether what other people say makes sense and/or is worth investing time into learning more of.
It can contribute towards creating a healthy skepticism of existing paradigms and ways of doing things.
Get familiar with the field
Even if you do not plan on going into engineering, being able as at least having a basic understanding of what engineers do can help you in other career paths. For example, anyone who wants to be a business executive or marketing professional will have to know how engineers design products and services, so this link is important.
Likewise, people in administrative roles will need to understand why engineers put such importance on quality, which helps them keep their jobs. And since most businesses rely heavily on technology for operation, knowing some basics about it is helpful.
The same goes for politicians, educators, and others who work with professionals that are related to tech.
Find a job
Finding work as an engineer is not easy, but it is possible! While most engineering degree programs require at least a bachelor’s degree, many employers will accept a professional certification or even just a high school diploma if you have adequate experience.
Engineering is a very diverse field that covers lots of different areas. Most importantly, though, engineers are always looking for qualified individuals to do jobs – so don’t feel like you need to start working immediately after graduation!
Take some time to explore your options, look up open positions online, and get ready to make calls and send emails! There may be openings in fields close to where you live, or maybe somewhere far away depending on what types of projects you would like to pursue. Either way, all good things come with search engines.
Once you find a position that sounds interesting, send off your application using the appropriate applications (yes, they exist!). Once again, use search engines to help you find them.
After high school, most people go somewhere they will spend their lives spending lots of money in order to make more money. This is not the case for everyone, however! Some people choose careers that they will always do no matter how much or little money there is because it gives them personal satisfaction. For example, you could be a doctor who loves working with your hands and helping people, or you could be a lawyer that enjoys arguing cases in court.
Being an engineer is a great way to satisfy this requirement as engineers are paid well (enough at least) to enjoy creating new things and designing efficient equipment. Many fields within engineering have plenty of opportunities available so even if one field isn’t what you imagined, you can still turn up and create something new with it!
Engineering has many different specializations such as electrical, computer science, industrial engineering, etc. By being able to apply yourself to whatever area you want to work in, you show initiative, are self-motivated, and understand the basics of the field.
Stay current with industry trends
As technology continues to advance at a breakneck speed, engineers are constantly keeping up by reading business books, magazines, and blogs. These publications contain valuable information that can aid in your career as an engineer or inspire you to develop your skills as a professional.
You do not have to be professionally trained in engineering to read technical material, but it is important to be familiar with the concepts so you know what you’re talking about. For example, if you’re reading a book about computer science, you should have a basic understanding of how computers work.
It’s also very helpful to be aware of what topics are making headlines in the tech world. This gives you some context for the materials you are reading and helps you link what you learn from one area of study to another. You will also find there are many success stories using advanced technologies or strategies.
Reading non-technical material is a great way to gain more insight into the field. People who become successful engineers often share their experiences via writing. A good portion of these writings focus on leadership, communication, and other fundamentals that most professionals teach during college courses.