Explaining Four Popular Engineering Fields – Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, and Chemical

Publish on October 5, 2021
STEM Education

When most people think of engineering, the first thing that pops into their head is a worker with a wrench and safety helmet. When someone says they’re an engineer you’ll think they either fix or build things. However, not many realize that it’s not the entire career, but rather a small part of it.

In fact, engineering encompasses so many things that there are over 200 types of engineering specializations! That’s because engineering is about using highly specialized areas of knowledge to solve an equally specialized problem. And since we often encounter a huge range of problems, it explains the huge number of specializations.

However, to simplify it, we’re going to look at four popular fields of engineering — civil, electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering.

1. Civil Engineering

Civil engineers can be considered the “city builders.” They build and innovate for a better quality of life for the community while solving current infrastructural problems. The projects that civil engineers undertake are essential to both public and private sectors, as they build, design and maintain roads, bridges, public parks, water systems and much more.

Monuments such as Lady Liberty, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge, were all made possible thanks to the work of civil engineers. The amount of contribution civil engineers provide to the community is truly on a grand scale. In fact, these are just 3 examples out of the thousands of other landmarks that were created by civil engineers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations that are similar or overlap with civil engineering include landscaping and architecture, construction manager, and urban planning.

2. Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers, as the namesake, focuses on the electrical aspects of infrastructure. They study, design, manufacture and test electrical components. These components are devices and systems that utilize electricity such as communication systems, navigation systems, and power generation for the community.

As electrical components encompass a wide variety of things, electrical engineering is one of the industries with the broadest fields. This means that the jobs available are highly variable based on one sector to another.

Whether it is building high-speed internet connections, or producing high-performing computers, or even working on circuits to provide electricity to the community, most sectors in the world require an electrical engineer for a specialized yet essential role in their business.

3. Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers are probably the closest to the image of what most people have when they think of engineers. Mechanical engineers analyze, design, manufacture, test and maintain mechanical systems. These mechanical systems encompass all sorts of machinery such as engines, tools and appliances.

Alongside electrical engineering, mechanical engineering is also one of the widest fields in engineering. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanical engineers have created a huge range of products from batteries and air-conditioning, to cars and refrigeration systems.

Mechanical engineers analyze projects to determine how a mechanical device can be used to improve it. Then, they will theorize, design and test the machines in order to further assist the project. Mechanical engineers also investigate faulty equipment to determine how and which part of the machine has to be repaired or improved upon.

4. Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers fully utilize their knowledge of various sciences such as chemistry, physics, biology and maths to solve problems that are involved with chemicals. These problems can range from your everyday products such as creating better drugs to combat viruses, innovating new solutions for better food storage, or higher agricultural yields, and much more. Chemical engineers usually work in laboratories, while balancing it with on-site visits in certain projects.

The discoveries that chemical engineers make and the innovations they manufacture in the lab will often translate to practical applications for the commercial production of products that are highly in demand in today’s economy. In fact, chemical engineers are often sought after by large-scale conglomerates and manufacturing plants to help maximize productivity and quality while minimizing overall costs.

While these are only four fields of engineering, there are so many more out there such as Aerospace Engineering, Forensic Engineering, Software Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Marine Engineering and so many more! If you’re looking to spark your child’s interest in any of these fields, Engineering For Kids offers programs for children between the ages of 4 and 14. Find your closest location to learn more about our camps and classes.

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