Draw up a career in the engineering industry and you'll work on the design, manufacture and operation of machines, products, structures and devices.

There are many fields of engineering—each vitally important to the fabrication and manufacturing of products and services. Engineers apply scientific, economic and practical knowledge to create systems and manufacture chemicals and materials.

Some of the main engineering industries include mechanical engineering, electrical, chemical, civil and manufacturing engineering, along with computer and environmental fields. Civil engineering includes planning, designing and overseeing the construction of buildings and other structures, while engineers in the electrical engineering field design, manufacture and implement apparatuses to generate electricity and transmit electrical services. Industrial engineers typically design and set up machines for production plants while mechanical engineers deal with power plants, engines and related devices.

Chemical and materials engineers research design and develop specifications of materials to create products or investigate chemical interactions. They may modify materials such as ceramics, chemicals, composites, metals, plastics and rubber to improve the performance of their intended use and increase cost-effectiveness. They may work in chemical plants, in the industrial processing of objects going through chemical change and in testing various materials to find new uses for them. They must understand the properties and behaviours of substances from raw materials to finished products.

Careers in engineering are typically in high demand and offer stable work environments and salaries. Individuals pursuing engineering should complete a bachelors degree in the particular engineering field of interest and may benefit from summer internships in the field. Engineers can expect to work typical hours Mondays to Fridays in office settings, laboratories, manufacturing plants, construction sites and other areas on-site of services offered. Individuals pursuing a career in engineering should be highly analytical, able to problem solve and absorb large quantities of information.

Professional associations and industry bodies

Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA) 

Australian Institute of Energy

Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association

Consult Australia (formally Association of Consulting Engineers Australia)

Engineers Australia  

Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia

Institution of Chemical Engineers 

Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers 

Technology Industry Association 

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Skills and personality

  • Ability to see engineering plans from beginning stages to completion
  • Adherence to safety standards and procedures while building and installing
  • Effectively use a variety of computer software, tools and equipment to complete work
  • Enjoy fabricating and designing products and services
  • High attention to detail including accuracy and precision of work
  • Highly analytical to diagnose causes and effects of engineering problems and solutions
  • Specialised knowledge of specific engineering field and practices
  • Strong critical thinking skills and innovation, testing hypotheses and developing new products and services
  • Strong problem solving skills to test new products and figure out cause of defects
  • Work in a team with others on projects and service delivery