Graduating university is the start of the next chapter of your life. As an engineer student, you have spent the last 4+ years studying for exams, researching, calculating and coding for assignments and hopefully, interning for experience. But as technology becomes more integrated with life, the engineering industry will transform and evolve. Digital Engineering is set to advance the engineering industry ten-fold. Future engineers will be able to expand into new areas of innovation, where mobility and connectivity are the first steps.
The current landscape of the industry is certainly positive. Studies say more engineering graduates are working full time, with employment rates over 83%, compared to 79% in 2017. Civil engineer graduates were the most likely of the engineering roles to be employed full time, a massive 88% thanks to the boom in infrastructure projects and the construction industry. Electrical engineers and mechanical engineers were also extremely employable with rates of 85.5% and 80.6% respectively. As a result, there has been an increase in salary across the engineering industry with the rise of more full-time roles becoming available. In fact, engineering undergraduates are a part of the highest paid undergraduates, having a median salary of $65,000, a gain of $1000 since 2017.
Skills needed for entering the engineering industry
The most important aspect of entering the engineering industry that graduates need to understand is the absolute necessity of experience. The hardest aspect of being a graduate in a competitive environment is the lack industry experience, especially working with skilled, practiced teams. Joining larger companies will give any graduates the ability to develop and grow into their roles. It’s recommended that new employees find a mentor that is knowledgeable in order to maximise the skills and good practices acquired. Successful networking is another feature of an innovative engineer. This can be done by joining diverse work forces or even moving to a new company or country and building long lasting relationships. Finally, engineers need to be competent at what they do in order to succeed.
As more technology enters the industry, the fundamental skills that engineers are required to know will become the standard, opening up more opportunities for specialisation of skills and the opportunity for undergraduates to capitalise on the shifting environment. By studying and gaining experience in data analysis, computer science and materials engineering, undergraduates can position themselves up as thought leaders and innovators for many years to come.
Innovative, young engineers are already noticing the opportunities in the market to create and capitalise on the merging of technology capabilities and engineering skillsets. As an example, Isaac Brain and Mitchell Torok took a smart watch, connected it to a database that can SMS nursing staff about the wearers condition and location in real- time. This also included a button for sending alerts and an accelerometer to detect any falls. This solves a real-world need by assisting the elderly community. This device, called the aWear, is a perfect example of combining innovation and technology for a great cause; enabling engineers to make a difference.
The Future of Engineering
It’s safe to say that the current outlook for engineering graduates is promising. Industries are currently booming, which means that it is easier to gain experience, work full time and get paid handsomely. On top of all of this, Digital Engineering is set to increase the proficiency, accuracy and efficiency of engineering work. Drawing and Data Management software is an extremely useful tool that can be used to cut costs, while also building upon the technology that is already available. Just ten years ago, engineers were primarily dealing with stacks of paper drawings and calculations. This made for boring tedious work, but now with the technological invasion, engineers are working with VR, AR and 3D models. Mobility and subsequently, the freedom to move internationally has provided another attractive perk of the industry’s future.
What does this mean for the future of digital engineering? We will continue to see the dominance of 3D modelling and digital twins. Relevant data that can be utilised easily and effectively is invaluable. The digital twin can have and operational data, construction sequencing and even the time and costs embed into the 3D models. Following this, the engineering data will also be added to this complete model, available for access at anytime, anywhere. Drawings will continue to become less important, moving towards these models, or in some cases such as a specific part, just 3D printing it without a drawing.
As technology evolves, holographic images and models, based off AR & VR technology, will be developed, followed by interaction with these holographs. Point cloud scanners will able to create smaller file sizes (or storage sizes of devices increases) making the models they create widely used. Drones are already being utilised to create these models, but future developments may see phone apps taking advantage of the GPS, meaning that future engineers could scan wall, have it mapped up, then see the 3D hologram from your phone as well as the data attached, and then interact with the model.
It is a truly exciting time to entering the engineering industry. The fast introduction of technology, creating digital engineering means that there will no longer will there be long, tedious paper-based tasks. RedEye is embracing this technological change and hope our dev team can keep up. Graduates who are agile, have specialised skillsets, innovative and take risks will be the biggest benefactors of the digital engineering boom.