Five Hot Engineering Careers in 2018

From testing to robotics, take a look at the hottest engineering careers

5 February 2018

The new year has only just begun. For some, the calendar change represents an opportunity to assess their current job situation and—perhaps—make a move. Here are five hot engineering careers to consider in 2018.

  • #1 Validation Engineer

    All systems need testing to ensure that performance is meeting expectations and is in compliance. Validation engineers develop and also test manufacturing systems and equipment (for example, those in medical devices and pharmaceuticals). The growing overall economy suggests that the demand for these professionals will rise as businesses boost production in response. The Institute for Supply Management said November’s Purchasing Management Index showed the economy improving for the more than one-hundredth consecutive month, with new orders and production acting as significant growth factors.

  • #2 Construction Engineer

    The strengthening economy is leading to a robust construction industry, resulting in a high demand for construction engineers. Construction engineering is a subspecialty of civil engineering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center predict that the construction industry will be one of the fastest growing industries into 2020: The sector is forecast to grow 4.5 percent during the next five years. President Donald Trump’s US $1 trillion infrastructure program is likely to also boost the number of construction engineers required to design, plan and manage the building of roads, tunnels, bridges, airports and railroads.

  • #3 Computer Vision Engineer

    As machine learning and artificial intelligence become more embedded into industrial machinery, computer vision is becoming more central to systems design. Computer vision engineers provide machines with the ability to process, classify and distinguish between images, both digital and real. The applications of computer vision include virtual reality, robotics, manufacturing inspection and navigation (including autonomous vehicles).

    These engineers design neural networks to recognize faces, such as the facial recognition software used to unlock smartphones and computers, as well as that used to auto-tag people in photos online. In addition, law enforcement sees potential for computer vision to accurately sort through thousands of U.S. Department of Motor Vehicle photos and security camera recordings to identify as well as potentially locate criminals.

  • #4 Robotics Engineer

    Using computer-aided design and drafting, and computer-aided manufacturing  systems, robotics engineers design, test and build robots that are productive and safe to operate as well as economical to purchase and maintain. These engineers design and build robots and systems that can perform duties that humans are either unable to or that prefer not to complete.

    Robots can make jobs safer, easier and more efficient, especially in the manufacturing industry. Generally speaking, the creation of robots is expensive: reported that new industrial robots complete with controllers and teach pendants can cost from $50,000 to $80,000. After application-specific peripherals are added, a robot system can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000. But robot engineers are working on small micro-bots, some as small as a quarter. While they are not meant for industrial use, these tiny robots demonstrate that autonomous devices can be built for very small sums.

    The U.S. National Science Foundation has sponsored research toward the construction of low-cost, possibly disposable, robots that reportedly will run between $10 and $100 and can operate on a one-time-use basis, for example on rescue missions.

  • #5 Embedded Engineer

    An increased demand by consumers and businesses for more utility, more connectivity and for smarter and more power-efficient electronic technology is driving a need for more engineers in the embedded systems field. As more devices interconnect and join the internet of things, more embedded engineers will be needed to write code, design circuits, ensure quality and implement solutions that keep operating systems running. These positions can be in fields as varied as automotive—embedded systems operate the backup camera and infotainment system, for example—or industrial, where robotic assembly lines and automated inspections make factories more efficient.

Content sponsored by Digi-Key Electronics.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Learn More