Engineering and architecture are all about problem solving. While they’re obviously two distinctly different industries, they’re both based around designing, building and maintaining infrastructure. Architecture is more concerned with the aesthetics, like the look and feel of a building, and engineering is more about the nitty gritty fixtures, like making sure a structure is safe and durable. Where architecture prioritises form and design, engineering prioritises function and formula.
Will it suit me?
Architects and engineers need to be able to comprehend the physics of how structures are made, so maths and science skills are important. You’re required to use formulas and complex problem solving methods on a regular basis, which can be challenging. In addition to this stuff, they need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with project managers, trades people and clients. So if you’ve got a knack for solving problems and you know how to explain things simply to a range of different people, these jobs are definitely worth pursuing.
What jobs can I do?
Architect, biomedical engineer, civil engineer, chemical engineer, electrical engineer, engineering technician, environmental engineer, industrial engineer, landscape architect, mechanical engineer, project manager, project designer.
How can I get there?
There are a couple of ways into an engineering role. While engineers have the option of completing an apprenticeship, a university degree is the best pathway to more senior roles in the industry. An engineering degree takes four years to complete and requires you to write a graduate thesis as part of your final year. Engineers usually choose which type of engineering they will do beforehand (eg. environmental, civil, chemical, mechanical, industrial, biomedical etc.). There’s also an option of doing a “flexible first year” where you try a few different kinds of engineering, then decide which one you will pursue when you start the second year of your degree.
To get into architecture, you’ll generally need a university degree. An architecture degree takes a minimum of five years (depending where you do it), plus two years of practical training on the job.
Is it a good industry?
These industries can be both rewarding and stressful, and they demand a shipload of work. As one reddit user wrote of engineering, “it's incredibly fun and satisfying, and in equal measure despairing and rage-inducing.” The working hours can be long, and engineers and architects often speak of making big sacrifices for work. However, it can also be highly satisfying and lucrative career path, with amazing opportunities to travel and live overseas.