Engineers apply scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to find practical and cost-effective solutions to challenges and look for opportunities to improve our quality of life.
When we use phones to talk or text, travel from A to B, buy a bottle of milk or a muesli bar, turn on a light or even flush the toilet, it's all built on the work of engineers.
Engineers enjoy variety in their day-to-day work, tackle interesting challenges, use problem-solving skills to find creative solutions, work in teams, are paid well and often get opportunities to travel. You can help your community and enjoy a creative, rewarding role at the same time.
Key engineering areas:
- Chemical and process engineering
- Civil engineering, which includes structural, environmental, transport and geotechnical engineering
- Computer systems and software engineering
- Electrical and electronic engineering
- Mechanical engineering
You can also specialise in other areas including Biomedical, Engineering Science, Forest, Mechatronics (a combination of Mechanical and Electrical), Natural Resources, and Product Development.
There are shortages of some types of engineers:
- Digital (IT) companies need more software engineers
- Structural and geotechnical engineers are needed for the post-earthquake rebuild of Christchurch
- Major highway projects require civil and transport engineers
- Upgrading the National Grid will require more electrical engineers
What kinds of jobs do engineers have?
Electrical engineers design systems and equipment that generate, distribute and/or use electricity. They may also be involved in supervising the manufacture or construction, and maintenance and operation of these systems and equipment.
Mechanical engineers design, develop and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices in a wide range of industries, from construction to manufacturing and power generation.
Environmental engineers assess the impact of engineering projects on the environment, including waterways, soil, air and noise levels, and advise on ways to minimise this impact.
Chemical engineers design, develop and operate the processes and equipment used to change raw materials into useful products. They may work in a range of areas including environmental engineering, biochemical engineering, food engineering or waste engineering.
Mining engineers plan, prepare, design and manage the development of opencast (above ground) or underground mines.