image of engineering student

In this profession, you could find yourself working on things that were once just science fiction.

Biomedical electronic engineers, for example, are developing advanced robotic prosthetics and exoskeletons to restore functionality and mobility for amputees and paralysis victims. That's like Tony Stark engineering his own Iron Man exoskeleton suit! 

More about engineering professionals. What do they do?

Right now, Engineering professionals work in these broad areas.
Hint: For an alphabetical listing of all engineering roles go to glossary-engineering.

Chemical Engineering

Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural engineers deal with conservation and development of natural resources such as soil, water, land, rivers and forests. They develop sustainable solutions for problems such as soil erosion and salinity, and develop better methods of farming and forestry, such as improved machinery and irrigation systems.

Chemical / Biochemical Engineer

Chemical engineers change raw materials into useful and sellable products by altering the chemical, biochemical or physical state of a substance. They can then produce food, petrol, plastic, paints, paper, ceramics, minerals and metals.

Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers apply science and engineering principles to improve the natural environment – air, water and land resources. 

Materials Engineer

Material engineers test how materials behave under different environments: when heated, under pressure, or when joined with other materials (metals, plastics, rubber, timber, and ceramics). They aim to create stronger, lightweight and fire resistant materials as well as develop new materials and improve existing materials. 

Metallurgist / Mineral Engineer

Mineral engineers turn raw material of low value into valuable and useable products, such as changing bauxite into aluminium. They also combine metals and non-metals to make new materials that are light, strong, durable and heat resistant for use in cars, boats, jets and spacecraft.

Civil Engineering

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers are responsible for the design, construction, operation and improvement of the built environment which include systems and structures. These include systems such as roads, sewerage, gas, and structures such as bridges, towers and buildings.

Coastal and Ocean Engineer

The work of a Coastal and Ocean Engineer focuses on where land and sea meet and also the open ocean environment. They have strong skills in understanding these changing natural environments. Their work ensures that any coastal work is safe and ecologically sustainable . 

Geotechnical Engineer

Geotechnical engineering is about engineering the ground, using the behaviour of soils and rocks. Geotechnical engineers do things like design foundations for major civil construction works, or may work in the mining sector.

  • View Nicole's professional profile - she's a Geology and Civil Engineering graduate, now working as a Geotechnical Engineer in the civil engineering sector.

Marine  Engineer

Marine Engineers design, test and improve machinery and equipment that is used at sea. This includes water vessels such as industrial ships, as well as infrastructure in ports, harbours and oil rigs.

Mining Engineer

Mining engineers develop the most efficient methods for mining, which is the extraction and processing of minerals from the environment, including ores and fuels such as natural gas. They plan the most cost effective and safest way of removing minerals from grounds, rivers and sea beds. 

Renewable Energy Engineer

Renewable energy engineers work on finding new solutions for sustainable use of the energy that we need, to ensure long-term survival of our planet. They investigate different energy sources such as wind, solar and hydro energy, and how they can be used effectively.

Resource Engineer

Resource engineers design and develop more efficient ways to use natural resources and manage the environment in rural areas. Their work may include irrigation systems for farming, soil conversation, conservation of water and land resources.

Electrical Engineering

Computer Systems Engineer

Computer Systems engineering involves the study, development and application of computer technology. Computer Systems engineers work with networks and communications and control systems.

Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers work on producing electrical energy for all different uses in houses, schools, industry, shops and other buildings. They design and build systems that generate, transmit, measure, control and use electric energy.

  • View Peter's professional profile - he's an Electronic Engineering graduate, now working as a Grid Automation Engineer in the power generation and distribution industry

Electronic Engineer

Electronic engineers, design, test and implement the circuits and systems at the heart of every electronic device. Our modern information rich and massively interconnected society couldn't exist without their skills and creativity, and the pace of change is ever increasing.

Grid Automation Engineer

What's a Grid Automation Engineer? (research it on Wikipedia). Also, see our glossary entries for Electronic Engineer and Renewable Energy Engineer.

Mechanical Engineering

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers focus on the design, construction and operation of aerospace vehicles, propulsion systems and aircraft. This includes jets, gliders, missiles, planes, helicopters and even spacecraft.

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers apply engineering knowledge to the life sciences of medicine and biology. This allows them to create new systems, devices, instrumentation and software that can support and enhance quality of life for humans, aid in medical procedures, and help people with physical disabilities. 

Building Services Engineer

These engineers focus on the internal systems within buildings. They design heating, air-conditioning, electric lighting and power, water and gas supply, plumbing and drainage systems. They work on security and safety systems as well as internal communication systems such as telephones, intercoms, computers, lifts and escalators.

Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer

Mechanical engineers design, create and improve systems and machinery used for all different purposes, such as household appliances, industrial machinery, air-conditioning, aircraft and ships. 

Mechatronics Engineer

Mechatronic engineering is an emerging engineering discipline. It combines mechanical, electrical, electronic and computer software engineering. 

Engineering professionals and students tell their own stories

View videos and read first-hand accounts from university engineering graduates about their experiences in their chosen field at Professional profiles...

View videos and read profiles of engineering students telling their own stories about overcoming barriers to study at uni. Hear what motivated them to choose their area of study and what they are experiencing at uni at Student stories...

How much can I earn?

The lifetime earnings/ wage gap, between people who graduate from university and those who don't, is significant. Different research measures estimate the higher lifetime earnings by graduates at anywhere from 30% to 75% greater than school leavers1.

Average weekly earnings before tax (2015 data) for engineering professions range from $1,430 (in various engineering disciplines) to $1,927 (Electrical Engineers)2. Check out the Engineering profession snapshot infographic below, for earnings data in other areas of Engineering.

Engineering graduates (Bachelor, newly qualified, under 25) enjoyed starting salaries in  2015 of between $53k and $64k a year, with a median starting salary for all engineer graduates of $60k.  

Between 2011 and 2014, the median salary for all graduates in the broad field of engineering and related technologies rose from $60k to $80k 4.

1 ABC News Fact Check - see graduate-earnings-and-unemployment-claim-overblown/5446462
2 ABS Characteristics of Employment Survey.
3 Graduate careers Australia - - Graduate Salaries Report 2015.
4 Graduate Careers Australia. - Beyond Graduation Survey, 2014 - Table 11; latest available data.

Useful links

LEAP Partner Universities -  from here, you can follow links to our partner universities' LEAP landing pages, for direct access to info about each university, their courses, scholarships, student support services, pathways options and other useful information.

Students - Beyond School has lots relevant information about the world of work, work experience, career planning, pathways and development, and occupations for secondary school students. (Victorian Government site)

Study Assist helps school students and their families understand what support they are eligible for if pursuing higher education, based on a range of study options available to them. (Australian Government site)

My Future has a guide to career development, to education beyond Year 12, videos by professionals and interactive career quizzes. My Future also has a new myfuture forum, a tool allowing you to talk to people working in a range of industries. (Australian Government site)

Bullseye posters - School subjects you like and jobs they can lead to. (Australian Government site)

Job Outlook is a careers and labour market research information site to help individuals decide on their future career. (Australian Government site)

My Skills - Online information about vocational education and training options. (Australian Government site)

Good Universities Guide - Online careers guide.

Start building your skills now

If you think a career in engineering is for you, why not start planning how to get there? Go to Building skills to see what you can do right now. Then remember to review your Career Action Plan with your teacher or careers teacher.

Get in touch

To enquire about LEAP activities for your school
please contact one of LEAP's participating Universities