What is an engineer

The engineer

Tasks | Career prospects | Salary | Current jobs

The job as an engineer is
  • demanding
  • exciting
  • stressful at times
  • in great demand
  • diversified
  • associated with constant learning
Duties as an engineer
  • Development of new technologies
  • Construction of buildings
  • Technical improvement of systems and machines
  • Assessment of the business indicators
Annual salary:
€ 42,000 and € 83,000

Depending on

  • Experience
  • Degree (BA & MA)
  • Company size
  • Branch
  • Area of ​​responsibility

The word engineer comes from “ingenium”, which can be translated as creative spirit or acumen. If you want to improve people's living conditions and build civilization, an engineer can be the right job for you. Here we show you what an engineer is, what tasks he does, how you can become an engineer and what you earn as an engineer.

Table of Contents

Frequently asked questions about the engineer

The engineer develops new technologies and ensures that existing systems are improved.

Engineers work in many areas: As a civil engineer, he takes care of the technical implementation of civil engineering structures, as a mechanical engineer he develops machines and systems, and as an industrial engineer he weighs the costs against the expected benefits.

By studying engineering. This can be done at a university of applied sciences, but also at a university.

What is engineering

= Engineering is a branched professional field that is at home in plant engineering, construction, sales, but also in information and communication technology.

Current vacancies as an engineer

Engineer: definition

The engineer is a specialist - or a specialist - who works technically and has studied for it. He deals with technical problems, finds effective and effective solutions for them and develops future technologies that will be needed in the future. He improves existing complex systems or he invents new technical methods.

The engineer not only has to drive the best technical development, but at the same time keep an eye on the costs against the expected benefits. The engineer reacts to changes in the environment or society with innovations and converts them into modern products that people can live with more easily and better. To do this, he not only needs technical expertise in his area, but also has to think outside the box and work with others.

Since the tasks of the engineers are so different, the tasks cannot be described so easily. The tasks depend on which engineering degree was ultimately completed.

As an engineer, you always ask yourself the following questions:

How can a technology or a process be optimized?

As an engineer, what optimizations can I bring in my company?

The various specialist areas of the engineer result in the respective tasks. Here is a brief overview:

Different types of engineertasks
Mechanical engineerThis engineer specializes in the development, construction, maintenance or sales of machines and systems. A mechanical engineer can specialize further and be responsible for mechanics, control, measurement or regulation technology.
Civil engineerThe civil engineer plans, calculates, constructs and organizes the production and operation of what are often large structures. He can work in civil engineering or plan and build traffic routes.
Electrical engineerThe electrical engineer designs, develops, plans, produces and assembles electrical systems, machines, systems and processes. He can specialize in energy, communications or drive technology.
Development engineerHe designs and develops machines and systems, but also mechatronic or electronic systems. Once he has developed a concept, he takes care of the construction of a prototype and creates the necessary test concepts and software.
Industrial engineerHe not only has technical, but also business and legal knowledge. An industrial engineer can therefore assess whether a project is worthwhile. To a certain extent, he works in the field of tension between technology and business.
Sales engineerHe ensures that the machines, systems or industrial goods get to the customers, takes care of marketing, but also takes care of acquisition.

Engineer: requirements

The engineer is of course basically a profession that you can only acquire with an appropriate degree. You can find more about this under "Entry" and "Training & Studies"

Your skills

If you want to work as an engineer, you should have a very strong interest in technical interrelationships and enjoy developing processes.

A certain creativity is a must for an engineer, because he has to think outside the box in order to advance processes and technologies.

The ability to work in a team is a requirement that is often forgotten when it comes to the profession of engineer. Because even though you work independently, you should be able to coordinate with your team. You should be a mixture of confident and emphatic.

If you can affirm most of the aspects for yourself, you seem basically suitable for the profession as an engineer. Of course, you also need extensive technical knowledge if you actually want to become an engineer. In addition, the following aspects will help you:

  • Engineering studies
  • Good knowledge of mathematics
  • Good knowledge of physics
  • Good knowledge of the English language

Engineer: apprenticeship & studies

If you want to become an engineer, you have to study at a technical college or university. Since the study reform, the first degree, which you complete with the title of a "Bachelor", has lasted six semesters, that is, three years.

To study engineering at a university, you need the general university entrance qualification, as attested by the Abitur. If, on the other hand, you want to study at a university of applied sciences, you need a specialist diploma. No matter which university you want to be an engineer at, you absolutely need one thing: You have to be enthusiastic about physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology. Of course, you should also be familiar with computers and modern software.

Since there are many companies around the world, you should also be able to speak English safely. Most engineering courses require you to complete relevant internships either before or during your studies. The duration of such an internship as an engineer can be between six weeks and twelve months, depending on which subject you have specifically decided on.

If you complete your master’s degree as an engineer, you can also increase your career opportunities.

The engineering master's also enables you to work in a purely scientific field. If you are more interested in practical experience, you can also complete the engineering degree as a dual degree. You work and study in a company while studying at the same time. You also earn your own money as an engineer.

Current vacancies & jobs

Engineer: Entry

For most professions, there are three options for entering a profession:

Graduate (studies / training)

When starting out as an engineer, studying is an absolute must! This is why a lateral entry is possible, but must include a previous degree that is relevant for the engineer.

How easy or difficult it is to start a career as an engineer depends on the economy. If times are difficult, you have to be a lot more flexible. Take a close look at the industries or companies in which you can work after your studies, after all, in addition to the large companies, there are also small and medium-sized companies. Medium-sized companies in particular are often desperately looking for graduates, while global players receive far too many applications.

If you already worked in a company during your engineering studies, this will of course help you with your application. In this case, you can already demonstrate initial experience as an engineer.

Helpful soft skills as an engineer

As an engineer, you not only need technical understanding and knowledge of physical processes, you should also have the necessary soft skills.

As an engineer, you don't work in a quiet little room, but instead carry out large projects in a team. You have to convince colleagues of your opinion and work in a goal-oriented manner. You should be able to express criticism objectively and clear up misunderstandings.

Persuasiveness and thus assertiveness is important for an engineer not only in the development of new technologies, but also in sales and management. The most important thing here is your confident demeanor.

If you later want to take over the leadership of a team, you need leadership skills. In smaller companies, you can already be employed as a person in charge as a young professional - and you have to motivate and lead the others.

  • Communication skills
  • intercultural competences
  • Resilience
  • Leadership skills
  • flexibility
  • motivation
  • Assertiveness
  • empathy

Engineer: Industries & Areas

As already described above, the profession of engineer is not limited to just one industry. You can work in many industries and areas, depending on which engineering degree you have chosen.

industrial engineering

Classic areas for engineers are tool technology, civil engineering, vehicle construction, mechanical engineering and materials technology. You can also work as an engineer in many areas in the companies themselves.

You should think carefully about the area of ​​the company in which you start your career as an engineer - a lot depends on your future. In many companies you can start not only in the research and development of new technologies, but also in construction or production, assembly, sales, purchasing or quality management.

Large companies offer you the opportunity to first get to know the individual areas of the company via a trainee. Then you can then decide in which area you would like to work and start your career

The average gross salary for an engineer is around EUR 68,000 per year. The exact amount of your salary, however, depends on which degree (Bachelor or Master) you start with, in which industry you are entering, in which region the company is located and how big it is. An annual salary of between 42,000 euros and 83,000 euros can be expected.

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you will earn slightly less than a master’s degree. Large corporations pay significantly more than small and medium-sized companies. If you want to go home with an above-average salary after your studies, you have to find a job as an engineer with one of the big global players such as BMW or Siemens.

Career prospects& Career opportunities

further education

The readiness for lifelong learning is the cornerstone of your career as an engineer. The technological change alone, which the engineers themselves are accompanying and driving forward, requires constant further training. Therefore, as an engineer, you have to train yourself professionally and personally on a regular basis.

Even if many companies arrange the necessary further training for the engineer themselves, you should also further educate yourself professionally. That can be with a course in the operation of a machine or software.

Buzzwords such as Industry 4.0, Big Data or the digitalization of the world of work are just a few that characterize the rapid change in technologies and should be known to you as an engineer.

In addition, you should educate yourself personally and focus your soft skills and key qualifications through training courses. If you want to take on management responsibility as an engineer, you need the appropriate skills.

Promotion opportunities & career prospects

Not only large companies, but also medium-sized companies use talent programs to find out who the best are. If you start as an engineer in such a company, you may receive targeted support.

As an engineer in a large company, you have to be mobile if you want to work internationally. There are basically two ways you can go up: You can be promoted in the company on the one hand, or you can switch to another employer as an engineer after a while.

In any case, it is important that you, as an engineer, make it clear that you are interested in a career. When the right time for a change and thus the next career step as an engineer is, depends on the projects to be worked on and on the employer

Current jobs as an engineer

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