The 10 hottest jobs in engineering

1 Mar 2016

It’s Engineers Week! To kickstart the nationwide celebrations, which began on Sunday (28 February) and will run until next Saturday (5 March), Aisling Fogarty of Hays takes a look at the 10 hottest jobs in engineering.

A career as an engineer can offer incredible variety, even in the choice between different disciplines. Engineers are needed in everything from software to building services and, as such, an interest in engineering can lead you down any number of paths.

The choices are almost endless, but here are the 10 top jobs in engineering:

1. Software engineer

A software engineer is responsible for the life of a product: its research, design, implementation, delivery and support. Whether applications or systems, the hands that make products like payment systems and scientific calculations are the hands of software engineers.

This job requires you to have very strong interpersonal skills so you can easily communicate technical requirements to your colleagues across various teams. You might not be working across the full software development life-cycle all the time, but you will need to thoroughly understand each part and its importance in order to make sure all aspects of a new product go according to plan.

2. Security engineer

Imagine if the internet had its own security team. That’s not far off the responsibilities of a security engineer.

Some of the most important work within IT is based around security. With hackers growing in number every day, ensuring that server architecture is maintained is of the utmost importance to every company. Security engineers are responsible for the implementation, maintenance and integration of corporate WAN, LAN and server architecture, as well as implementing hardware and software to ensure the highest level of network security.

3. Test engineer

Before any product can be released, it needs to be tested. A test engineer thoroughly tests every component of a product to make sure there are no bugs and that everything works as it is meant to.

There are many areas of testing, although the same principle for the data remains throughout – collect, test, analyse, repeat. You will also design test plans and scripts, automate where required, and ensure that you are able to translate findings to other teams involved in a project.

Testing is a key area to every company, as no product can be released without the knowledge it is bug-free.

4. DevOps engineer

While there is no defined career path for a DevOps engineer, it’s a very unique and important addition to any company. Usually filled by developers who get interested in deployment, or system administrators who get into scripting, DevOps roles require a combination of skills, like a fork in the road coming together.

DevOps Engineers possess not only knowledge, but hands-on experience of working in high-pressure environments with a variety of team members, and so are sought-after gems for every company.

5. Network engineer

Network engineers are responsible for implementing, maintaining, supporting, developing and sometimes designing communication networks within an organisation. They ensure the integrity of network infrastructure to provide maximum user performance.

Depending on the size of the company, network engineers’ responsibilities can vary. In large companies, they might be responsible for one part of a system, but in smaller companies they can be responsible for any and all issues that arise.

Even though the work can sometimes be stressful, companies are so dependent on their network engineers that it is a very rewarding career path.

6. Site engineer

Site engineers can graduate from a variety of university degrees, including civil engineering, construction management, structural engineering, and more.

A site engineer is an integral part of the site management team. They are responsible for setting out the site, liaising with the design team, updating as-built drawings, ordering materials, managing small crews of workers, etc.

A role as site engineer is often the first step in a project management career within the construction industry.

7. Structural engineer

Structural engineers design large structures, such as buildings, bridges, tunnels, etc.  They ensure that a structure is stable, safe and durable.

The majority of structural engineers work primarily in design consultancies. They are responsible for the design, construction management and certifying of columns, beams, floors, basements, etc, in buildings. They can also work on large structures like bridges.

8. Building services engineer

Building services engineers have a wide variety of roles and can generally get jobs within three areas.

Design engineers are responsible for the design of the mechanical and electrical services of a building. Building services engineers within mechanical and electrical contractor companies will be responsible for ensuring the installation of services is in alignment with the spec. Main contractors will also hire building services engineers to supervise the M&E contractors on site.

9. Quality engineer

Improving the standard of the process is a quality engineer’s priority. They work in various manufacturing, food processing, agricultural or computer science industries.

A quality engineer usually performs many of the following tasks: handling customer quality issues, reviewing operating procedures, doing training and development exercises, informing employees about yield performance, supplying targets for yield improvements, coordinating department activities, reporting on quality measurement indices, and supporting software quality engineers.

They must be able to comply with different regulation standards, hence they have to study and be conversant on the ISO 9001, ISO 13485 and other quality standards. These engineers need to incorporate their networking skills to coordinate with other quality professionals, engineers and suppliers. Their role within these highly-regulated industries is vital, as breaches in quality are detrimental to any manufacturing.

10. Research and development engineer

The research and development department within any company is absolutely paramount to company growth and development, as it ensures consistent innovation and continually challenges an ever-growing market.

Typically, R&D engineers are hired in highly-regulated industries, and they work closely with internal teams to develop new products and processes. This ensures that the company is best using resources to produce the optimal product.

The role of an R&D engineer will vary depending on company size and product demand. In larger companies, engineers may specialise in research, working closely with physicians and studying clinical trials and case studies.

Alternatively, if an R&D engineer is working more within the area of development, they assist with design, process improvements and testing.

In some environments, the R&D engineer will be expected to be involved equally in both areas, and they must have strong adaptability, communication and organisation skills in order to succeed in this type of role.

Aisling Fogarty is a recruitment consultant at Hays IT. She specialises in permanent and contract recruitment in the software development market across Ireland.

Looking for tech jobs in Ireland? Check out our Featured Employers section for information on companies hiring right now.

Main image via Shutterstock

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