Creating Your Career in Science, Engineering, & Technology
Industry Specialist; Science, Engineering & Technology
The worldwide marketplace offers limitless possibilities for students majoring in the sciences, engineering, and technology disciplines. Graduates in these majors possess the skills to compete for opportunities in industries such as telecommunications, biotechnology (including biomedical and pharmaceutical), as well as environmental, health and safety, aerospace, surface and rail transportation, defense, and water and energy resources. Most technical employers need expertise for multiple divisions within their organizations. Some of the typical careers associated with majors in these areas are described below.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Civil engineers are often described as builders and problem solvers. In their basic role of applying science and technology to meet human needs, these engineers not only develop plans and designs, but also see that projects are carried out through completion.
Typical Industries -Construction, Surface and Rail Transportation, Energy and Utilities, Telecommunications, Public Administration.
Computer engineers specialize in the design, manufacturing, testing, installation, operation, and application of computers, and computer systems. They invent new and efficient ways to solve problems. They may specialize in design and development, test and evaluation, applied research, or technical representation and sales.
Typical Industries - Electronics Product Manufacturing, Telecommunications, Utilities, Air Transportation, Business Service Centers, Scientific Research and Development Services, Educational Services, Public Administration, Marketing and Distribution, and Software and Hardware Services/Systems Integration.
Electrical Engineers work with power and light systems as well as generators, converters, transformers, switches, welding equipment, electrical appliances, computers and power generation or distribution. In addition, they may design, construct, and assist in operating facilities for generating and distributing electrical power for domestic, commercial, and industrial consumption.
Typical Industries - Construction, Computer Product Manufacturing, Telecommunications, Utilities, Air Transportation, Business Service Centers, Scientific Research and Development, Education, and Public Administration.
Mechanical engineers research, develop, plan, and design ma- chines, tools, engines, and other mechanical equipment. They also oversee installation, operation, maintenance, and repair of these equipments.
Typical Industries - Construction, Petroleum Products Manufacturing, Machinery Manufacturing, Computer Product Manufacturing, Water Transportation, Scientific Research and Development, Educational Services, Technical Services, and Public Administration.
Software engineers research, design, develop, and implement computer software systems. They design applications that inter- face between software and hardware and with hardware product development to design applications. Software engineering is one of the largest and fastest growing occupations projected between 2002 and 2012.
Typical Industries - Aerospace Product Manufacturing, Computer Product Manufacturing, Intangible Assets Leasing, Technical Services, Health Care and Social Assistance, Military, Scientific Research and Development, and Telecommunications.
A degree in computer science allows access to a wide variety of growing occupations that require proficiency in developing computer programs and the ability to organize problems for computer solutions. The computer industry is one of the fastest growing segments of our economy where growth promises to continue well into the next century.
With a Computer Science degree you will have the opportunity to work in Programming, Systems Development, Network Technology, The Internet, Consulting, Education or Non-Technical areas such as Customer/Product Support, Training, Sales and Market- ing, Product Development and Project Management
Careers in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Natural Sciences and Mathematics is a gateway to a large number of occupations, many of which require very specific course- work for transfer and/or admission to professional schools. The academic challenge, independent reasoning, and critical thinking skills required for these fields provides professional opportunities in a host of industries.
Biology is the branch of science focused on the study of life. The discipline is dynamic, diverse and expanding with the integration of new molecular approaches, information technology, and concerns for the environment.
Biology majors often choose industries such as...
- Food Processing
- Agricultural and Space Research Laboratories
- Water Districts
- Park Districts
- Municipal Utility Districts (public and private)
- Research Foundations
- Health Care
- Government Agencies
Chemistry and Biochemistry provide excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers, inside and outside of the laboratory. Students who major in chemistry and biochemistry are well prepared to enter careers in commerce and industry, biotechnology, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, food and drug administration, quality control, private testing laboratories including forensics, research and development, manufacturing, marketing, management, education, and government.
Chemistry and Biochemistry majors often choose professions such as...
- Biochemical Development Engineers
- Research Scientist (R&D)
- Medical Writers
- Process Development Engineers
- Pharmaceutical Sales
- Bioinformatics Specialist
- Clinical Research Associates
- Manufacturing Engineers
- Quality Control Engineers
- Scientific Programmer Analyst
Physics is the study of everything natural and is the most fundamental of the sciences. Physicists have an exceptionally wide range of career choices in research, development, consulting, and teaching in the basic and applied areas of physics and engineering. In addition, a degree in physics is excellent preparation for careers in law (particularly patent law), business and finance.
Physics majors often choose professions such as...
- Theoretical Physicist
- Nuclear Engineer
- Experimental Physicist
- Patent Lawyer
- University Professor
- Military Officer
Geology is the study of the earth, its physical and chemical com- position and its history. Geologists spend their careers between a rock and a hard place. Geologists say it is a great place to be if your job involves studying rocks, how they were formed, and how they have changed since formation. They use their knowledge of chemistry, physics, math, and biology to analyze data and specimens. Geologists compile the knowledge they have gathered into reports to be used by other scientists and engineers.
Geology majors often choose professions such as....
- Engineering Geologist
- Geothermal Geologist
- Marine Geologist
- Mining Geologist
- Petroleum Geologist
- Space Geologist
Mathematics is among the most fascinating of all intellectual disciplines and the purest of all art forms. It is a field that combines quantitative reasoning and precision which is used for solving practical problems. Mathematicians have an opportunity to make a lasting contribution to society by helping to solve problems in fields such as medicine, economics, government, management, computer science, physics, psychology, engineering, and social science.
Mathematic majors often choose professions such as...
- Financial Analyst
- Systems Analyst
- Scientific Programmer
- Insurance Sales
- Business Programmers
TThe biotechnology industry is predicted to be one of the pivotal forces of the 21st century, and has a variety of opportunities for students in the sciences and engineering disciplines. According to the California Employment Development Department, over 32 percent of the more than 1,300 biotechnology firms in the United States are located in California and predicted to generate over 20,000 new jobs. Most of these jobs will be clustered in the San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties as well as the San Fran- cisco Bay Area. Rapid growth is predicted in the biomedical and biopharmaceutical segments. Most of this growth is expected in the areas of diagnostics and therapeutics, with research and development activity and manufacturing. These areas are particularly high compared to other sectors of biotechnology. Career opportunities exist for candidates with bachelor degrees with an emphasis in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, computer science, and engineering.
Engineering, Science, and Technical Job Search: Focusing on job functions rather than job titles
Often students in engineering, technical, and scientific disciplines associate their career possibilities with their academic major. It is easy to forget that an academic major is largely an administrative tool used by a college or university to categorize students. There is not always a clear parallel between your college degree and an occupational field. For example:
- Computer Science and Engineering majors can work as analysts in the investment and consulting industries, and apply their technical and analytical skills in capacities other than hands-on science or engineering.
- Just as the same job can be filled with individuals from a variety of academic backgrounds, individuals with the same major can qualify for many different occupations.
- Chemistry and Biology majors with persuasive skills and out- going personalities are often sought by pharmaceutical and medical device companies for sales positions which take ad- vantage of their technical training as they interact with scientifically trained decision makers.
Consider the following strategies as you plan and organize your technical job search:
- Identify the job functions you wish to perform within an organization/company or skills that you wish to use.
- Communicate this information to potential employers, regard- less of the job title.
- Recognize that job classifications are not standardized, there- fore, do not try to determine your fit among endless lists of job titles, which can be confusing and frustrating.
- Remember that job titles differ within industries and companies.
- Technical skills are necessary, but not sufficient, to compete in the job market.
- Keep in mind that your general skill set, including communication, teamwork, analytical, and critical thinking should also be highlighted on your resume and in your career conversations.
- There are endless opportunities in most industries beyond those that are laboratory or field based. Functions such as sales and operations management, particularly in "technology oriented" industries, allow you to take advantage of a technical or scientific education in a broader context.
- Clear presentation of your technical or scientific skills is critical on your resume and during the career conversation, particularly if you are seeking a position which requires a specific set of engineering, scientific or information technology skills. Do not forget projects and relevant course work that can illustrate the depth of your technical training.