Online Learning Engineering Degrees

Online Learning Engineering Degrees

In January 2009, in a story now famous the world over, Captain Chesley Sullenberger fought the geese and the geese won—forcing him to crash land his jetliner on the Hudson River. The near-tragedy led many an average citizen to ponder anew whether somehow, somewhere there might not be an engineering solution to the growing problem of bird versus plane. Is there some way to design an aircraft so that its roaring approach scares off birds?

Engineering is the exciting field in which designers combine scientific and mathematic principles to solve uniquely modern problems. Biomedical engineers tackle medical problems; computer engineers, software and hardware problems; mechanical engineers, problems with machines; and so on. Areas of specialization within the engineering field are as varied as the scientific and technological advances that have improved life over the past century. But because human health and safety relies so heavily on the skill and accuracy of the work performed by engineers, it is not a field for the faint-hearted. Civil engineers especially are held to high standards by government regulation and certification procedures.

Yet the rewards of an engineering career are as bold as its challenges. Computers, household appliances, cars, aircraft, highway and bridge systems, medical devices, and electrical equipment are only some of the many components of modern life in need of continual rethinking and upgrading. As new forms of reusable energy are explored and developed, engineers will be on the cutting edge of developing these new technologies too.

Getting an engineering degree online can be trickier, however, than getting other online degrees. That is because you will need to show future employers that you have had some hands-on experience to accompany the book learning you did to earn your degree. You will need to work part-time or seek an internship related to the specific type of engineering in which you hope to become proficient.

Be forewarned, too, that an entry-level position in the engineering field quite often requires at least a master’s degree, depending upon the specialty adopted (systems engineering, environmental engineering, industrial engineering, etc.) Research ahead of time how much education you will need for the specific type of engineering you wish to do. Obviously, the requirements will be fewer for a Web developer or a software game designer than for a semiconductor engineer or a quality control specialist. Depending on the specific field, your entry-level salary might be as low as $23,000 a year or as high as $56,000. From there, some engineers can eventually gain enough experience to earn triple-figure salaries.

Although the bigger jobs will land you the bigger pay, in the end, what can beat the feeling of knowing you have contributed something important to human progress itself? Someday you could end up like Jack Kirby, the small-town Kansas boy who grew up to perfect the technology that made possible the world’s first electronic calculator. Not only did his work for Texas Instruments make his company a household name, he won a Nobel Prize to boot.

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