Monthly Archives: July 2015

Salaries for Engineers Are on the Rise

Good news for every engineering student out there: All that time spent bent over your laboratory notebook is going to pay off better than you expected. There have been lots of news stories over the last few years about wages staying stagnant and not adjusting with inflation, but that’s not the case in the engineering field. Indeed, salaries for engineers are actually going up.

Why are engineering salaries on the rise? How high can they be expected to go? We’ll take a look at these questions – and provide some answers – below.

Why Are Engineering Salaries Rising?

There are several factors that could be contributing to engineers’ average salaries increasing, even when the economy has been less than stellar. One of the reasons is education. As a general rule, people with higher-level degrees (Masters, Doctorates, etc.) make more money than those who don’t. Since many people who work in engineering fields go on to pursue advanced degrees as part of their professional training, the average salary for engineers will rise as more people in the field obtain more advanced degrees.

Another reason that engineers are being paid more is that there is generally perceived to be a shortage of engineers in the U.S. Even as far back as 2010, there has been concern that there are too few engineering graduates coming out of U.S. universities. As such, those who do graduate college with a degree in engineering are in high demand, which has led to an increase even in the salaries for entry level positions in engineering fields.

How Much Can Engineers Expect to Make?

Salaries vary between different engineering fields, but according to recent labor statistics, all engineering fields can expect to be well paid. According to said data, the mean annual salary for the different engineering fields is as follows:

  • Biomedical Engineering – $91,760
  • Civil Engineering – $87,130
  • Computer Engineering (Hardware) – $110,650
  • Computer Engineering (Software) – $106,050
  • Chemical Engineering – $103,590
  • Electrical Engineering – $95,780
  • Environmental Engineering – $86,340
  • Geological Engineering – $100,970
  • Materials Science and Engineering – $ 91,150
  • Mechanical Engineering – $87,140

For some perspective on how the annual income for engineers has grown over the last few years: According to a 2012 survey, the average annual income for engineers across all fields was $103,497. The year before, that number was $99,738. Between 2011 and 2012, the average annual wage for engineers (including commissions and fees) jumped 4%.

According to that same survey, wages for engineers also varied across geographical region:

  • Pacific Southwest – $104,061
  • South Central States – $101,000
  • Mid-Atlantic States – $95,000
  • Central Plains States – $88,00
  • Great Lakes States – $86,067
  • Upper Mountain States – $80,878

Will engineering wages continue to rise? While it’s impossible to predict the future with 100% accuracy, the simple fact is that there’s no reason to think this trend will reverse itself. Engineers will always be in demand, and, if even an economic downturn the likes of the 2008 crash couldn’t make a significant dent in average income across the industry, the chances that engineering students can’t look forward to earning an impressive salary right out of college are very, very small.

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5 Greatest Engineers of All Time

Like all scientific disciplines, modern engineering is built on a foundation laid by geniuses of past eras. While there are many engineers throughout history that made important contributions to the field, these five stand above the rest for making discoveries that changed the way we understand the world, and how engineers do their work to this day.

Archimedes of Syracuse

Any list of the greatest engineers throughout history has to contend with Archimedes, easily the most influential engineer in the ancient Western world. Archimedes not only formulated the principles of fluid displacement and invented the compound pulley (two of the most important discoveries in science to this day), but also invented early versions of the laser and the water pump, and constructed a working siege engine hundreds of years ahead of its time. Oh, and he also calculated the value of pi.

Alan Turing

The world of the 21st century runs on computers, and the computer as we know it almost certainly wouldn’t exist without the work of Alan Turing, a genius computer engineer whose contributions were downplayed during his lifetime thanks to a public scandal involving his homosexuality. Turing developed the binary architecture used by computers to this day, cracked the Enigma code that the Nazis used to encrypt their messages during World War II, and made numerous other contributions to software development and the theory of computers. To this day, his “Turing Test” is still the theoretical standard used to judge whether or not a calculating machine can legitimately be called an “artificial intelligence.”

Nikola Tesla

Tesla has undergone a massive resurgence in popularity over the last decade, to the point that he is more famous and beloved now than he ever was during his lifetime. But the fact that Tesla was largely ignored while he was alive doesn’t minimize the value of his contributions to electrical engineering, which include the development of Alternating Current, the invention of fluorescent lighting, the induction motor, and, of course, the Tesla Coil.

James Watt

James Watt’s improvements to the technology of steam engine were so great, he is often attributed with its creation. While Watt did not actually invent the steam engine, his improvements to steam power generation made the Industrial Revolution possible, and were put to use in industries as varied as coal mining, textiles, and transportation. In addition to his improvements to the steam engine, Watt also developed the practice of measuring power output in “horsepower.” For his contributions to engineering, a “Watt” is now the name given to a unit of power.

Leonardo da Vinci

It’s not often that a person makes their mark as one of the most important artists of all time AND one of the greatest engineers of all time, but Leonardo da Vinci was nothing if not extraordinary. Da Vinci’s thinking was so far ahead of its time that many of his inventions seemed like wild flights of fancy when they were created, only to become the basis for important creations and discoveries in the centuries to follow. Leonardo is credited with helping invent the submarine, the hang glider, modern bridges, transmissions, and the parachute, among many other things.

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Greatest engineers

Top 5 Most Influential Scientists

The history of science is full of people who made lasting contributions to the field of human knowledge during their lifetimes. But some scientists’ accomplishments stand above the rest. In a field where we all stand on the shoulders of giants, here are the five tallest giants of them all.


Wait, Aristotle? The old dead Greek guy? The guy who wrote about what makes plays good? It’s true that Aristotle is most famous in popular culture for being a philosopher and commentator on the arts (as well as being a student of Plato and the teacher of Alexander the Great), but his work covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from metaphysics, to art, to the sciences. And when it came to the sciences, Aristotle’s ideas and methods were well ahead of his contemporaries, so much so that they formed the basis of scientific study and knowledge in the West for centuries after his death. Many of his ideas are dated now, but their influence on the history of scientific research is too big to ignore.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a pioneer of science in more ways than one. The winner of two Nobel prizes (for Physics and Chemistry, in 1903 and 1911, respectively), Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel, the only woman to have won the award in multiple fields, and to this day is the only person to have won in multiple science categories. Curie’s field of expertise was radiation, and she was responsible for discovering the way to capture radioactive isotopes, and for the identification of the elements radium and polonium. She also pioneered the practice of radiology, and used mobile radiography centers to treat French soldiers during World War 1.

Charles Darwin

English naturalist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution provided an explanation for the origin of humanity and the development of natural life that still provides the basis of natural sciences, biology, and zoology to this day. His postulation that all life descended from common ancestors and then developed through natural selection was a groundbreaking revelation during its day, and today is the foundation for a significant portion of scientific research being conducted in the natural sciences.

Albert Einstein

The man whose surname is now a synonym for “genius” was always going to find a place on this list. Einstein’s theories of relativity transformed our understanding of the universe and how the elements that make it up, from matter to energy to the forces that act upon them, work. To this day, his E=mc2 is still the most famous equation in the world.

Isaac Newton

Newton is one of the most famous scientists ever to have existed, and yet many people still don’t know the full range of his contributions to human knowledge. Newton’s laws of motion are still one of the absolute pillars of scientific study, and his research into gravity alone justifies continued respect. But his work doesn’t stop there. Newton’s other contributions to science include but are not limited to: confirming the heliocentric model of the solar system, formulating an empirical law of cooling, studying the speed of sound, and contributing multiple equations and theories to the field of mathematics.

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How Engineering Can Attract More Women

Science, engineering, and other STEM disciplines have come a long way in the last few decades when it comes to accepting women. For much of the last century, the sciences were considered to be the domain of men by the world at large. More than a few brave, determined women managed to penetrate the ranks of the boys’ club and become successful scientists and engineers, but they were still often treated with derision and suspicion by their male colleagues. In regards to gender parity, things are much better now – math and science classes are generally split evenly between the sexes, and the few people left who have a problem with that are considered relics and cranks that aren’t to be taken seriously.

But, just because things are better now than they used to be doesn’t mean that there isn’t still room for improvement. A recent study of 400 engineering and IT companies by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) found that women only made up 6% of the engineering workforce across all sectors (for IT engineering, the number was a measly 3%). What’s worse, the percentage of professional engineers who are women was the same in 2008 as it was in 2014, and 43% of employers have said that they are not taking any steps to improve the gender balance at their companies.

So, what can engineering do to fix its diversity problem? Aside from companies taking steps to recruit and hire more female candidates, there are several things that engineering can do to encourage young women to enter the field:

  1. Connect female engineering students with female pros – Young people who are studying to enter a certain field need positive reinforcements and examples of what it is that they are working toward. Engineers and other literal minded people in particular need to see actual results and case studies, not just platitudes and vague examples. Engineering companies can inspire the next generation of female engineers to enter the industry (and come looking for work at their company) by arranging for their female staff members to meet engineering students who are curious about the industry and whether or not there’s a place for them there.
  2. Offer incentives that attract women – In the past, it was standard practice for a woman who wanted a professional career to put their work ahead of their desire for a family and children. But today’s educated women tend not to see the need to choose one over the other, and will often simply leave industries that they feel punish them for wanting to have both a career and a family. Engineering firms can attract more female candidates by offering benefits and incentives that appeal to female workers, such as maternity leave and flexible hours for parents.
  3. Make engineering seem exciting – If you want to attract the best talent to your industry, then you need to do outreach. Young people have lots of choices when it comes to education, and many potentially talented future engineers may have entirely overlooked choosing a STEM field because they think it sounds boring. Companies and organizations looking to promote female participation in engineering need to find ways to present the field as vital and exciting, rather than stuffy and boring. Outreach efforts like the F1 Project – in which students build their own Formula 1 Racer – are a good example of these kinds of programs.

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