There are a great number of areas to consider in the field of engineering. Those looking for a career in aeronautical engineering or automotive engineering are likely to be seeking work with challenge and innovation.
In Britain we have a distinguished history in aeronautical engineering, with around six hundred companies working in the aerospace industry. Similarly the automotive industry here provides design, development and manufacturing work for around three hundred thousand people.
Training in the UK is excellent - in fact there are over thirty British universities offering aeronautical engineering based courses alone. Plus some go on to provide postgraduate-level study as well. (Other colleges and institutions offer training in the subjects as well). University students can choose from full-time three, four or five year courses, some with a year out in industry or at an alternative overseas university or learning establishment.
Those who need the facility to work alongside their study programme may find they can do a sandwich course. Students on engineering courses can sometimes arrange sponsorship in exchange for a certain time working for the sponsor after graduating. Whatever your circumstances and ambitions, look into as many training alternatives as possible.
This area involves everything to do with the production of motorised vehicles. As well as the traditional disciplines, automotive engineers now need to incorporate electronics, safety and software engineering into their skill-sets. Things are changing all the time and modern engineers need to lead those changes, for example to produce greater efficiencies in materials and emissions.
If you take the critical path of a vehicle, you have design, development and then manufacture. The first stage involves the design or product engineers. They are the people who design and test the components and systems on a vehicle. The development engineers' co-ordinate the engineering attributes of vehicles. Developers supply designers with various specs they have to comply with. Last of all come the manufacturers, who determine how to put the vehicle together.
There are a great deal of product disciplines for the auto engineering student to take on board. Throughout your training you will learn about all three stages of the automotive engineering processes. Safety engineering is one of the most important disciplines for the automotive engineer, and students will learn how assessments are carried out with various methods and tools.
Whilst each individual system has to perform its job properly, it also has to complement the rest of the vehicle. Therefore students need to learn about systems, or development engineering. This can also involve understanding tradeoffs, a process which ensures that all the vehicle attributes are delivered at an acceptable level. The final vehicle must also meet government regulations, which are becoming increasingly environmentally relevant.
Once the designers and developers are absolutely satisfied that everything is ready, the manufacturing engineers take over. Parts have to be assembled, (usually in separate plants) and vehicles built to the exacting standards of the manufacturing engineers. Safety procedures have to be applied to every stage of manufacture - from design of equipment and layout of people, to machine and line rates and all automated tasks.
Man's desire for flight has led to momentous developments in aircraft technology. Individuals interested in aeronautical engineering must be intelligent self starters with the capacity for analytical, innovative and technical thought processes.
Only those who relish a challenge should consider a career in aeronautics. You could also choose a career in motor racing, as aircraft engineering is the basis for Formula One design.
Many severe conditions have to be endured for an aircraft to fly safely, with immense structural loads being placed upon them. An understanding of technologies such as aerodynamics, materials science, avionics and propulsion is needed, and each are very specialist subjects in their own right.
Aeronautical engineering students will be taught design principles throughout their training, and receive a thorough insight into analytical subjects. Lectures will be given on subjects such as fluid mechanics, with laboratory sessions to back them up.
Much of what you will learn is based on theoretical mathematics, but empirical testing also comes into it - admittedly largely in the form of simulations. Even so, huge structural testing machines and indeed wind tunnels are actually important teaching aids for student engineers.
Group ventures are important when learning engineering skills. Degree course students will have a practical group assignment at some stage to design their own functional vehicle. Training courses in these engineering disciplines will also introduce students to other transferable skills. Employers often expect graduate entrants to have additional soft skills when they get into industry.
Well paid, rewarding and financially attractive careers are available for qualified Automotive and Aeronautical Engineers. Graduate engineers can apply to Professional Institutions to become certified with the Engineering Council - an organisation that works to ensure the UK is well served by its engineering resources.