What to do after engineering | Best career options for students
Last Updated on April 9, 2021 by iSchoolConnect
Instead of telling you what you already know – that you’re considering different career paths while wondering what to do after engineering – I am going to tell you a story about Anna.
Anna was an engineering student in her first year. Ever since she finished high school, she’d wanted to become an Astronomer. She had gotten into the second-best science college in her country and was on her way to becoming a grand physicist. But, wait, what does this have to do with you? Well, Anna, like most of us, succumbed to peer pressure and pursued her bachelor’s in engineering, instead. And now that the fun-filled years of college have almost passed, she is wondering ‘What to do after engineering?’ And just like you, she is about to find out.
Join a startup
During the third year of her engineering, Anna had found an internship at a technology company that manufactured satellites.
Although she couldn’t be a physicist anymore, she still wanted to do something related to Space and Astronomy. And she ended up loving her job as an intern at this company.
Since her role wasn’t clearly defined (which is how it works in most startups), she had to juggle between a hoard of responsibilities.
One day, she would be writing code, the next, talking to a client and making notes, and the next, testing and debugging what she had developed.
Seeing how well she was at her job, the seniors at the startup offered her the job she had always wanted – Site Engineer!
Moral of the story: I know some of you might think that working at a startup is tedious. And that’s true – working at a startup is not for everyone. You have to be competent at a lot of things and remain flexible. But on the flip side, you get to work with professionals across all fields! Your learning curve will be super steep, which is great for your career growth.
And that takes us to the next option-
Get a government job
Even though Anna doesn’t have an affinity for government jobs, her friend Sam does. He’s a brilliant guy, too!
Sam has been studying for the highly competitive exams you have to give while applying to work in the government.
It’s been almost 4 years since they graduated. And even though he was able to score really well during his last attempt, he could not get through the interview round. He’s going to try again next year.
Anna admires his tenacity, though. Because she believes that, once he gets in, he is going to make a dent in the way their country currently functions.
All the hard work he is putting in right now is going to be worth it. Because a job in the government does not come without its challenges.
Moral of the story: Getting a government job can be tough – the preparation is rigorous, lengthy, and time-consuming. However, the job would take you places, give you lifetime security, and allow you to make tangible changes in the society.
Find an internship
It happens more often than you’d think – a student not being sure about what to do after engineering. Consequently, one of the most common choices these students make is to experiment. Just like Viktor.
Don’t get him wrong, he did learn a lot while pursuing engineering, but he has a lot of interests and isn’t sure what would fit him the best.
He has chosen to get a feel of what it’s like to be in Sales.
You might find it boring, but he liked doing this for his college’s committee. He would pitch events to sponsors and get them to fund the event. And he got pretty good at it, too!
In no time, he asked Anna to help him score an interview for a sales job.
He worked there for 6 months, realized that he loved doing this, and converted his internship into a full-time well-paying job!
Moral of the story: Sometimes, both companies and graduates try to gauge if they are a good fit for each other, and the industry. Internships are a great way to explore this. But as you hunt for one, keep in mind that an internship will not pay you as much as a job. But it will definitely put you in touch with industry experts and give you the opportunity to convert your opportunity into a job!
Start your own company
Anna had a senior in college – Vikram – whom she still looks up to as her mentor. Vikram is a brilliant guy, and he was sure, even in college, that he wouldn’t be able to work 9 to 5 for someone else his entire life.
So he did multiple projects and internships on web development while they were in college.
He used his experience to build a stunning portfolio and landed a job at a fast-paced startup right after graduating in Computer Science.
While working there, he picked up a bunch of skills from his seniors and colleagues and perfected his coding.
Now, he has his own web development company, a few employees, and a job that he loves doing all day (and sometimes at night)!
But he is content knowing that what he’s building, is for himself.
Moral of the story: Starting your own business might not be as easy it seems to be. You have to have a mentor to guide you, connections that will help you establish yourself in the industry, a stunning portfolio, and a little bit of luck to make it in the world.
Do an MS
Majority of Anna’s friends were preparing for the GRE and TOEFL during their third year of college, aspiring to do their masters abroad.
While some choose to pursue a Masters in Computer Science in the US, others decided they would study Data Science, Financial Computing, Cybersecurity, etc.
Anna wanted to do it, too. She would dream of going abroad and learning from the best minds in the world.
She wanted to conduct research on high-end machines, interact with students from different countries, and enjoy the freedom of living alone.
But she knew she needed some background knowledge of the field she wanted to pursue. So she joined a 10-month course in Astronomy and studied about Space while working her job.
After that, she got in touch with a counselor, gave the standard exams, and applied and got into a top university for her subject!
She flies to Canada this fall.
Moral of the story: A lot of us tend to hold ourselves back when it comes to studying abroad, mostly because of monetary issues. But as long as you have a good profile and enough experience, you can build your way to going abroad.
Pursue an MBA
Most of Anna’s friends knew that countries abroad had better opportunities for students planning to pursue their MS.
But what most of them didn’t know, was that this was also true for those who wanted to do an MBA.
Universities all over the world, including the ones in US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc., are known for their MBA courses. Not only do they connect students with the right people in their industries but they also give them the hands-on experience they need to make it as a business administrator.
Look at Anna’s friend Patricia, for example! She pursued her Master’s in Supply Chain Management from the University of Texas and got an internship at a company that makes eco-friendly products!
Now, she has a full-time job at the company, where she does not sit on her desk 9 to 5, gets to travel, while also saving the environment!
How cool is that?
Moral of the story: There are many benefits of pursuing an MBA abroad – the experience requirements don’t affect your scores if you have worked for a long period of time, you get opportunities to work with your dream company, and learn from the experts.
The most obvious option for students who graduate from engineering colleges is to go for campus placements.
It’s what most of Anna’s friends did. They prepared for aptitude tests, sat for the testing rounds at campus placements, got through a series of interviews, and landed a job right out of college.
But this is not where it ended for them.
So, what should I do?
I’m sure you would’ve understood by now that there’s no right path.
Anna did an internship, then a course, and then pursued her MS abroad.
Viktor got a job, started his own company, and is now flying to the US because he got married to an American woman.
Patricia is working at a startup after her degree in supply chain management.
And you? You have to decide which one of these scenarios sounds perfect to you.
But as you do that, keep one thing in mind – you have 3-4 years of your life where you can experiment. So, don’t worry about earning more money than your friends, that will happen by itself.
Just find what you love to do and make sure you’re good at doing it.