• Question: What qualifications did you need to be an engineer?

    Asked by vitani18 to Andy, Bill, Grant, Kayleigh, Rain on 12 Mar 2012. This question was also asked by ryane70.
    • Photo: Andrew Hearn

      Andrew Hearn answered on 12 Mar 2012:

      I think in my case it was a bit different as I did my HND instead of a degree, as I couldn’t decide what it was that I wanted to do – be a marine biologist or work with computers and create software.

      I enjoyed my HND more than I thought I would have! So I wanted to work for a bit before deciding whether to do a degree or switch my career path to something with the open sea! I think I was very lucky that my job had all that was needed to become an incorporated engineer, which is like a masters degree more or less.

      I think if I went back in time, I would have told my younger self to go for a robotics/computer science degree or a part-time degree course after 2 or so years of working, that would have made some things a tad easier eventually. (Which probably would be hard to do as I got so totally into my job then!). A lot of my colleagues have Physics or Maths degrees, which they then easily crossed over to software.

    • Photo: Bill Price

      Bill Price answered on 12 Mar 2012:

      Hi, Typically, for Civil/Structural Engineering you need A -levels in maths and physics and then a degree. LAter after about a further 4 years you get to be a CHartered Engineer and have CEng after your name. This is usually associated with a paarticular branch of engineering. So I am BSc (my degree in Civil Engineering) CEng (Chartered) MICE (Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers).

      But there are lots of other ‘qualifications’ too, for example: Its good if you are able to communicate in diagrams or drawings or using software like sketchup. Its good if you get on with people, can work as part of a team and are able to explain things.

      Its good if you have a passion for something like buildings, construction, working outdoors, collaborating with other kinds of designers etc. So there is a lot more to it than cold academic stuff. Frequently in my experience some of the best engineers have lots of all round skills about making things happen. Is that ok?

    • Photo: Kayleigh Messer

      Kayleigh Messer answered on 19 Mar 2012:

      After GCSEs I went to 6th form college to do A-levels in Maths, Physics, Chemistry & Biology, and then onto university to do a degree in engineering. I chose to do motorsport engineering – its very similar to mechanical engineering, with an automotive/motorsport focus on the projects.

      Generally I think a-levels in maths and physics are a good idea, with an engineering degree. If you want to be more hands on and get some practical work experience whilst learning, apprenticeships are often a good idea.

    • Photo: Grant Cairnie

      Grant Cairnie answered on 19 Mar 2012:

      I started with Highers in Scotland, Maths and Physics were important but also English. I then went on to do a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering to give me a good general understanding. After that I specialised and did a Master of Science in Automotive Engineering.

      There is no fixed route, you just have to decide what is best for you. My advice would be to start with something general and then specialise more as you go on.

    • Photo: Rain Irshad

      Rain Irshad answered on 20 Mar 2012:

      I did a Physics degree rather than an Engineering one, then my masters was more engineering based. It depends a lot on what area you want to work in. I was specifically looking at the space industry, so a Physics background really helped.