Aerospace engineering was ushered in with the Wright brothers’ first successful flight in 1903 and with the Soviet Union’s launch of the Sputnik I. Aerospace engineering involves developing, designing, testing, and production of aircrafts, spacecrafts, and missiles. Aerospace engineers have specialties in aerodynamics, propulsion, thermodynamics, structures, celestial mechanics, acoustics, and control systems.
Agricultural engineers help farmers to produce food and fiber. They are involved in every aspect of food production, processing, marketing, and distribution. Agricultural engineers design and develop agricultural and food processing equipment, irrigation systems, grain storage facilities, feed mills, and farm structures.
Architectural engineers combine the architect’s knowledge of aesthetics and functionality with the engineer’s knowledge of structures, mechanical systems, and materials. An architectural engineer may choose to specialize in: (1) foundations, (2) super structures, and/ or (3) interior systems (e.g. acoustics, pedestrian traffic, and HVAC).
Biomedical engineering applies engineering principles to biology and medical field to improve health care and the lives of those with medical issues. Biomedical engineers combine knowledge from many engineering disciplines and technical fields to design medical instruments, devices, and software; to develop new procedures; to conduct research; and to solve clinical problems.
Chemical engineers apply principles of chemistry and physics to the large-scale design and production of materials that undergo chemical changes during their manufacture. Chemical engineers also participate in efforts to clean and maintain the environment. They also seek substitutes for or find ways to preserve our natural resources. Chemical engineering is similar to electrical engineering in the sense they assemble complex systems (circuits) from unit operations (components). A few chemical engineering specialties include: (1) petrochemical, (2) pharmaceutical, (3) fine chemical (e.g. dyes, flavors, fragrances), (3) food, (4) safety, (5) environmental, and (6) design.
Civil engineers are involved with the designing and building of large-scale projects such as bridges, roads and highways, dams, high-rise buildings, airports, water treatment centers, industrial manufacturing and processing facilities, and sanitation plants. A civil engineer must consider weigh many factors when making decisions. These factors include construction costs, schedules, human safety, laws, government regulations, and environmental impact. Seven specialties of civil engineering are: (1) construction engineering, (2) environmental engineering, (3) geotechnical engineering, (4) structural engineering, (5) surveying, (6) transportation engineering, and (7) water resources engineering.
Computer engineering is the design and prototyping of computing devices and systems. Computer engineering concentrates efforts on ways in which computing ideas can be realized into working physical systems. Computer engineering’s foundation rests in the basic physical sciences and mathematics. Computer engineers can specialize in: (1) networks, (2) multimedia computing, (3) very large scale integrated circuits, and (4) reliable computing and architecture.
Computer Science is the systematic study of algorithmic methods for representing and transforming information. This includes their theory, design, implementation, application, and efficiency. Computer science is rooted in mathematics and engineering. Mathematics provides means of analysis to the field and engineering provides a means for design. Computer scientists can specialize in: (1) algorithms, (2) computation, (3) software systems, (4) architecture, and/or (5) artificial intelligence.
Construction engineers are involved with the planning and management of construction of structures such as highways, bridges, airports, railroads, buildings, dams, and reservoirs. Construction of such projects requires knowledge of engineering, business management, economics, and human behavior. The construction engineer is involved in the design of temporary structures, surveying, onsite material testing, concrete mixing, cost estimating, planning and scheduling, safety engineering, materials attainment, selection of equipment, and budgeting.
Electrical engineering first came about shortly after scientist started to understand the properties of electricity. Early electrical engineers were involved with the design and construction of power transmission grids and telegraph lines. Later they turned an eye toward telephones and radios. During the later half of the 20th century, computers and electronic devices became common place, and the electronics engineer emerged. Electronic devices are either analog are digital. Digital devices have better clarity, thus many electrical engineers specialize in digital circuitry. Several specialties of electrical engineering are: (1) power generation and transmission, (2) motors, (3) electronics, (4) computers, (5) communication systems, (6) instrumentation and measurement, and (7) automatic controls.
Industrial engineers are concerned with the effective use of people, processes, technology, materials, information, and energy to make or process a product. They are concerned with eliminating waste (e.g. time, money, materials, people, and energy). Some areas of specialty are: (1) methods, (2) plant layout, (3) cost, (4) quality control, (5) human factors, and (6) operations research.
Material engineers are concerned with the acquisition and creation of materials for society’s use. Material engineers may specialize in: (1) geological engineering, (2) mining, (3) petroleum, (4) ceramics, (5) plastics, and (6) material sciences.
Mechanical engineering applies the principles of mechanics and energy to the design of machines and devices. It is perhaps the broadest of all engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers are concerned with: (1) the design and development of machinery, (2) the analysis of mechanical systems including the study of vibrations on structures, (3) the design and development of manufacturing systems, as well as energy conversion systems, and (4) the design of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. These four fields can be further broken down into the study of: (1) solid mechanics, (2) fluid mechanics, (3) thermodynamics, and (4) mechanical design.
Metallurgical engineering involves the study of the properties of metals,
how to design metal parts, and solving problems concerning manufacturing.
Metallurgical engineers test different metals to find out how well they
stand up to stress, environmental changes, and other conditions.