The word ‘engineer’ dates back to 1325, referencing a “constructor of engines”, which then referred to the mechanical apparatus built for and used in war. Before that, the existence of stone tools as far back as 22.5 million years ago could be considered antecedents, or even examples of the earliest engineers.
From levers, wheels and pulleys, innovations grew more sophisticated, requiring the technicalities of civil engineering. The results of this can be evidenced in humanity’s earliest shelters, buildings and bridges.
Things have expanded leaps and bounds since then. Engineers have been at the forefront of each industrial age, from the steam engine, to the mass production line, to the rise of digital technology.
What history shows us is that engineers – individuals who can creatively apply science, maths and empirical evidence to create, operate and maintain machines, systems and materials – are key players in humanity’s development.
From construction to science to business – these innovators find themselves indispensable to companies and organisations. And as we head into a world defined by big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, 3D printing, and virtual reality, a new era of economic, social and political history is on the horizon.
More opportunities for engineers will emerge in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Research by the World Economic Forum found that engineering specialists in materials, biochemicals, nanotech and robotics will become critically important to the industries by 2020.
Global urbanisation will see a world inhabited by twice the number of people alive today (seven billion) by 2070, according to the UN World Urbanisation Prospects Report 2011. Combined with climate change, this will create demand for human talent that can balance both increased use of energy and water supply with environmental impact.
All this demonstrates how engineering skills are crucial in a wide variety of fields. Whether it’s in traditional engineering industries like construction and electronics to new frontiers in information technology and the digital economy, engineers have played and will continue to play a central role in the progress of mankind.
Start your journey towards a future with abundant opportunities at these four leading engineering schools…
Teaching and research at the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at Bangor University spans an extensive range of science subjects.
Three separate schools make up this specialist college: School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, School of Natural Sciences and the School of Ocean Sciences. Degrees range from the traditional Computer Information Systems Bsc and Electronic Engineering BSc to the more unique, like Music and Electronic Engineering BA or Creative Technologies BSc (Hons).
Same goes for postgraduates. The College not only offers MSc and MRes in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, but also joint MScRes in Relational Design and PhDs in Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Agents, Image Processing for Mobile Devices and Laser Micromachining and Laboratory-on-a-Chip.
Qualifications at this college are diverse and varied, but all adhere to a high standard of academic quality. Many degrees are accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the British Computer Society.
A qualification from Bangor opens doors to an illustrious and expansive career. Graduates have gone into roles ranging from senior design engineer at transnational consumer goods giant Unilever, to geotechnical engineer for the London’s Thames Tideway Tunnel project, and even to pioneers in using radiofrequency signals to separate cancer cells from healthy cells.
The Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) at Johns Hopkins University recently welcomed two new additions to its campus: the FastForward R. House (a trendy innovation hub providing 9,000 square feet of office, meeting, and lab space for faculty entrepreneurs), and FastForward (a 10,000-square-foot student innovation hub).
These new facilities underscore the school’s pioneering approach in educating the next generation of engineering leaders. In terms of teaching, WSE encourages students to think creatively while drawing upon mathematics and scientific principles to tackle difficult, real-world problems. Nineteen full-time degree programmes are offered in nine academic departments, from Biomedical Engineering to Environmental Health and Engineering.
Recognising the value of multi-disciplinary study, the university now also offers a dual degree programme that allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering and an MBA degree in five-years.
All these form a comprehensive foundation on which WSE students can build their career. Graduates are in high demand in top paying fields like consulting, application development, finance and healthcare.
Brian Ejsmont, a WSE alum is now working at software development company Applications Online, for which all employees are Johns Hopkins graduates. He understands why WSE graduates will be indispensable in the industry and beyond: “We know that they know what they’re doing, they’re hard workers and they’re very teachable.”
Founded in 1947, the University of Miami’s College of Engineering (CoE) is located in the McArthur Engineering Building.
Its pristine Coral Gables campus offers a sizable number of graduate programmes, including Master’s in Architectural, Biomedical, Civil, Construction Management, Electrical and Computer, Cybersecurity, Industrial Mechanical and Ocean engineering; and PhD programmes in Biomedical, Medical Physics, Civil, Electrical and Computer, Industrial and Mechanical engineering and beyond.
At the CoE, teaching and research heavily rely on cross-disciplinary effort. The college’s research collaborates extensively with units across UM, which is also known as a Research R1 (highest research activity) university. Here, focus is placed on six pressing issues of the 21st century: healthcare engineering, data analytics, cybersecurity, supply chains, logistics, sustainable and smart systems.
With respect to innovation, the CoE has launched new collaborations with industry, including the new UM College of Engineering – Johnson & Johnson 3D Printing Center of Excellence Collaborative Laboratory (Collaborative Laboratory), which grants students and faculty access to state-of-the art prototyping and manufacturing equipment.
This combination of ample specialisations and cross-disciplinary focus ensures CoE students become engineers who can meet the unprecedented changes the future is set to bring.
The Faculty of Computing and Electrical Engineering atTampere University of Technology (TUT) has built its syllabus around the future of digital. Courses here cover everything from communications technology to software engineering, signal processing in intelligent machines to new majors in robotics and AI.
The only purely technology-oriented faculty at TUT, it has the second largest number of students and staff. Two Master’s degree programmes are conducted in English: Automation Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. After completing these programmes, TUT graduates are qualified to pursue a wide range of career opportunities in different fields of automation or continue studying towards a doctorate.
Manu Bose Ambat, graduate of the MSc in Machine Automation says highly-focused lab courses supplement theories learned in class. The curriculum also focuses on personal development and advanced industrial applications.
“TUT gives more importance to student creativity and promotes innovative thinking,” Manu says.
Studying here also means access to the TUT Doctoral School of Industry Innovation, which fuses three core elements; the first is its high-standard academic research, the second is its passion for innovation and impressive people skills, the third is its drive to tackle contemporary business challenges in today’s ever changing industries.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International