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Which engineering branch is best for your future?

Updated on: Jun 13, 2024
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Which engineering branch is best for your future?
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Engineering is a popular field, with plenty of opportunities and career paths for professionals. While there are several in-demand engineering roles and branches, choosing one can feel a bit daunting.

In this article, we answer which engineering branch is best for your future to simplify your decision-making process.

We’ll also discuss eligibility criteria, top institutions to study engineering, required skills, and some frequently asked questions.

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  • Engineering is a diverse field comprising various branches, each specialising in different aspects of technology and innovation.
  • The work of engineering professionals shapes our modern world, impacting nearly every aspect of everyday life. This includes communication, transportation, career and health. As a result, engineering tends to provide significantly more career options than many other related fields.

A significant proportion of those working in engineering occupations do so outside of engineering industries, which suggests that engineering skills are widely required and used beyond the sector itself. - Engineering UK’s 2018 report

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Best engineering branches for the future

If you are wondering which engineering branch is best for your future, the following are the options to consider:

  1. Artificial intelligence and machine learning engineering
  2. Petroleum engineering
  3. Biomedical engineering
  4. Civil engineering
  5. Chemical engineering
  6. Mechanical engineering
  7. Aerospace engineering
  8. Computer science engineering
  9. Agricultural engineering
  10. Alternative energy engineering
  11. Telecommunications engineering

Artificial intelligence and machine learning engineering

This is an emerging branch of engineering that has gained popularity over the past few years. Professionals in this branch work with algorithms and data to build machines that can reason like humans. They equip these machines with capabilities like understanding different languages and recognising human voices.

Their job typically involves extensively researching and designing AI systems that can run without human input. AI and machine learning offer some of the highest-paid roles, with an attractive pay, according to Indeed.

→ Explore Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning Courses

Petroleum engineering

You probably think of petrol fuel when you hear petroleum engineering. And you’re not wrong, except that these professionals deal with the raw material rather than the finished product.

They work on designing and implementing strategies that make the process of extracting oil and gas from underground more efficient, cost-effective, and profitable.

Their work involves working on alternative drilling methods, building and recommending innovative designs for drilling equipment and implementing approved drilling plans.

→ Explore Petroleum Engineering Courses

Biomedical engineering

This branch of engineering is as complex as it sounds. It’s using technology to create innovative solutions, machines or processes used in the health sector.

Professionals in biomedical engineering typically have a background in biological sciences and medicine. They also help manage medical equipment in hospitals to ensure that they adhere to the relevant standards.

A biomedical engineer’s everyday duties can include inspection of equipment, routine testing and preventive maintenance.

Explore Biomedical Engineering Courses

Civil engineering

If you like designing and building things, then civil engineering might be the right fit for you.

The job of civil engineers is to design, build and maintain different infrastructures. These include buildings, water systems, roads, bridges and power plants. You need a strong background in subjects like material science, mathematics, physics and geotechnics to work in this field.

As a civil engineer, you can choose from various sub-specialisations, including environmental engineering, hydraulics engineering, and many more.

Explore Civil Engineering Courses

Chemical engineering

Chemical engineers deal with the chemical and biological processes behind the production of everyday items that we see and use. These include food, medicine and fuel.

They help to develop the process that converts the raw materials into those valuable products. 

Their everyday duties can involve conducting research on these raw materials, developing and recommending efficient processes for manufacturing and testing the processes.

Chemical engineering is a wide branch with several courses you can choose from, and you can focus on areas like plant design, process engineering or chemical reaction engineering.

→ Explore Chemical Engineering Courses

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Mechanical engineering

Mechanical engineering deals with machines and mechanical systems. This is a fairly traditional and well-known branch of engineering, but it’s still required in new and emerging fields, including artificial intelligence and sustainable energy.

Mechanical engineers help to design, build and maintain machines and mechanical devices. 

They can help build new and innovative mechanical systems in numerous fields, from transportation and manufacturing to robotics and nanotechnology.

→ Explore Mechanical Engineering Courses

Aerospace engineering

Aerospace engineering is just what it seems: the development of aircraft - and spacecraft. The role of aerospace engineers is a little more complex; they research, design, develop, test, repair and maintain commercial and non-commercial aircraft.

Astronautical engineers specialise in studying the conditions of space and developing spacecraft. If you’re interested in the mechanics of aircraft and the history and inner workings of flight travel, you can consider a career in aerospace engineering.

As an aerospace engineer, you can also choose to specialise in areas such as aerodynamics, propulsion, avionics or composites analysis.

Explore Aerospace Engineering Courses

We’ve developed all manner of engineering wonders, including steam power, aeronautics, and iconic designs, like the world’s fastest car: the supersonic Thrust. - British Council.

Computer science engineering

Computer science engineers design, develop, maintain, test and repair computer hardware and software.

This branch is a hybrid between electrical engineering and computer science. This means they can work on designing or upgrading computer parts like circuit boards, processors and memory devices.

They typically have a background in software development and programming, so they may perform tasks like installing or updating an operating system or preventing a cybersecurity attack. Computer science engineers need a strong background in science, mathematics, and, of course, computers.

→ Explore Computer Sciences Engineering Courses

Agricultural engineering

Just like the job title implies, agricultural engineers work with machinery, systems and processes related to farming and agriculture.

They design machinery and equipment used for different agricultural processes, such as planting and harvesting. They also test these equipment to ensure they can perform their functions.

Agricultural engineers may work with other engineers and professionals to design food processing plants, streamline manufacturing processes and construct electrical power distribution systems for buildings used for agricultural purposes. For example, storage facilities for crops or housing for animals.

→ Explore Agricultural Engineering Courses

Alternative energy engineering

There has been a higher demand for alternative energy sources in recent years because of climate change and the pressure that the major energy sources put on the environment.

Alternative energy engineers are the professionals concerned with energy generation from more sustainable sources. These include solar energy, biofuel and wind power.

Working as an alternative energy engineer involves helping to find cleaner and more innovative ways to generate energy without harming the environment.

These professionals are often involved in the development of new processes to improve current methods. They also handle the conversion and supply of the sustainable power generated from these alternative sources.

Telecommunications engineering

Telecommunications engineers handle several technical aspects of exchanging information through different channels as we know it. They design, build and maintain voice communication systems.

This involves working with components like satellites, fibre optics and data. They work across sectors like mobile communication, TV and radio broadcasting and optical networking.

→ Explore Telecommunications Engineering Courses

Top universities to study engineering

Here, we give you the top engineering institutions in the most preferred study destinations for international students.

Top engineering colleges in the UK

UniversitiesQS World University Rankings 2024
University of Cambridge02
University of Oxford03
Imperial College London06
University College London (UCL)09
University of Manchester32
University of Leeds75
University of Southampton81
University of Nottingham100
University of Liverpool176
Brunel University343

Data updated as of March 2024

Also read: International student life in the UK

Top engineering colleges in the US

UniversitiesQS World University Rankings 2024
Massachusetts Institute of Technology01
Harvard University04
Stanford University05
University of California, Berkeley10
University of California, Los Angeles29
University of Michigan33
Carnegie Mellon University52
University of Texas Austin58
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign64
Georgia Institute of Technology97

Data updated as of March 2024

Also read: What’s student life like in the USA?

Top engineering colleges in Canada

UniversitiesQS World University Rankings 2024
University of Toronto21
McGill University30
University of British Columbia34
University of Alberta111
University of Waterloo112
Universite de Montreal141
University of Calgary182
McMaster University189
Concordia University387
Carleton University671-680

Data updated as of March 2024

Also read: What’s student life like in Canada?

Top engineering colleges in Ireland

UniversitiesQS World University Rankings 2024
Trinity College Dublin81
University College Dublin171
University of Galway289
University College Cork292
University of Limerick426
Dublin City University436

Data updated as of March 2024

Also read: What’s student life like in Ireland?

Top engineering colleges in New Zealand

UniversitiesQS World University Rankings 2024
University of Auckland68
Massey University239
University of Canterbury256
Auckland University of Technology407

Data updated as of March 2024

Also read: What’s student life like in New Zealand?

Salaries for different engineering branches

Job titleSalary (in USD)
AI and machine learning engineer$166,250
Petroleum engineer$120,000
Biomedical engineer$89,979
Civil engineer$90,000
Chemical engineer$97,665
Mechanical engineer$97,505
Aerospace engineer$112,819
Computer science engineer$113,760
Agricultural engineer$82,287
Alternative energy engineer$87,500
Telecommunications engineer$107,309

Data updated as of March 2024 | Source: talent.com

→ Browse Engineering Courses abroad

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Eligibility criteria for engineering courses

Candidates need to meet certain criteria to study engineering, and they include:

  • Qualifications in maths and physics or chemistry.
  • Relevant English proficiency test scores: IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, and Duolingo.
  • Certain universities may require you to take an admission test. For example, Cambridge requires you to take the Engineering Admissions Assessment (ENGAA).

Some universities may also offer a foundation year for students who do not meet the standard entry requirements.

What skills do you need to study engineering?

While different branches may require different skill sets, here are some general skills you require to excel in engineering:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Computer literacy
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Research
  • Analytics
  • Materials knowledge
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Communication
  • Decision-making
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management 
  • Adaptability 
  • Project management 
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Teamwork and collaboration

Choose your desired engineering field and kick-start your academic journey! Apply for the upcoming intake today!

Frequently asked questions

What engineering branch will be in demand in the future?

Some of the fastest-growing engineering branches that seem to have even more prospects for growth in the future include AI and machine learning engineering, computer science engineering, alternative energy engineering, aerospace engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering and biomedical engineering.

Which engineering branch has the best career prospects?

Computer science engineering, AI and machine learning engineering, civil engineering, and biomedical engineering have better career prospects for international students.

Which engineering branch is the most demanding?

Being an engineering student generally requires substantial effort, hard work and dedication. The engineering branches may present different levels of difficulty to individuals. 

The demand is typically related to a student’s background, interests and skills. However, some sources say chemical engineering, electrical engineering and aerospace engineering are the most demanding engineering branches.

What are the best engineering courses?

Some of the best engineering courses are

  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Computer Science Engineering

Which are the best engineering universities in the UK?

Here are the top universities for different engineering fields in the UK.

  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford
  • Imperial College London
  • University College London (UCL)
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Liverpool
  • Brunel University

What are the top 5 universities to study engineering in Canada?

Here are the top engineering universities in Canada.

  • University of Toronto
  • McGill University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Waterloo

Which is the best engineering college in the US?

Here are some of the finest engineering colleges in the US for international students.

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Michigan

What are the top colleges to study engineering in Ireland?

The top colleges to pursue an engineering course in Ireland are.

  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University College Dublin
  • University of Galway
  • University College Cork
  • University of Limerick
  • Dublin City University

What are some of the best colleges for B.Tech in computer science abroad?

Various universities excel in offering the finest BTech Computer Science courses for international students. Some of the top institutions are.

  • University of Oxford (UK)
  • University of Cambridge (UK)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)
  • Harvard University (US)
  • University of Toronto (Canada)
  • McGill University (Canada)
  • Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)
  • University College Dublin (Ireland)
  • University of Auckland (New Zealand)
  • Massey University (New Zealand)

Are you ready to start your engineering journey?

At Edvoy, we can help you decide which engineering branch is best for your future. If you’re still sceptical, you can try remote counselling. Speaking to a professional can help you gain more clarity and start to build a successful career in your chosen engineering area.

Start your journey and start a conversation with a friendly Edvoy Counsellor, and download the app today.

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