As an engineer you could be responsible for designing and building just about anything. Find out about the different engineering disciplines you could study and the roles you could play in a project.

In the Engineering world, there is always a job for you. Everything man-made has had some input from Engineers in terms of the design and creation – and often the maintenance. The modern would not function without them.

Different Engineering disciplines

Engineering is a large field, so most engineers specialise in an area.

Most engineering degrees focus on one specific discipline. Higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships usually start to channel you into a discipline, so you need to be aware of the options before you apply to University of school-leaver programmes.

Here are some of the most common disciplines…

Mechanical Engineering – Mechanical engineers use their knowledge of forces – such as gases, liquids and energy. They use their knowledge to design and build machines to develop systems such as fans, turbines and pumps. It is the discipline that applies engineering mathematics, physics and science principles to design, analyse and manufacture mechanical systems.

Electrical Engineering – Electrical engineers understand how electricity works and how to safely generate and use it. They could be involved in generating electricity from renewable sources, helping to electrify railway lines or providing a building with power. They typically design and develop new electrical equipment, solving problems and testing equipment. They work with all kinds of electronics to the smallest pocket devices to super computers.

Chemical Engineering – Chemical engineers understand how chemicals react to form new substances and how they work. These facilities produce a vast array of products such as food, fertilisers, cosmetics, petrol, pharmaceuticals and plastics. They convert basic raw materials into products.

Civil Engineering – Civil engineers understand how to design, construct and maintain the man-made parts of our environment. They typically design, build, supervise, operate, construct and maintain infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sector including buildings, roads, airports, dams, bridges and systems for water supply and sewage treatment.

Electronic Engineering – Electronic engineers understand how electronic components can be used. They work on federal electronic devices and systems, including satellites, flight systems, radar and communications systems. These circuits are useful in areas such as communication, navigation, medical and manufacturing technology.

Different engineering industries

Engineers can work in a range of different industries. Most industries need engineers from many different disciplines for the skills they bring.

As an example, in railway engineering, different engineers might be responsible for the following areas:

Mechanical engineers (trains)
Electrical engineers (Power distribution)
Electronic engineers (Signalling systems)
Civil engineers (Tracks, bridges and stations)

The key engineering industries include:


In conclusion, there are many disciplines within the engineering world so there is plenty of choice. You can join the industry at any level, and often have the chance to study for further qualifications once you’re in. The more senior you become the more opportunity you will have to take on management responsibilities and to be involved in finding novel ways of doing things.