Opportunity knocks for women in science, technology

Opportunity knocks for women in science, technology

While one may not see these mottos plastered on billboards across the country or popping up on prime time television just yet, successful female engineers and organizations want other women to consider scientific fields like engineering.

There’s more to this line of work than meets the eye. Here are some reasons female students should think about pursuing a career in engineering.

• Design and innovate: According to Dr. Irena Atov, chairwoman of IEEE Women in Engineering and technical manager at Telstra, a network architecture reliability group, “Engineering jobs are involved with the invention, design and manufacture of products and systems.” Essentially, engineers apply the principles of science and mathematics to develop economical solutions to technical problems. “Everything you use, everywhere you go in the man-made environment has its basis in engineering,” said Atov.

• Play with technology: Technology isn’t just for catching up on social networking or trading e-mails. At the crux of engineering are technologies used to design, produce, test, and simulate how a machine, structure, or system operates. You can actually “play” with the concepts that you are developing before they are put to market.

• Science can liberate: There’s something empowering about a career in a field that has such widespread touch, impact and relatability. According to Atov, “Engineering is such an interesting field in that every day when you go to work you can create things you never thought possible – a true way to follow your dreams.” Additionally, the talent pool provided by female engineers is growing and women can bring a new perspective to the field and its social force.

• Hands-on work in different specialties: For those who love to get inside a problem and work toward a solution, engineering has multiple fields of interest to pursue. Engineering pervades so many subsets that there are dozens of specialized concentrations within this field of study. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 17 engineering specialties recognized by the Federal Government’s Standard Occupational Classification system. These include: agricultural engineers, biomedical engineers, civil engineers, computer engineers, environmental engineers, and nuclear engineers, among others. Individuals interested in a specific area of study can likely find an engineering specialty that works in conjunction with that field.

• Engineering can be lucrative: Thanks to the widespread demand for engineers in all facets of the economy, engineering can be a stable and intellectually stimulating career. In a time of economic uncertainty, it can be a smart move to choose a career path that ensures long-term employment, like engineering. Although salaries vary according to country and area of specialty, it’s not uncommon to earn a starting salary of $80,000 and upward per year, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is “among the highest of all college graduates.”

• Travel opportunities abound: A truly global career path, engineering jobs exist all over the world. Atov says, “Engineering offers international portability, enabling you to work in different countries.” Domestic companies may place employees to work in foreign subsidiaries, or global companies may be looking for a larger pool of applicants. Especially in the field of academia, engineers don’t just pursue careers in their home state, or even country. University jobs are now advertised worldwide and it is quite the norm, to have applicants from every continent – thus ensuring that the best candidates in the world are chosen,” she said. “Women should know, now more than ever, that engineering is a career that brings together passion, creativity and intelligence to a job where you can help people.”

A CLOSER LOOK

For more information on engineering, ?see www.TryEngineering.org or ?www.ieee.org/women

Young women are being encouraged to pursue careers in science and technology fields, particularly engineering, which are not only lucrative but rewarding other ways, too.

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