9 reasons why engineering is actually a lot cooler than you thought it would be

Many years back when I was deciding which field to go into for my tertiary study, the one particular discipline that I’d skip in a heartbeat were the engineering courses.

Not only was it a mostly male-dominated field (think socially awkward dudes, clad in boring t-shirt, jeans and flip-flops), there were also stereotypes about how engineering jobs were generally boring jobs that didn’t pay as well as, say, banking and finance.

Today, engineers are highly sought after by many different sectors for their versatile skill sets and problem-solving abilities. Many have also discovered that the field of engineering is, in fact, a lot cooler than you thought!

Here are some things that you probably didn’t know about one of the most understated industries in Singapore:

1. Engineers are part of movie productions

We have all watched at least one movie in our lives.

Whether it’s Lord of the Rings, Star Wars or Harry Potter, the sophisticated special effects that we’ve seen in these movies wouldn’t have been possible without the engineers and animators who created them using Morphing technology.

Lucas Film Singapore, based in Fusionpolis, is one such entity that supports the creation of special effects for blockbuster films such as Star Wars.

2. Engineers are actually designers too

Did you know that engineers can also design running shoes for protection, performance, and comfort too?

It’s all thanks to engineers, who understand how much force travels from the ground through the shoe to the foot, that we can all be cruising along in uber-comfortable running shoes!

3. Engineers make good artists too

You probably know that the world’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, was painted by Italian Renaissance artist, Leonardo da Vinci.


But did you know that he was also an avid aviation engineer who invented the Flying Machine?

4. An engineer can be a doctor, but not the other way around

Just so you know, engineers can have the doctor title (Dr.) in front of their names, but doctors cannot get the engineer title (Er.) in front of their names.

Engineer 1, Doctor 0.

5. Engineers are rich AF

According to Forbes, 14 out of the top 20 Forbes richest individuals studied engineering in university. And five out of the top 10 of the world’s richest are engineers – including Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of e-commerce giant Amazon, who is also the wealthiest person alive!

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of e-commerce giant Amazon

If you’re looking for a good starting salary with huge potential income upside and career progression, you should really consider studying engineering as your major.

6. Engineers are important, and they are more important than anyone else

Let’s face it – all facets of engineering are essential to business.

Without engineers, there would be no network connections. There would be no working computers, no structures, no legwork in products – no nothing.

There might be some companies out there functioning without engineers, but every company would need at least one engineer to set up their initial technology before they could even get their business moving.

Even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that if we wanted to push Singapore forward to become a Smart Nation that uses technology to improve the lives of Singaporeans, we cannot do without engineers!

7. Engineering jobs are far from boring, in fact, they invent and build the coolest things

Cool stuff like a bionic arm!

With the rise of Industry 4.0, more and more companies will start adopting advanced manufacturing solutions and automation.

Like many other industries out there, there will be job roles that will be made redundant in the engineering sector. But at the same time, new jobs will also be created.

As NTUC’s Electronics and Precision and Machinery Engineering (EPME) Cluster Supervising Lead and United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries (UWEEI) Executive Secretary and Labour MP Melvin Yong stressed,

“To help workers transit to high-tech jobs, training is a must.”

Speaking at the World Engineers Summit 2019, the Labour MP also emphasized on the importance of training and retraining our workforce to ensure that the engineers are well-equipped and ready for the challenges of tomorrow as Singapore continues to adopt new technologies and upgrade our infrastructure.

In other words, as engineering and technology evolve, an engineers’ job scope will, too, need to be upgraded to keep up with ever-changing technological trends in this dynamic field.

And that is also exactly why the NTUC is pushing for companies to set up Company Training Committees (CTCs) to focus on, training, re-skilling and up-skilling workers. In his speech, the Labour MP said that with the establishment of the CTCs, unions will work together with companies to identify training needs and develop relevant training programmes for workers.

To put it plainly, to get ahead of the game, an engineer will have to stay ahead of the game.

Still think an engineer’s job is boring? Think again.

8. An engineer’s future is probably brighter than your camera flash

The often-held opinion that there is a lack of career progression in engineering is an outdated mindset.

As part of an effort to help engineers to move up the career ladder, the Institution of Engineers Singapore (IES) and NTUC came together to launch the Engineers Leadership Programmes back in 2014.

The programme is a three-tiered scheme comprising the Young Engineers Leadership (YEL) Programme, the Advanced Engineers Leadership (AEL) Programme and the Global Engineers Leadership (GEL) Programme.

It aims to groom and equip both new and senior engineers with the necessary leadership skills and expertise in technology management to ensure that the engineers would have both hard and soft skills, as well as a more holistic learning experience to become the future leaders of the industry.

Lastly, it was also announced that the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) – helmed also by Melvin Yong – will be working with IES to establish a Transport Engineers Chapter, to focus on the training needs and career development of transport engineers and technicians.

So nope, it is not a dead-end job at all. And if you ever hear someone say that there is no future in being an engineer in Singapore, go on, go ahead and roll your eyes at them.

Because that is absolutely not true!

9. No degree (yet)? No worries, we’ve got you covered

Well, okay not me, but the IES!

To assist the Technologist and Technician with their career progression within the engineering fraternity, the IES has launched a new initiative called the National Career Progression Pathway for Technologist & Technician.

Announced at the National Engineering Day (NED) on the 20 July 2019, this new national engineering career progression pathway will provide a rigorous professional development and recognition that is based on applied skills and mastery competencies with the eventual goal of chartership for the Technologist and Technician in Singapore.

So, even if you may not have the necessary qualifications to become a professional engineer yet, don’t lose hope!

With this new initiative, your dream can come true!