Types of Engineering

Aerospace (AERO) - responsible for developing extraordinary machines, from planes that weigh half a million pounds to spacecraft that travel 17,000 miles per hour. They are able to research, design, develop, test, produce, and support flight systems for commercial aviation, national defense, and travel to outer space. Aerospace engineers can work on jets, propeller-driven aircraft, helicopters, spacecraft, satellites, and rockets. Those who work with aircraft are called aeronautical engineers and those who work with spacecraft are called aerospace engineers.

Architectural (ARCE) – the structural design of buildings; it goes beyond sound fundamentals of science and math to stress the practically application of interdisciplinary design principles. They develop much-needed abilities for the interactive, creating development of a total design concept. It involves graphics, CAD, architectural design, structural mechanics and systems, design fundamentals, and structural designs. 

Biomedical (BMED) – the application of engineering principles and techniques to the medical field. It combines the mechanical and mathematical expertise of engineering with the medical expertise of physicians to help improve both patient health care as well as the quality of life of healthy individuals. Research and development is the most common line of work of biomedical engineers and covers a very wide array of fields: bioinformatics, medical imaging, image processing, physiological signal processing, boimechanics, biomaterials, system analysis, 3-D modeling, etc.

Bio Resource and Agricultural (BRAE) – find ways and making crops better, easier to grow, increasing crop yields, how to best to distribute food and water. Specializations include: water/irrigation, mechanical systems, food engineering, resource information, systems BioResource, renewable energy and waste treatement, agricultural safety, processes, and fabrication. 

Civil (CE) – problem solvers, meeting the challenges of pollution, traffic congestion, drinking water and energy needs, urban development, and community planning. They design and build the infrastructure around us that supports our everyday life. They face the challenges of the future: advancing civilization and enhancing our quality of life. They have 6 different concentrations: transportation (roads, bridges, airports), structural (buildings), water resources (dams, ecology, wastewater treatment), geotechnical (soil mechanics, construction on the earth), and general.

Computer (CPE) – a blend between CSC and EE; it is the study of programming digital systems (CSC) and the hardware to support these systems (EE). They learn to write software in both high level (C, Java) and low level (Picoblaze, Assembly) languages that are run directly by microcontrollers. They also learn to build hardware circuits to allow software interaction and interface with the outside world and perform specific tasks. An embedded system (something that knows how to do one specific task) is the bread and butter of CPE.

Comp Science (CSC) – apply scientific and engineering methodology to the design, implementation, analysis, and evaluation of computer based systems. Some examples include Operating Systems, databases, graphics, networks, compilers, and algorithms. Create the programs and tools that allow computers to solve real world problems. The field is vast; they can work from language design to product engineering to human interface design and also work with other engineers to bring out a product to help efficiency or research and develop new technologies.

Electrical (EE) – involves anything that requires electricity and power. Computer engineering deals more with the hardware, microprocessor systems, and computer system designs. Deal with wireless communication, cellphones, radio, satellites, microwave technology. Analyze systems and figures out what specifications for different semiconductors, which are devices that depending on its elements, will conduct a certain amount of energy. 

Environmental (ENVE) – combines chemistry and ecology with mechanical processes in order to clean up after technology. Analyze and design environmental control systems to maintain or restore a clean environment. Deal with control of air and water pollution, industrial hygiene, environmental health and safety, solid waste management, hazardous waste management, and pollution prevention.

General (GENE) – a broad based education path that allows students to select a learning and career path of their choice defining for themselves the type of engineering concentration they want. Examples include bioengineering, engineering management, water engineering, renewable energy, etc.

Industrial (IME) – focus on the “big picture”: managing people, processes, and integration between them. Business-oriented, with the goal to optimize processes. Determine the most effective ways to use the basic factors of production to make a product/provide a service in the most efficient manner. Apply their practical and scientific knowledge to solving engineering and management problems, with special consideration on the human element. Design and implement systems, which maximize efficiency in utilization of resources: energy, money, material, machines, personal.

Manufacturing (IME) – focus on how to make products instead of strictly designing them. Best example: “How it’s Made” in the Discovery Channel. Take a concept/design and are concerned with the process of production: should it be made out of metal and be cast, forged, machined or welded? ?Typically involved in the “hands-on” design and implementation of manual, semi-automatic, and fully automated manufacturing systems. Plan, Develop, and Optimize the processes of production including methods and designs of tools and equipment for manufacturing.

Materials (MATE) – foundation of chemistry and focuses on solids rather than liquids and gases (that would be Chemical Engr). How atoms bond into materials, and how these bonds determine material properties. Comprehension of a material's strength, toughness, stiffness, hardness, electrical properties, thermal properties, bio-compatibility, etc. allow materials engineers to develop products for virtually all engineering applications.  Basically they manipulate "matter."  Alter the structure and processing of a material to get the desired properties, and therefore performance.

Mechanical (ME) – directed toward the design, manufacture, and system integration of a very wide variety of equipment ranging from manufacturing machinery and power generation equipment to consumer goods. It is the sound application of basic principles of solid, fluid and thermal mechanics in the design, manufacture, and application of equipment. They have 3 different concentrations: general, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and mechatronics (robotics, but leaning more towards the dynamics and movement of a robot).

Software (SE) – apply the principles and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis to the design, development, testing, and evaluation of the software and systems that enable computers to perform their many applications. Possess the same strong programming skills in CSC, but they are more concerned with code development process, teambuilding, and project design choices. To make programming efficient, different people code different parts, but software engineers would come in and manage and combine all the code together.


Other Notes about Engineering to mention:

  • You don’t have to be good in math and science only to be in engineering. It is all about problem solving, how to fix things, make things better, and efficiency. Math and science are means to get to the end, but concept is the most important and most difficult part.
  • All engineering is multi-disciplinary; every engineer will take a class from a different engineering department. Everyone will take an EE/MATE/ME class at least once. The reason for this is because engineering involves learning bits of everything.
  • To be an engineering student, you need to be determined to work hard and have good study habits.
  • In the real world, you will most likely not be involved with only people in your major. You will be involved with ME’s, CPE’s, EE’s, IE’s, MatE’s. Any project will involve different engineers.