Engineering FAQ

This list includes questions commonly received by the EngineerGirl team about engineering and engineering careers.

Visit our Resource FAQ for answers to other commonly asked questions about about resources that can help you study engineering in college, plan and build your engineering career, and complete engineering projects.


What is an engineer?

Engineers are professional problem-solvers. They use math and science along with skills in communications, critical thinking, and management to find practical solutions that will benefit people or society. They DO things: design, create, build, improve, invent -- everything from heart valves and microchips to skyscrapers and space vehicles.


How much money do engineers make?

Salaries for engineers depend on what type of engineer they are, what kind of company they work for, how many years of experience they have. Many engineers with bachelors degrees start out making over $50,000 a year. Some engineers just starting out earn more than $70,000 a year!


How long do you have to go to school?

You can start working as an engineer with a 4-year college degree. Many engineers go on to earn masters degrees (usually in another 2 to 3 years), and some get a Ph.D. (4 to 6 years beyond the bachelors degree).


Where do you work?

Engineers work in lots of different places. Some work in large corporations, while others own their own small firms. Engineers are employed at manufacturing plants, hospitals, research labs, construction sites, and regular business offices. Some engineers work for government agencies and while others work in foreign countries.


What do you wear?

Engineers who work in offices may wear business suits every day, others may dress more casually - even blue jeans occasionally! Engineers who work in manufacturing plants or on construction sites may wear hard hats and steel-toed boots. Some engineers wear special clothes to protect them from dirt or hazardous chemicals.


How long is your work day?

An engineer can work a regular 9-to-5 hours or much longer depending on what kind of company they work for and what kind of project they are involved with at the time.


Can you still have a family, friends, a life?

Engineers are people, too! They work hard, but have families and friends just like everyone else. Look at the engineers profiled in the gallery: Many of these successful women have families as well as hobbies ranging from music and gardening to sports and world travel.


What if some day I decide I want to do something else?

An engineering degree is good preparation for many different careers - especially ones that require problem-solving skills. There are several engineers who have chosen to become doctors, lawyers, or business managers as well as traditional engineers.