Two – renewable energy – there is so much innovation there at the moment – it’s very exciting AND Biomechanical/Biomedical: again lots of innovation, but you can directly see where it’s making a difference – very rewarding
I’ve worked in both the energy industry, and the aerospace! Both are totally different, and rewarding in their own ways!
Aerospace, is pretty safety concious, and your working on projects for a long time, so when you see them completed and flying, its very rewarding! (I recently worked on the A400M certification, so watching the first flight / paratroopers jumping out etc. was pretty aweseom!)
Energy is different, although still safety concious, its much faster paced, so you get your rewards from different things; designing a system that is technically sound and sustainable is good!
I live near the Falkirk Wheel… the biggest rotatary boat lift in the world… which can rotate on the same power as 9 kettles (or something like that – really awesome engineering! )
That’s a difficult question! I’ve only worked in energy and I find that quite rewarding because I know I’m contributing to people’s energy supply. I can imagine myself finding lots of other areas of engineering rewarding though!
I think reward is a very personal matter and depends on what motivates you in life and makes you happy. If you’re looking to make an impact on the world, I’d say working in renewable energy (solar or wind) could be rewarding.
My advice to young people at school would be to look at 3D printing (also called additive manufacturing by engineers – because you add stuff layer by layer) or robotics. There will be a massive boom in both of these areas in the next 10 years and plenty of career opportunities.
3D printing can be applied in traditional engineering, but perhaps most interestingly, there’s an emerging area of engineering involving biotechnology – designing tools to print replacement hearts, kidneys and other organs.
Somebody at school now will become the next Bill Gates or Richard Branson.