Engineering the Future: A Smart Career Choice

by Inga Yandell

To ensure a prosperous career in a climate of lightening innovation and constant evolution, gain a vital edge with smart forecasting and insider knowledge.

It’s hard to ignore the tide of technological advancement and its diverse applications in today’s world, and our dependance and integration of these breakthroughs is unlikely to fade in the future.

The zeitgeist of our time is driven by a movement towards intelligent technologies and so the wise who seek meaningful, expansive, and challenging roles in this future might well look at engineering as a smart career choice.

We asked leading career coach, Ray Pavri, to interpret the multi-dimensional value of engineering as a catalyst profession for conservation, science, medicine and more…

Engineers can transform the world into a better place and maintain the world to stay as a better place.

Both have relevance, but is engineering a smart career choice in 2018 and beyond?

Yes, but you must think beyond the stereotypical applications of engineering in traditional industries like mining, oil and gas, coal fired power generation and manufacturing. You’ve got to shift your attention to growing industries such as the environment including air, food & water quality and health. Engineering for an ageing population, urban infrastructure related engineering to cope with growing cities, engineering within defence within what is an ever-changing international climate and agriculture related technology innovation enforcing Australia as the food bowl of Asia. This is where the future will be, for a lot of young engineers.

Irrespective of whether it’s transforming or maintaining type of work as an engineer, if you embark on your engineering career with a genuine love of what you are doing alongside creativity, initiative, business acumen, communication skills and connectedness with others, you will do well.

A lot of engineers facing frustrations in the mid to late stages of their life have lost sight of what makes them happy, being chained to lifestyles rather than de-linking, re-calibrating and re-engaging in areas which they’d get joy out of. It is hard to make the world a better place and through that get true joy in being an engineer, if your own head space does not get better.

Take the example of Professor Ana Deletic, a one of Australia’s innovative engineers for 2017. She created a technology called “green-blue walls” for installation as small planter boxes on walls, taking up entire walls of multi-story buildings, with gravity and plant roots doing the job of percolating greywater and stormwater within urbanised areas. The phosphorus concentrations being extracted also reduce local temperatures, increase biodiversity and the amenity value of urban areas. There are many applications of this technology and it will transform the world into a better place.

Other Australian engineers who are enjoying what they are doing and excelling in their own sub-disciplines include:

Tony Lavorato (Complex Cantilevering Over Heritage Structures)
Wes Johnston (Mobile Swing-stage Gantry)
Gregory Kelly (Flooded Roads Smart Warning System)
Dr Madhu Bhaskaran (Stretchable Oxide Electronics)
Simon St Hill (Heat Recovery Power Generator)
Peter Atherton (New Clinical Waste Management)
Dr Richard Kelso (Low Drag Bicycle Helmets)
Professor Sandra Kentish (Storing CO2 in Microalgae)
Dan Copelin (Virtual Pipes)

See a full list of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers @

So how can you set yourself apart in the world of engineering?

Seek inspiration and reach out to others. Connecting with others is a sure-fire way to improve your career success.

This need not start only when you are in the work force. It should start even while you are at Uni as a group of students at the University of NSW have done. A team of engineering students from the University of NSW, physicists, lawyers, communications specialists and musicians teamed up to design a DNA scaffold that could help find a cure for HIV. This innovation earned the UNSW students the Grand Prize at Harvard’s annual BIOMOD competition.
To connect though, you need a good range of soft skills.

Too often engineers are remaining in silos rather that reaching out to others – after all engineering has day-to-day applications and for that to happen you need to connect with the full fabric of society.

It is also important for engineers to understand market context, relating what they are doing to current and future market needs. There are several engineering related Phd’s who show untapped potential driving Ubers when they could be re-shaping the world – all because of the desire to create the perfect mouse trap which no one wants.

Another imperative to make it in engineering in the modern world is to keep up with societal challenges and that means keeping up with what is in the news both here and globally. It is about keeping an eye out for the “wouldn’t it be nice if” societal needs because inherent within these needs, lie creative engineered solutions which could turn the world on its head. Australian engineers are equally placed as engineers globally to change this world we live in.

The future of engineering as a smart career choice lies in its diverse applications – industrial batteries adjoining intermittent power generation like wind and solar. Or in smart devices proliferating society and work places within the internet of things revolution. Or in driverless cars, driverless trains at mining sites and now driverless cargo ships within the broader automation revolution taking shape.

When you start to think about the application of engineering to the world’s problems, the opportunities seem endless.

Ray Pavri is Australia’s most respected career coach for degree-qualified engineers. A career professional with an MBA in Business, Ray has held senior roles with many large organisations in Australia. But his real passion is working with engineers and technical professionals at all levels of management who are stagnating in their careers.

For the past twenty years, Ray has helped over 4,000 technical professionals escape the work trap dilemma to discover more rewarding and meaningful careers. As founder of Watt Electrical News, a premier online resource within the global electrical community, and My Electrical Community, a peer-to-peer business and social network, Ray is devoted to improving the lives of technical professionals throughout Eastern Australia. Connect with the Career Coach @

The following two tabs change content below.
Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
Visit, View, and Subscribe to Bare Essentials Magazine

Previous post:

Next post: