The landscape of employment has been undergoing rapid transformations, with career changes becoming increasingly common. This trend is not limited to a specific sector, but it is especially prevalent among engineers who are constantly exposed to innovative technologies and evolving industry demands. This article aims to provide insights on the subject of career change for engineers, drawing on our experience and relevant research studies.
Understanding the Modern Engineering Career
According to a joint study by EPAM Systems India Private Limited and CyberMedia Research, the modern engineering workforce is displaying significant shifts in career aspirations and expectations. The survey, which included over 800 engineers from diverse tech roles aged 23 to 30, revealed that a vast majority of these professionals were actively seeking upskilling opportunities in AI, Cloud, and other new-age technologies. A substantial 92% of respondents expressed a desire to enhance their problem-solving skills, while 91% emphasized the importance of future developmental and on-job training opportunities as their top expectations from their workplaces1.
This shift in expectations reflects the dynamic nature of the engineering field, where continuous learning and adaptation to new technologies are paramount. Interestingly, the study also revealed that career aspirations varied with age, with younger engineers (aged 25 or under) looking for faster career promotions, whereas those between 26 and 30 were more invested in exploring career expansion opportunities through learning2.
Embrace the opportunity for growth that comes with change. Remember, it’s never too late to pursue a career that brings you joy and fulfillment. It may be a challenge, but it’s one that comes with the reward of a career tailored to your passions, skills, and aspirations. You’re not just changing jobs; you’re shaping your future. Believe in your potential and take the leap, because a thrilling new career journey awaits you!
Career Change in General
Before we dive deeper into career change specifically for engineers, let’s briefly touch upon the broader landscape of career changes. According to a report by Zippia, 37% of the U.S. workforce changed or lost their job in 2020, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also highlighted that the average age at which most employees make a major career change is 39 years old, with flexibility, financial incentives, and employee benefits being the top reasons for such transitions3,4.
Statistics indicate that younger and middle-aged people are more likely to change careers than older employees. Approximately 1 in 3 U.S. workers under the age of 40 have considered switching jobs since the start of the pandemic, with this number being significantly lower for older age groups5. These trends reflect the evolving nature of the job market, where adaptability and continuous learning are highly valued.
Career Change for Engineers
Due to our practical knowledge, we understand that engineers, owing to their technical expertise and problem-solving skills, have a wide range of career pathways open to them. Whether it’s transitioning to a managerial role, moving into a different engineering discipline, or even stepping into a completely different sector, engineers have numerous options for career changes.
However, making a career change from engineering is not without its challenges. One of the main barriers for making a career change, as per Zippia’s report, is a lack of financial security, with 57% of surveyed employees mentioning this as their top concern. Additionally, 40% of respondents were unsure of what field to enter next, and 37% felt they lacked the proper education or experience to switch jobs6.
It’s important to note that these barriers, while substantial, are not insurmountable. With careful planning, acquiring new skills, and leveraging existing ones, engineers can successfully navigate career transitions.
The Future Perspective
Looking at the future, engineers believe that Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence will be in high demand, potentially shaping the future of many industries7. This perspective aligns well with the current technological trends and suggests that engineers who upskill in these areas may find themselves well-positioned for future opportunities.
Conclusion on Career Change for Engineers
The rapidly changing technological landscape is impacting the aspirations of modern engineers, as per a joint study conducted by EPAM Systems India Private Limited and CyberMedia Research. The survey, which involved 800+ engineers aged 23 to 30 from diverse tech roles, found:
- 93% of engineers want opportunities to upskill in areas like AI and Cloud technologies
- 92% are looking to improve their problem-solving skills
- 91% value future development and on-job training opportunities
- 80% see competency centers as crucial for technical knowledge acquisition and problem-solving skills development1.
The survey also found that 68% and 46% of engineers believe that Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence will be in demand in the future, respectively2.
Career changes are quite common in the general workforce. In 2020, 37% of the U.S. workforce changed or lost their job, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The average age at which most employees make a major career change is 39, often driven by a desire for less financial risks and personal stresses. Additionally, middle-aged workers are the most likely group to make a major career change3.
Younger and middle-aged people are more likely to change careers than older employees. Flexibility, financial incentives, and better employee benefits are the top reasons for job changes. Times of self-reflection, such as after celebrating a birthday or work anniversary, often prompt people to make a major career change. As of 2020, 52% of employed Americans were considering a career change, and 44% had concrete plans to change jobs4,5.
As for career paths that engineers might consider after a career change, product management is one promising avenue. According to a January 2022 survey by ProductPlan, 21% of product managers come from an engineering background. The study suggests that an engineer’s problem-solving skills and understanding of technical requirements make them well-suited for product management roles.
In terms of companies that hire engineers, Enphase Energy, a renewable energy technology company founded in 2015, is known for its microinverter system and has seen significant growth in 2022. The company offers an extensive product line, including solar power generation, energy storage, and web-based monitoring and control.