The Institution of Engineers in Scotland (IES)

The Professional Engineer - Promoting professional engineering

Rotterdam harbour

Career Variety

Professional engineers have access to a huge variety of career paths, including some less obvious, that we take for granted in our lives, such as the leisure industry, social medial engineering, IT engineering, automotive engineering, police technical support and production of world leading pharmaceuticals etc.

In the leisure industry who designs the thrill rides in fun parks such as Disney World?

The Hulk roller coaster at Universal Islands of Adventure

How do you qualify to become a car designer?

Do you know that R2D2 from Star Wars was developed and built in the UK by professional engineers working from conceptual design sketches provided by the film's creative personnel under George Lucas? Many were built in order to accommodate all of R2's functionality and involved the participation of professional mechanical and  electronics engineers etc. Two of the principal companies were Peteric Instrumentation and C&L Developments led by Dr David Watling and Neil Anderson respectively. Dr Watling, a chartered mechanical engineer and a doctor of physics, earlier in his career had designed the light show for a Who, rock band, world tour and had worked on the servomechanisms for the face of the original movie " Alien" although this was not utilised in the final film .Dr Watling and Mr Anderson are regarded by their peers as having made significant contributions to movie history.
Dr Watling went on to design  remote controlled superbug killing "robots" that spray sealed hospital wards etc to battle deadly infections such a s C-difficle and MRSA. Practical devices do come from science fiction!

Who designed the flat screen TV? In fact the first were built in the 1950’s and others were in operation for more than 30 years within the UK research industry before they reached the high street.

A fictitious retina scanner was first seen in a James Bond movie and when the head of the CIA saw it he sanctioned engineering research to make the first. Now they are commonplace.

Scotland is a world leader in computer games engineering with blockbusters such as Grand Theft Auto being designed and developed in Dundee and Edinburgh.

The pre-production virtual reality science behind Dawn of the Planet of the Apes –the Fox Studios blockbuster, was developed by Matt Bett a lecturer in Gaming Engineering at Abertay University.

The Rolling Stones employed a structural engineer on their “Bridges to Babylon” world tour to ensure structural safety on each show.

If you review the “Input Youth” site here, it illustrates something of the huge variety of engineering careers that are possible. Click on “Job Guides” on the opening “Input Youth” page and search/ click for specific career data e.g. “Chemical Engineer”

Engineering Council list of Institutions

The Engineering Council is the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession. It sets and maintains internationally recognised standards of professional competence and ethics. These are detailed in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC).

The Engineering Council’s website lists 36 institutions that it licences to award engineering qualifications including CEng. Looking at this list on the Engineering Council website gives an indication of the wide scope of careers in engineering. The table below also lists the 36 Institutions and gives links to relevant career information. Further information about careers on the Engineering Council website can be found here in the CEng e-Book

The list does not cover all the opportunities. Further descriptions of engineering careers can be accessed via the table below.

All Institutions on the Engineering Council list

Discipline Institution Career information
Information technology BCS
Non-destructive testing BINDT Careers
Building services engineering CIBSE
Highways and transportation CIHT
Plumbing and heating CIPHE
Water and environmental management CIWEM
Energy EI
Agricultural engineering IAGRE
Civil Engineering ICE About civil engineering
Chemical Engineering IChemE Why not Chemical Engineering
Cast metals engineering ICME
Institution of Power Engineers IPowerE

Engineering design IED
Electrical, etc. IET
Fire Engineering IFE
Gas Engineering IGEM
Highway Engineering IHE
Healthcare engineering IHEEM
Lighting engineering ILP Careers
Marine Engineering IMarEST
Mechanical Engineering IMechE Careers
Military engineering INSTRE
Acoustics IOA Careers
Material, minerals, mining IOM3  Materials Careers 
Physics IOP
Medical engineering IPEM Careers
Railway and Signal Engineering IRSE
Structural Engineering IStructE Careers
Water Engineering InstW Careers
Aeronautical Engineering RAeS
Nuclear Engineering NInst
Naval Architecture RINA Careers in Naval Architecture
Construction management CIOB
Environmental Engineering EnvSoc
Operations engineers SOE
Welding WI Careers

Other engineering career descriptions
Discipline Institution Career information
Building and construction CIOB, on current page
Software engineer BCS on current page article
Hardware Engineering BCS Input Youth
on current page
Pharmaceutical Engineering
on current page
Police Services
on current page
Automotive Engineering
on current page
Sound Engineering
on current page
Opito - careers


More career information

Input Youth

IESIS has an agreement with Input Youth which allows direct access from this website to their excellent career guide database. For jobs/qualifications/salary data on many more engineering careers search the Jobsguide section on their website

Want to compare other careers/prospects/salaries with engineering?
The Input Youth database describes almost every job imaginable from Abattoir Operative to Zoologist

Sound Engineering

Big recording groups such as The 1975 and Travis and singers such as Lewis Capaldi  are routinely supported by sound engineers and/or graduate electronics engineers on all their touring and studio sessions.

Sound engineer

The image on the right shows a sound engineering check in progress for the performance of the leading Scottish band Travis in Princes St Gardens during the August 2022 Edinburgh Festival.

A state of the art example of everyday high technology in the entertainment industry

A video clip of the conclusion of their show can be seen here.

25 UK Universities offer 46 degree courses in and related to sound engineering/sound technology.

Prominent among them are:


Automotive Engineering

automobile engine

Several UK universities offer B.Eng and M.Eng courses in vehicle design and most are accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and some also by the Institution of Engineering and Technology as satisfying academic requirements towards Chartered Engineer (C.Eng) status.

These courses include the study of vehicle design, drivetrain, vehicle body and engineering systems plus the application of industry standard computing systems for analysis and design.

A selection can be found below:

Police Services

The Scottish Police Services Authority have an ongoing need for IT and Computer engineering graduates to help them support Police forces/agencies in their fight against crime. SPSA staff develop bespoke software and support third party software products. There are also staff in key Technical Services and Operations and Support roles. In addition, staff provide support with the investigation of computer related crimes and are involved in the production of 3D graphics for presentation in criminal cases. For more information on careers see web link

Pharmaceutical Engineering

Professional engineers build and design the facilities and equipment that are used to manufacture your medicines. The pharmaceutical industry needs Chemical, Mechanical, Civil, Electrical Instrument and Control and Computer engineers in order to provide this. The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers provides a body of knowledge and opportunity for engineers to work to a common goal serving the industry, setting standards and providing a post graduate professional certification. (see web site


The career will involve you in the design, validation and commissioning of highly complex facilities for the manufacture of life saving drugs including sterile production of injectable forms of treatment.

Building and Construction Engineering/Management

In addition to the engineering and design effort in the creation of facilities such as buildings, bridges, process plant/refineries, oil and gas terminals, tunnels, pipelines etc, the construction of major multi-million pound projects can be hugely complicated.

The leading major engineering design companies and consultancies routinely consider, from the project outset, just how they will be constructed and how designs will be affected by the needs of the building methods, building logic, safety and the project timetable.

In recent years the Construction /Building Engineer and Manager have emerged as specialists who can advise the engineering team on such issues.

In addition, there are many routes for professional engineers into the management of major construction projects following graduation in a specialty such as civil, structural and mechanical engineering through further training and post graduate courses.

There are degree courses available specifically in construction and building engineering as specialist options should this be where your interest lies.

To find out more it is worth accessing the websites of some of the leading professional bodies which include:

The Chartered Association of Building Engineers
For “Chartered Building Eng” qualification.

The Chartered Institute of Building
They accredit courses leading to the “Chartered Builder” qualification.

Degree courses in Scotland that relate to Building and Construction Engineering Managment include:

o  BSc Hons Architectural Technology - Edinburgh Napier University
o  MSc/Bsc Hons Construction Management - Glasgow Caledonian University
o  BSc Hons Construction Project Management - Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh
o  BSc Hons Sustainable Construction - Inverness College, University of the Highlands
o  MSc Construction Project Management - Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen


Computer Hardware and Software Engineering

What's the difference? And what kind of careers paths are available to students who are considering the study of computing?

The first issue to keep in mind is that a lot of the study for qualifications in the computing sector are strongly influenced by the USA (e.g. including many of the main computer languages) as that country has been a major driving force behind modern developments, via companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and IBM. This influences the curricula of the various university degrees across the world including in Britain.

You can qualify to Chartered Engineer status in both computer hardware and software engineering

Engineers in both of these areas find employment in a wide range of fields including engineering, scientific research, manufacturing, medicine, big business, banking, etc.

Computer Hardware Engineering

This can be regarded as “the intersection of electrical engineering and computer architecture” where engineers have to apply their learning about electronic and electrical engineering, computer systems and programming to design and build computer hardware.

The work can be in the design of a wider range of hardware items such as: central processing units, keyboards, manual control interface equipment, printers, memory storage equipment, system servers, Wi-Fi equipment, complex operating plant and entertainment equipment, computer systems including those for industrial manufacturing machinery, cars and aircraft, Xboxes etc, etc.

Obviously hardware engineers find themselves working closely with software engineers.

For more information about a career in hardware engineering see here

Computer Software Engineering

Software engineers work with and develop computer software programs that tell computers what to do by using coded instructions. They need knowledge of mathematical analysis, engineering and computer science.

Mostly, software engineering career routes tend to be in either computer applications engineering or computer systems engineering:

For more information about a career in software engineering see here