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Engineering Jobs by Discipline

June 28, 2011

I talked before about what states are hiring engineers and where all the engineering jobs are. Best estimate there are something like 44,000 engineering jobs open nationally right now. The census says that in 2008 84,000 people graduated with engineering degrees. Engineering shortage? I think not. Probably my 44,000 search was not broad enough to include the kinds of jobs engineering graduates might go into. But still, that’s nowhere near a shortage, is it Corporate America?

So what kind of engineers are being hired right now? Software engineers.

Making up almost half of open jobs software engineers have it made. If we have a shortage of engineers, maybe it’s that kind of engineer. The problem is we’re recruiting people into a very diverse field without specifying what we really want or really need. I was curious how this stacked up to major choice and pulled a some numbers from a local university to give a breakdown:

You can tell mechanical and civil/structural majors are heavily overrepresented. People are probably going into these fields and finding the jobs aren’t there. This is all magnified when certain geographic areas (Detroit vs Silicon Valley) have very different focuses even when colleges might be more diverse. Chemical and electrical engineering majors are a little closer to the national average of open jobs and software/computer engineering heavily underrepresented.

I’m a bit torn by including software engineers here. There’s a big difference between “computer engineer” and a programmer. Many job openings ask for a degreed engineer when what they really need is a programmer. But if they’re asking for an engineering degree that becomes a part of the requirement that job seekers have to meet even when it’s unlike other engineering disciplines. Given the low numbers though it’s possible those with other degrees, or no degrees at all, are filling the gap for these open software jobs. That is if anyone is even hiring.

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