What Are the 6 Main Fields of Engineering?

types of engineering

Look around you, and you will see a myriad of inventions, new designs, and innovations to make our world a better living place. Our world overflows with technology, machinery, structures, and gadgets and gizmos designed to make our lives easier. Behind the design and creation of each of these was an engineer. From Archimedes to Nikola Tesla and from Leonardo da Vinci to Elon Musk; and from the tallest buildings to the minutest of machinery – the world has seen numerous types of engineering through the ages who have significantly changed our lives. What is engineering? 

What is engineering?

Unlike most other fields, it’s hard to answer this question in a paragraph. That is because, unlike most areas, engineering is a massive field. But put in a nutshell, engineering is the use of science, technology, and math to design and create solutions to solve real-world problems. 

The types of engineering

There are six significant areas of engineering with several subtypes within each of them. 

Mechanical engineering: The field related to the design and manufacture (and everything in between) of machines of all types, complexities, and sizes. 

Mechanical engineers design machines like generators, gas turbines, air-conditioning systems, escalators and elevators, disk drives, fuel cells, robots, and prosthetic devices that use mechanical power. Some of the disciplines within mechanical engineering are:

  • Acoustics.
  • Aerospace.
  • Automation.
  • Automotive.
  • Autonomous Systems.
  • Biotechnology.
  • Composites.
  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD)


Civil engineering: The engineering field is related to the design and construction of buildings and other physical structures like sewage systems, pipelines, roads, dams, tunnels, and bridges.

Civil engineers work under a variety of conditions and in different types of locations. It’s common for civil engineers to split their work hours between an office and a construction site. 

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Some types of civil engineering are:

  • Construction engineering
  • Transportation engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Water resources engineering
  • Structural engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Water resources engineering

Chemical engineering: The field of engineering that deals with chemicals and other branches of science like math, physics, and biology. 

Chemical engineers concentrate on processes and products and study how they can convert raw material into useful products through economically viable processes. A part of their work is also to manage resources and protect the environment. 

Some of the subfields of petroleum engineering are:

  • Biotechnology
  • Nanotechnology
  • Environmental science
  • Thermodynamics
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Mineral processing


Petroleum engineering: The field of engineering concerns itself with designing and operating chemical plants and improving the production of hydrocarbons (natural gas or crude oil). 

Petroleum engineers design and develop different methods, plans, and equipment to extract oil and gas from deposits within the Earth’s surface. They are also responsible for the installation, operation, and maintenance of oilfield equipment and evaluating the production of wells. Some areas of petroleum engineering specialization include:

  • Drilling engineering
  • Petrophysical engineering
  • Reservoir engineering
  • Production engineering
  • Surface facilities engineering

Electrical engineering: The field of engineering that deals with electricity and the invention of electric devices.

Electrical engineers are involved in designing, developing, testing, and supervising the manufacture of all types of electrical equipment. These engineers work in various industries, including manufacturing, telecommunications, and research and development. 

Today the field of electrical engineering is divided into a variety of subfields, including:

  • Computer engineering
  • Systems engineering
  • Power engineering
  • Telecommunications
  • Radiofrequency engineering
  • Signal processing
  • Electronics
  • instrumentation

Aerospace engineering: The area of engineering that concerns itself with the development of both aircraft and spacecraft. Avionics engineering deals with the electronic aspect of aerospace engineering. There are two overlapping branches of aerospace engineering:

  • Aeronautical engineering
  • Astronautical engineering
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Which engineering career is right for you?

There are many things to bear in mind when deciding on the best engineering major for yourself. Consider the following points:

What are your relevant aptitudes? For example, if you are an organized person who thrives on efficiency and precision, you have what is needed to follow a career in systems engineering. Consider your essential skills and then research the various engineering fields that require the skills you possess. 

What are your passions? You will need to spend a major part of your life working, so it’s essential to be passionate about your work. If you like spending your day in a chemistry lab, you might consider pursuing biomedical engineering. If you like fixing things, you might want to consider mechanical engineering.

What kind of work environment do you think is ideal? For example, suppose you would rather spend your time out in the field. In that case, you might want to consider studying an engineering area that will eventually allow you to work extensively on site.  

What are your professional goals?

Do you have any professional goals? If you don’t, this is the perfect time to set them and then pursue a career based on your goals. For example, if you desire to create innovative systems to help save the planet, you might want to pursue environmental engineering rather than mechanical engineering. 

Conclusion of types of engineering

Engineering is a complex field, with over 100 areas within it. If you have an idea of the six major engineering fields, it will help you pursue a career in an area you find most interesting. No matter what type of engineer you eventually become, consider investing in business insurance for engineers. Visit this website for more information on architects’ and engineers’ insurance.

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