What is Engineering and What Do Engineers Do?

Engineering is all about the iterative process of designing a product to meet the user’s needs. The product and the user may be very different depending on the field.

  • Biomedical engineers may design a device like a stint to go into a collapsed artery that would be easy to use for the surgeon and safe and long lasting for the patient.

  • Electrical engineers may design an electrical component of a phone, such as the touch screen, so that it works as customers want and fits in the phone along with the other parts, such as batteries, speakers, and camera.

  • Civil engineers might design plans for a bridge that a company wants to build that need to communicate to the contractors who will build it and be safe and beautiful for the people who look at and drive over the bridge each day.

In all of these cases, engineers are innovators creating solutions for products to better meet the needs and wishes of those who use their products.

Getting Started at Foothill

  • All engineering students take math, science, and foundational engineering courses before focusing on a specific field of study.
  • Engineering courses range from project-based courses working in teams on design activities to problem-set based courses where students learn approaches to problem solving.
  • Foothill College offers many different foundational engineering courses that may be a part of your transfer pathway to a four-year college or university.

Transferring to a Four-Year University

  • After taking foundational courses at Foothill College, engineers transfer to a four-year school to complete their bachelor’s degree and take courses that are focused on a specific field of engineering.
  • Check out our example transfer pathway page for more information on designing a pathway that is right for you!

In the Workplace

Engineers can hold a wide variety of roles in the workplace.

  • Some engineers use math everyday, other engineers may go years between using math.
  • Some engineers spend much of their time at a desk or in meetings, while other engineers spend most of their time at a work site – either a manufacturing facility, build site, or testing facility.
  • Engineers may work in manufacturing, design, testing, or management and sales and are employed by a variety of companies.
  • Engineers are in high demand in the Bay Area, with low unemployment and high salaries.
  • According to Glassdoor.com, engineers in the Bay Area have average salaries ranging from $75,000 to $110,000.
  • Take Engr 49: Engineering Profession to meet actual engineers and hear about what they do at work, how they got to where they are now, and what they love about an engineer’s lifestyle.

Types of Organizations and Companies

Engineers are hired at places that range from large tech companies, small tech companies, government contractors, consulting firms, energy companies, and others.

Students who graduate with a BS in engineering have a lot of options to choose from once looking for work!

Read what some of our graduates say.

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