12 Emerging Engineering Fields For The Future – A Brief Guide

The engineering industry is one of the largest and most important industries that have ever existed. With new inventions every day, it’s hard to keep up with all the latest technologies. There are dozens of emerging fields in engineering that may not be well known yet but will soon become popular as they grow more sophisticated over time.

As technology continues to improve, the future of engineering will change as well. In fact, some engineers are already working on emerging fields that make our lives easier and futuristic. The best part is that you can enter some of these fields with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. This article will discuss 12 emerging engineering fields for the future including robotics, bio-medical and cyber security among others.

Emerging Engineering Fields

  • Bio-Engineering

Bio-engineers work on new medical technologies. They combine science with medicine to create new ways for people who are injured or have illnesses. If you want to become a bio-engineer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in engineering and perhaps a master’s degree in bio-engineering.

Emerging Engineering Fields

Bio-engineering example

NASA is developing new ways to help fight diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. NASA bioengineers are working with engineers from other fields like chemistry and medicine to create new tools that can improve patient care. The tools they’re creating include a tiny device that can make a diagnosis in a matter of hours instead of weeks.

Future of Bio-Engineers

As technology advances, bio-engineers will continue to improve how humans can fight certain diseases. Being a bio-engineer will be an exciting career because there are so many opportunities to discover new things that could help people live longer and healthier lives.

  • Biomedical Engineering

 Biomedical engineers work with instrumentation, systems, and biomedical technologies to improve healthcare for people who are ill or injured. A bachelor’s degree in engineering is generally enough to get you started on the right track to becoming a biomedical engineer, but some schools offer an undergraduate degree in this field of study so you may have a choice of which type of engineering you want to study. You’ll probably need an internship or apprenticeship in order to get your foot in the door and land that first full-time job after school.

Emerging Engineering Fields

Biomedical engineering example

How do you develop new equipment that could help surgeons perform better during an operation? That’s what biomedical engineers at Texas A&M University are working to figure out. They’re using computer modeling to design tools for surgery, like artificial blood vessels and tiny organ motors.

Future of Biomedical engineers: Biomedical engineers are making progress on new technology that could one day lead to the creation of artificial blood vessels, which would help people who have cancer or heart disease. They’re also studying how to make better prosthetic limbs, which will become more important as wounded soldiers return home from war.

  • Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers are engineers who use chemistry to solve problems. They could help companies develop new products or be researchers who create things like biofuels and food coloring. Industry leaders say chemical engineering is the top job in the U.S., but you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in engineering if you want to try your hand at this career field.

Chemical engineering example

GE is using chemical engineers to create energy-efficient lighting. For example, they have come up with a new type of light bulb that emits more light while using less energy. Chemical engineers are also working on creating fuel cells that use hydrogen instead of gas in order to power vehicles.

Future of Chemical Engineers

The future of chemical engineering is dependent on the emerging energy needs that will need to be met. As our planet’s population increases, so do its demand for certain resources like food, water, and energy. Chemical engineers are working to make this happen.

  • Industrial Engineering

Industrial engineers work to improve the way things are made and the machines that make them. They might study a company’s workflow or improve their assembly line so it makes more products faster. A bachelor’s degree in engineering is enough to get you started, but certification from a professional organization can help you advance your career even further.

Industrial engineering example

NASA is using industrial engineers to create new tools that use 3D printing. They have developed a printer that can lay down thin layers of plastic, metal, or other materials instead of ink so the machine builds up an object from scratch. The objects they’re making include parts for satellites and even a wrench.

Future of Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers will need to focus on helping companies use technology better. Because of the increasing demand for new products and rapid turnover, there is a greater need for industrial engineers to help companies turn out products faster without wasting any resources or time.

  • Robotics Engineering

Robotics engineers design and build robots that do certain jobs. For example, they could create a robot that plays chess or one that helps people with disabilities live more independent lives. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering to get started, but different schools offer programs specific to robotics engineering so you may have some choices of where to study if you want to specialize in this field.

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Robotics engineering example

NASA is using robotics engineers to design tools that could one day explore other planets. They have built special robots that can dig into the surface of Mars and gather samples without human intervention. These same kinds of robots could be used on Earth to create buildings or roads where humans couldn’t survive.

Future of Robotic Engineers

The future of robotics engineers is tied in with the automation industry. As companies try to find ways to cut costs and increase their productivity, they turn to technology like robots to help them do these things. Since more jobs will require even less human involvement, many people believe that the future of robotic engineering lies with creating completely autonomous robots that can replace humans entirely.

  • Cyber Security Engineering 

Cyber security engineers work to protect important information and computers from hackers and data thieves. A bachelor’s degree is enough to land you an entry-level job, but you can always go back for a master’s degree or even Ph.D. if your career interests speak to it. Many employers, especially those within the government, are looking for candidates with formal training in cyber security.

Cyber Security example

What happens if hackers steal your credit card information? Cybersecurity engineers at Wells Fargo make sure that won’t happen by creating new ways to protect the bank’s data systems. They examine software and hardware solutions to make sure cybercriminals can’t get to the bank’s private data. The engineers also look for vulnerabilities in their systems and try to fix them before they’re exploited by thieves.

Future of Cyber Security Engineers

As information becomes more important, cyber security engineers will be in high demand. They’ll work to protect everything from individual computers and mobile devices to bank databases and national infrastructure. Many companies are looking for employees with formal degree programs or certifications.

  • Environmental Engineering

This is a very important type of engineering that can help improve air pollution, create new sources of energy or make sure our water supply doesn’t get contaminated. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering for this field, but you can go on to get a master’s degree or Ph.D if your career interests call for it.

Environmental engineering example

Engineers at GE are using environmental engineering to create energy efficient ways of making fertilizer. They hope their efforts will help farmers produce the food needed to feed a growing global population without hurting the environment. The solution they designed is basically a pipeline that sucks carbon dioxide out of the air and uses it to make fertilizer for crops—while capturing any methane produced as a byproduct so it can be burned for energy.

Future of Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers will always be needed to design systems that help the environment without hurting people. The shift toward renewable energy sources like solar and wind will create new opportunities. As engineers design ways to reduce our carbon footprint, the demand for their services will increase along with it.

  • Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum engineers design and supervise oil wells, pipelines, refineries or other equipment used in the exploration for oil. They usually need at least a bachelor’s degree to get started, but you may be able to enter this field with an associate’s degree. You can expect strong competition for jobs since petroleum engineering is one of the highest-paid engineering fields.

Petroleum Engineering example

If you like working outdoors and don’t mind the idea of traveling around to different sites, petroleum engineering could be a great career choice. Shell is using petroleum engineers to design tools that will help them drill for oil in an environmentally friendly way. The engineers are creating computer models of the underground rock formations they will be working with so they can find the best places to drill.

Future of Petroleum Engineers

Petroleum engineers will always be needed to find new sources of oil and design equipment used in the exploration process. Oil companies are especially interested in hiring engineers with programming and data analysis skills since they’re using more advanced software systems these days.

  • Automobile Engineering

Automobile engineers design, develop and test automobiles. They create plans that help companies decide how to manufacture each part of a car. Depending on the company you work for, your job may also include supervising production or helping out with other tasks like marketing or advertising. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering to get started, but you can expect strong competition for jobs.

Automobile Engineering example

Engineers at Toyota are using automobile engineering to develop the next generation of electric cars and trucks. They’re helping make sure their vehicles produce as little pollution as possible and still run well on the road. Some of these engineers came up with a special way of making the car’s lithium-ion batteries more powerful and reliable.

Future of Automobile Engineers

Automobile engineers will always be needed to design new cars and trucks for the road. The rise in demand for electric vehicles may create even more opportunities in this field since engineers will have to figure out ways of building these cars so they don’t run out of power too quickly.

  • Electrical or Electronics Engineering

This type of engineer designs electronic equipment, including computers, communications equipment and medical devices. You’ll need strong math skills for this field because engineers use a lot of equations to design new products. It’s also a good idea to take some STEAM classes in high school because this field requires a lot of lab work. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering to get started, but you can go on to earn a master’s or Ph.D if your career interests call for it.

Emerging Engineering Fields

Electrical or Electronics engineering example

Engineers at Johnson Controls are using electrical and electronics engineering to build new computerized systems for the steering wheel in your car. These systems are designed to help you park or drive more safely by changing how much power is sent to each wheel on the vehicle, depending on what’s happening with the road. The engineers also created a special algorithm that helps these systems predict when they might need to take action in order to give drivers more control.

Future of Electrical Engineers

Electrical engineers will always be needed to design new types of equipment that use electrical power. Since this field also covers communications and medical devices, job opportunities should continue to grow as people demand more sophisticated electronic devices. Electronics engineering example:   Engineers at IDEO are using electronics engineering to help companies like Google create handheld computing devices for their employees. They design and manufacture custom equipment like computer servers, chipsets and circuit boards for their clients.

Future of Electronics Engineers

Electronics engineers will always be needed to create new types of equipment that use electrical power. Some work with communications devices or medical equipment, which means the field is expected to grow as society becomes more reliant on these technologies.

  • Aeronautic Engineering

Aeronautic engineers design aircraft and spacecraft. They start by coming up with a basic design for the vehicle and then work to create a strong, lightweight frame that’s capable of keeping everything in place while it’s flying through the air or zooming through space at thousands of miles per hour. You’ll need math and science skills for this job since aeronautic engineering uses a lot of equations to help design new vehicles.

You’ll also need some lab work experience in order to test out your designs and see how they function in the real world. Most employers expect applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering, although you can go on to earn an advanced degree if your career interests call for it.

Aeronautic engineering example

Engineers at Airbus are using aeronautic engineering to build new aircraft that are lighter and more fuel-efficient than past models. They’ve come up with a way of replacing aluminum sheeting with carbon fiber in order to reduce the weight of each plane, which also reduces the amount of fuel needed to power it.

Future of Aeronautic engineers

Aeronautic engineers will always be needed to design new types of aircraft and spacecraft. Since this field uses a lot of math and science, the opportunities should continue to grow as society develops more advanced technology.

  • Solar Engineering

Solar engineering is the design and construction of infrastructure that uses solar energy to provide light or space heating, cooling, and other beneficial functions. The term also applies to the employment of such infrastructure for electric power. Solar engineers research, develop, design, plan and strategize how to implement solar power applications.

Emerging Engineering Fields

Solar engineering examples

As the development of solar cells has been greatly improved, many people start to look at them as a source of alternative energy. This has resulted in a booming solar engineering industry which is expected to reach $5.7 billion by 2013. 

Solar cells are able to collect and absorb sunlight and solar energy which can be used for different practical applications. Some of these include heating water in solar thermal systems, heating space with a solar furnace, generating electricity in photovoltaic (PV) cells, and providing light through the use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Future Solar Engineers

The job of a solar engineer can be quite challenging since it is a new and fast-growing field. But the compensation is also very good. In fact, a solar engineer can have a starting salary that is almost double the national average of $42,000.


The future of engineering is bright and full of possibilities. Engineers have a wide variety of opportunities, from building bridges to designing spaceships, so it may take some time before you know which one sparks your interest. Keep exploring! Engineering has never been more exciting than now with new fields emerging all the time. You’ll be able to pick up skills quickly thanks to online courses or enrolling in an undergraduate program at your local university–just don’t forget about internships! Good luck!

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