Many students pursuing engineering jobs think it would be cool to work in architecture. What if they could be the mechanical engineer behind the next Empire State Building or a modern, state-of-the-art office complex? Consultant, Architect and Mechanical Engineer Peter Leffe says that there is “a huge amount of competition” from others who are trying to get work – and who are not doing so well.
However, he adds that there are still engineering jobs for people who are willing to work on less glamorous projects. “When you think of a factory, it’s really not about the beauty of the building from the outside, but the inner workings,” he explains. Engineer minds are important for designing plumbing and problem-solving.
Hospital design is a budding area for engineering jobs as well, Leffe explains. “Someone with an engineering background has something to offer an architectural firm here educationally that most architects just don’t have,” he tells the ASME.
A third area of engineering jobs in architecture to consider is called “forensic failure analysis,” where engineers look at damaged foundations, stairwells, walkways, handicap ramps, and other structures. “It’s about making it work well,” he says – not about creating a pretty structure.
Individuals who want to design skyscrapers can expect at least 3 years of schooling for a professional architecture degree, three years of interning at an architectural firm, and the passing of national exams. Leffe says it’s better to aim for engineering jobs within architecture as a realistic strategy for finding work with “fun challenges.”