From the Inbox: What guidance would you give someone seeking to enter the engineering sector from another industry?

We get occasional requests from people outside the IET who are interested in "becoming an Engineer" or making a move to engineering from a completely different sector.

My usual guidance is to have a look at the resources about what careers are available in engineering, links to schools or graduate resources and try to narrow down what they want to do or look through case studies of those in the industry.  If they know what inspired them in the first place, or have a particular field I also recommend they consider finding out more through the IET's factfiles, events and  And of course look through job descriptions for qualifications if they know more specifically what they want to do.  

I'm also honest that they are likely to need to retrain, unless they already have engineering or technical qualifications, and the level of this may depend on the type of work they want to do.

I also direct people here to ask their questions but appreciate that they might be overwhelmed to do so.  So I thought I would start with a generic post to see if our amazing engineers and technicians have any words of wisdom for how to break into engineering - and if you do, or if indeed you came from a different sector, then I would encourage you to share ideas on this thread to inspire others ...

  • I always the find the first challenge is "what do you mean by 'an engineer' "? There are such a huge range of roles it's difficult to give advice without having some idea what they are thinking of - and of course this is somewhat chicken-and-egg since they are probably asking for advice because they don't know either. So I just had a look on the main IET pages to try to find a guide to "these are all the different roles we mean by 'an engineer' and how you might get there". The closest I could find was this:

    but it's pretty vague and high level. (And I doubt a casual visitor could find it, I really had to dig!) Should we be producing something a bit meatier - or do we have one and I just couldn't find it?