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The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.

Salary Range
€25k - €50k
Job Zone

In Brief...

Engineers design, develop, improve and maintain a vast range of the technology that surrounds us, from sports trainers to roads, tunnels and bridges, and from light bulbs to space satellites.


  • Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.


  • Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Equipment Maintenance Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

In Summary - Engineer

Career Sectors

Engineers typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Civil Engineering
Construction, Architecture & Property
Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Engineering & Manufacturing
Explore Engineering
Engineering & Manufacturing
Civil Engineering
Engineering & Manufacturing

Videos & Interviews

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Gordon Campbell works as an Earth Observation Engineer at the European Space Agency.  He is a Geophysicist with a background in seismic data processing. Gordon’s work involves developing new applications using satellite images acquired through ESA emissions.

Ciaran MacSamhrain, Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Ciaran MacSamhrain works as an engineer for Transport Infrastructure Ireland. French has been hugely beneficial in Ciaran's career as he worked in France where he was involved in supervising the manufacturing of the Luas trams.

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Further Information

The Work - Engineer

Note: For information on the many branches of engineering, please click here

Engineers apply scientific principles to come up with creative solutions to practical problems. Their work is very diverse and impacts on all our lives - not just through areas such as construction, manufacturing, processing, communications, transport and fuel, but also through engineers' development of medical technology.  
Engineers have shaped much of the modern world. They have helped to give us roads, bridges, dams, televisions, personal computers, the mobile phone, nuclear power stations, reservoirs, pipelines and microchips etc.  

Whatever area an engineer is working in, they may be able to specialise, for example, in design, research, systems, or control. Engineers make improvements to the efficiency, cost, safety and reliability of the products they are working on.  
The work carried out by engineers is wide and varied. At any stage of a project, an engineer might be involved in: planning the project, carrying out feasibility studies, building and testing prototypes, research, diagnostic studies to find causes of problems, client meetings, site visits and report writing.  
Engineers have to take account of factors like cost and the quality of materials. Increasingly, the need to protect the environment is a vital part of engineering.  
Engineers spend much of their time working in teams. They may need to work in an office, in a laboratory or 'on-site', depending on the nature of the project they are working on and what stage the work has reached. They often use computer-aided design (CAD) techniques.  
Branches of Engineering include - Aerospace, agricultural, biomedical, chemical, civil, environmental, industrial, mechanical and nuclear.

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Regulate air pressure, rotary speed, and downward pressure, according to the type of rock or concrete being drilled.
  • Verify depths and alignments of boring positions.
  • Monitor drilling operations, checking gauges and listening to equipment to assess drilling conditions and to determine the need to adjust drilling or alter equipment.
  • Start, stop, and control drilling speed of machines and insertion of casings into holes.
  • Select the appropriate drill for the job, using knowledge of rock or soil conditions.
  • Operate controls to stabilize machines and to position and align drills.
  • Select and attach drill bits and drill rods, adding more rods as hole depths increase, and changing drill bits as needed.
  • Drill or bore holes in rock for blasting, grouting, anchoring, or building foundations.
  • Operate machines to flush earth cuttings or to blow dust from holes.
  • Drive or guide truck-mounted equipment into position, level and stabilize rigs, and extend telescoping derricks.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Interests - Engineer

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:


The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.


Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.


To be an engineer, you need to have technical ability and an interest in mathematics, science and technology.  
You must be able to combine an analytical, logical approach with creativity and imagination to solve problems.  
Engineers must be able to work as part of a team. The ability to encourage other people's ideas is important, and you must also be flexible and able to compromise. You will need strong communication skills to write reports and to explain complex engineering information to people from non-technical backgrounds. You must have good presentation skills. You must be able to prioritise and plan effectively.  
You will need organisational skills to plan your own time and to co-ordinate resources. Willingness to take on responsibility and to lead and motivate others is essential. You should be able to work alone or as part of a team. You should also be able to work within the constraints of a budget.  
Engineers must have good information technology skills because a lot of engineering work involves computers.  
You should be willing to keep up-to-date with advances in technology in this fast-changing area.

Entry Requirements - Engineer

Entry to the Engineering profession is generally through an accredited degree.

Almost all of the Institutes of Technology and Universities offer relevant engineering courses.  However, there is more than one route you can take:

The most direct way into engineering is to take an Honours Degree (Level 8) Engineering course as offered by almost all third level colleges and universities throughout the country. You can specialise the engineering areas you are most interested in from the start of the 4-year course.

It is also possible to take a general course in engineering in year one or two and then choose an area to specialise in for third and fourth year.

Selection into engineering courses is on the basis of Leaving Cert results and the CAO ‘points system’.

A higher Leaving Cert grade in maths, together with a science subject is normally required for entry to engineering courses. Agricultural Science is accepted as a science subject for many programmes, but always check the specific course entry requirements.  

It is possible to take a Higher Certificate course in engineering at an Institute of Technology without having higher maths or even a science subject in the Leaving Cert. These are two year courses leading to a Level 5/6 qualification as an Engineering Technician. Specialised technician courses are offered in many colleges for all of the engineering disciplines outlined. You could opt to work as a technician with this qualification or proceed to an ordinary degree (Level 7) and then follow on to an honours degree (Level 8).

There are many specialist courses available reflecting the different areas of engineering, from, mechanical, electrical/electronic, aeronautical, chemical automotive, civil, structural, systems, to mechatronic control and engineering design.  

Last Updated: February, 2015

Pay & Salary - Engineer

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €25k - €50k

Data Source(s):
CPL / Hudson

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Engineer

Employment growth in this occupational group, which includes mechanical, electrical and electronic engineers, was above average. Employers are frequently citing these occupations as difficult to fill although the demand is likely to be small in number given the size of the employment stock. While the supply from the education system appears to be growing, demand is mostly for roles requiring sector-specific experience (e.g. medium-high, high-tech and food/beverage manufacturing).

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Useful Contacts - Engineer

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