Chemical engineers manipulate the interactions of individual molecules and atoms by applying their knowledge of the physical world. The talents of these experts are generally utilized in research and development of new materials. Chemical engineers are also important in numerous other fields, including energy storage, computing, and nanotechnology. They often work in interdisciplinary teams alongside other types of engineers in solving greatest problems of humanity, and they remain critical leaders in helping us to secure our future prosperity on this planet and beyond.
What a Chemical Engineer Does
A chemical engineer’s job centers on designing and implementing systems and processes that determine how individual atoms interact with one another. They use the discoveries of chemists to create ground-breaking materials with high atomic precision. If you make up your mind to become a chemical engineer, chances are that you will spend the bulk of your time in a laboratory or office, designing mathematical models behind the methods and materials you have developed. Occasionally, you will be required to get out of office to oversee production and solve problems on-site.
Becoming a Chemical Engineer
Earning a chemical engineering degree, which will eventually see you become a chemical engineer, is relatively intensive. Typically, joining a chemical engineering program means immersing yourself in studying physical sciences (mainly chemistry and physics) and mathematics during the first two years of the program. The final two years usually involve the application of what is learnt in the first two years.
Many engineering institutions around the world provide cooperative education programs, which are similar to an internship. The programs give students an opportunity to work on projects under the supervision of professional engineers; this adds credit to their degree.
Your Expectations as a Chemical Engineer
So secure is the field of chemical engineering that it promises lucrative positions for those who are ready to solidly establish themselves as competent chemical engineers. With the ever-increasing demand for chemical engineers, this field enjoys almost full employment in most parts of the world.
Just as joining any other science occupation involves overcoming certain intellectual challenges, you will need to jump several hurdles on your road to becoming a chemical engineer. Bearing in mind that the bulk of chemical engineering involves planning and analysis, you will be required to thoroughly examine your work while paying attention to detail and correcting any errors. To overcome these challenges, creativity is critical: the desire to better what already exists. You will even be more successful as a chemical engineer if your passion to create overrides other factors, including pecuniary benefits.