I am a chemical engineering major. Despite the popularity of my major, it surprises me how many people, even some engineers, have no idea what chemical engineers do. They know it’s very math and science intense and that they usually receive high salaries but that’s about it.
I can’t really say that I can describe my major much better. Yeah, I can tell you that in classes we learn about systems with boilers and distillation units, and how to calculate temperature and pressure and such; but that’s not actually what most chemical engineers end up doing in the real world.
This may or may not be the image that comes into your head when someone says “I’m a chemical engineer” ( careerdc.com.au)
Originally I chose to major in chemical engineering because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but everyone kept telling me that if I graduated with a chemical engineering major, I could do almost anything. Two years later and halfway through my second internship, I am finally starting to see this.
This summer I am interning for Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati. When I applied, I was just excited to work for P&G and didn’t really care which department I ended up in. I was a little surprised when I got hired by the Supply Network Operations (SNO) division. Instead of working with chemical equipment, I’ve been working with Excel spreadsheets, performance reports, supply, and demand. And I like what I am doing.
It doesn’t matter than I’ve never taken a class on anything that I’m doing, I’m learning, being challenged, and problem solving every day. And that what the basis of being an engineer is all about, right? In SNO, I work with people with backgrounds in industrial, chemical, materials, and mechanical engineering and we all thrive doing similar work.
Not only can a chemical engineer work in SNO, at P&G at least, I’ve met chemical engineers working in all different roles such as management, research, manufacturing, and engineering of all types. And I love not being limited to a certain field. I would love to be able to work in other areas to find what I really like best because they are all very important and so different.
Engineers are so wanted no matter their specific degree because they have proved themselves to be great problem solvers which is what a lot of companies in all different industries (healthcare, consumer products, oil, contract, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, etc.) want to hire. So if you aren’t sure about what type of engineering you want or if you are on the fence about engineering in general, keep in mind that a degree in engineering does the exact opposite of limiting you to one job for the rest of your life.