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What is Biomedical engineering and why should you consider it?

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 19 Oct 2022

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According to the University of Glasgow, “Biomedical engineering is about finding engineering solutions to medical problems. As a rapidly expanding industry, biomedical engineering meets the demands of healthcare through the development of technology.”

Simply put, biomedical engineering is all about using problem-solving techniques to engineer advances in biology and medicine. You can imagine how important this is and will continue to be over time. So why should you consider a career in biomedical engineering and what do you need to be able to successfully land a job in this engineering sector?

What is a biomedical engineer? 

The role of a biomedical engineer is to find new ways of advancing medicine and technologies, it’s important that engineers use their own experiences and knowledge to make vital changes in the industry. Much like other engineering sectors, a lot of employers are looking to hire people from all different backgrounds, to bring their own views and ideas. You don’t have to be a biological scientist, although it does help to have good problem solving skills and a passion for science advancement. 

Engineering is a field of work where ideas are constantly needed to make change. Biomedical engineering focuses on the improvement of healthcare and human health. It’s a very important and some may say, rewarding sector to work in.

As a biomedical engineer you may find yourself working on a range of different topics from diagnosis and analysis to treatment and recovery. Whilst working in sub sectors like this, you may have the opportunity to work on new projects within your company. These can include improving equipment to stem cell engineering - depending on what is happening in your company, the options can be endless. 

What could you be doing on a daily basis? 

Biomedical engineers can work in a whole variety of different disciplines. Including but not limited to:

  • Designing and developing new technologies
  • Academia and research
  • Testing new ideas and technology
  • Developing medical equipment
  • Establishing safety standards

No matter which direction you choose to take your career, it’s likely that you will be helping someone or a group of people with the work you do. Biomedical engineering plays a very important role in society and your ideas and work can make a huge difference. 

The discipline you choose will affect the kind of work you do on a day to day. However, technology is always changing and developing to become better. This means there is so much technology to try, test and develop meaning it can literally be what you make of it. 

If there is something specific you want to work on, pitch it. If you want to be involved in a project you’ve seen, ask. If you have the skills, ideas and drive to work on development projects within this sector, chances are, you’ll get an opportunity to do it. Maybe not overnight, but there is so much research happening all the time that there will be more than one opportunity to work on something. 

What skills do you need?

When looking for a new job or career change, it’s always important to research what skills you will need for a role. However, it’s also important to know that skills can be taught, so don’t sell yourself short when job seeking.

Some key skills you may need when thinking about applying for a job in biomedical engineering are:

  • Analytical skills
  • Interest in integration of engineering and medicine
  • Good attention to detail
  • Technical ability to design projects that can be turned into products
  • Communication and ability to work well in a team

When looking at the above list, you might realise that a lot of these are transferable or soft skills. Some things you can learn and others come naturally. So consider this when applying for roles. You may also need a certain level of education or knowledge, so make sure you are doing your research on the job and company when applying. 

What should you search for when job seeking?  

When looking for a role online, it can be easy to type in ‘biomedical engineer’ into the search engine and go from there. But there are so many different ways you can look for a job. It’s important to be specific, many roles can have multiple titles for the same thing, so do your research and figure out all of the different search terms you could be using. 

Focus on the discipline you want to work in. You wouldn’t just write biomedical engineer into google and expect to have a perfect result. Include whether you are looking for a job in design, medical, signal, clinical or even stem cell. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for you to find what you are looking for. If you have specific companies in mind, this helps too!

So why look for a role in biomedical engineering?

There is demand in this sector. It’s a very important engineering sector that is always looking for new engineers to come and improve the technology they already have and to develop new ideas that are going to help people. 

You can earn a good wage from this sector. Money is an important part of any job and you should be paid fairly. Different levels of experience will mean different levels of pay, but the good news is, you can work your way up. 

There are also a variety of different areas you can work in:

  • Industry
  • The NHS
  • Research

It can be what you make of it. If you choose to work in one area and then decide it’s not the one for you, it’s likely you’ll be able to take your knowledge and experience with you into another area. 

It’s highly likely that as an engineer, you have a great variety of transferable skills. If you have never worked in this sector before and are looking for a change in career, it is possible. You can learn on the job, develop and find a job you really love within biomedical engineering.