Agricultural engineering can also be known as agricultural and biosystems engineering. This sector is known for the study and application of engineering principles for agricultural purposes. Much like other engineering sectors, agricultural combines the knowledge of multiple types of engineering in one place. Meaning it can be a great area to choose when you are looking to make a career change but use skills you already have.
So, whether you come from a background in mechanical, electrical, or even software engineering, you might just find your next opportunity in agricultural engineering.
What is agricultural engineering?
When thinking about a career in any engineering sector, it’s important to remember that no day is usually the same as the last. This means that there is no one description of what you may or may not do in your role, on a daily basis. However, engineers working in agricultural engineering may find themselves doing one or more of the below:
- Assessing the environmental impact of current agricultural methods
- Supervising building projects
- Designing vehicles for a more efficient way of working
- Testing the new equipment
As mentioned above, it depends on what you specialise in. But typically, agricultural engineers will be solving problems and working with projects for machine efficiency, pollution and environmental issues and the processing of agricultural products. The above list demonstrates why this sector of engineering requires engineers from all backgrounds. So, what skills do you need to be able to get into this field of work?
Skills you may need for this sector
- The ability to solve problems
- Have good attention to detail
- Analytical thinking skills
- Patience and determination
- Work well in a team environment
It’s likely from experience, whether that be from work or study, that you have a lot of these skills already. The more ‘engineering specific’ skills depend on what part of the sector you want to pursue a career in. So, think about the type of job you would like, the day-to-day tasks you would like to be doing and list the skills you have and want. Simply answering these questions can really help you start a personal development plan and see what learning you need to complete in order to reach your goals.
It is very important to note that just because you may not have a skill before starting a role, it doesn’t mean you cannot learn. There are ways around this like, taking online courses, working with an engineering body to develop your skills or some employers are more than happy to teach you on the job. There are many possibilities to upskill, so don’t think you can’t apply because you feel you are missing a skill.
Why could this sector be the next step for your career?
Whether you are looking to change sectors or you are moving to a different role within agricultural engineering, it’s important to think about why you should do it and what the benefits of change can be.
Your skills can be transferable – Employers are looking for skill diversity, especially in this agricultural engineering. There are so many different types of roles you can work in. You can bring ideas and experience from different sectors. Engineering needs creative minds from different backgrounds that are ready to share new and innovative ideas. If you feel like you are able to offer a different viewpoint and help advance a job role, then you should definitely be shouting about this when job seeking.
Engineering jobs teach you a lot of different skills. From problem solving to job specific skills, there is always something you can bring to a team or learn.
It’ll never get boring - New ideas are needed all the time. The agricultural sector is looking for people that can improve their processes, find ways to speed things up and just help them improve overall. There is always something new to learn, a new theory to try and new technology on the horizon. Employers need engineers like you, to keep the sector developing and moving forward.
There is demand - Much like other engineering sectors, there is a demand for a bigger workforce. There has been a skills shortage for a while now, which can be seen as an advantage to engineers looking to move between sectors.
As an engineer, you have important and transferable skills that employers are looking for. They are looking to invest in people, so if you can’t find a role with one employer, there is likely to be another opportunity somewhere else!
Will you consider this sector next time you’re job seeking?
Whether you are currently working in this sector or in another, agricultural engineering might be the next step you are looking for to help you develop your career and learn something new.
You should consider this sector for all of the reasons mentioned above, but you should think about where you want to take your career. Where do you want to be in 5 years and ask yourself those big career questions we usually like to put off. It’s important to consider all of your options.
No role is going to be 100% perfect. There will be learning curves, potential long hours, and tough deadlines to meet. But if you are willing to put in the work and dedication, then working in this industry can be very rewarding.
As an agricultural engineer you can expect to earn between £25,000 - £45,000 depending on experience. So, there is room to grow and learn whilst working towards a higher salary. Engineers at any experience level are likely to have a highly transferable skill set but it’s still important to keep learning on the job. As you do, your salary and work level can increase.
If you’re just starting out in your engineering career, don’t think that you have to have higher education or a degree to get a job in this sector! It obviously helps, but you can start from an apprenticeship level, learn as you work and start your career from there. There is no one way street to success. If you want to work in this sector, you can! - No matter what education level you currently have.