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Classwork Exercise and Series (Basic Science-JSS3): Career Prospects And Opportunities In Technology

Technology is a family of professions. It involves artisans, craftsmen, technicians, engineers and scientists, all these professions are involved in the developments and production of the different products of technology that we are enjoying today.

Technology professionals work kin every sector of our economy. When you fly in a plane, drive a car, walk or drive across a bridge, make telephone call, watch on television football matches being played several thousand kilometers away, go under an x-ray machine to reveal broken bones, you are experiencing some of the products of technology.

Technology professionals work daily not only to operate and maintain these products but also to develop new products and processes. Thus, technology professionals are always thinking of new ways of doing things. This is what is called innovation.

In developing new products, the professionals work together. Take for example, the construction of a new building; the architect produces the conceptual model of the building which is translated by a draughtsman into a set of architectural drawings. The civil engineers carry out the structural design to make sure that the building is safe for the planned usage. The design is also translated by a draughtsman into a set of structural drawings specifying the various materials, in quality and quantity, to be used for construction. The mechanical engineer handles the design of the water supply system and air conditioning. The electrical engineer is responsible for the design of the electric power supply and distribution network to the different power consuming units in the building. The electrical and mechanical drawings are also produces by the draughtsman. At the building sites the technicians (civil, mechanical and electrical interpret the various drawings and supervise the various craftsmen/artisan (electricians, plumbers, masons, welders, painters, carpenters, etc.) during the construction of the building. The architect, the engineers, the technicians, the craftsmen and the artisans, all work as a team to execute the project.

In this topic we shall focus our attention on engineers to illustrate the unlimited career opportunities generally available in technology. We are interested in what it takes to be an engineer, the different careers in engineering, what engineers do and how you can become an engineer.

Who are Engineers?

Engineers are problems solver. They put their knowledge of science and mathematics to solve practical problems in a creative manner. Basically, they are involved with the design, the construction and operations of everything from bicycles to aeroplanes to electric generators to bridges. In fact, without engineers we will only be a little better than a cave man! So, engineers are thinkers and doers. Engineers usually meet to discuss problems of applying science, technology and engineering to solving our developmental problems.

Are you interested in a career in Engineering?

To determine whether you have the potential, faithfully answer these questions:

  •   Are you good at mathematics and science subjects? Do you enjoy these classes in school?
  •   Are you creative and imaginative? Do you like to build new things, or improve the way things are
  • Have you found Basic Technology taught in both JSS1 and JSS2 interesting?
  •   Are you curious about things you do not readily understand?
  •   Do you like working in teams? Are you a member of a school club, the boys scout or a sports team?
  • If you answer yes to some of these questions, you might have what it takes to be an engineer!

Major Areas of Specialization in Engineering

Engineering has lots of options to choose from, depending on your interest. There are nearly twenty areas of specialization, or disciplines. Each area of specialization also offers a wide range of career options. For example, a civil engineer can choose to specialize in any of these areas: design of structures, hydrology, highway design, sewage treatment, etc. As mentioned above, engineers do not work alone.

An engineer has the opportunity of working with engineers from many other specializations and even other professionals, you can understand why engineers need to be team players, when you think about many specialties of engineering join together to design and execute a major project. So, regardless of your area of your specific interest, you will probably be involved in several kinds of engineering.

Aerospace Engineering (AeroE)

Overall Focus: Flight vehicles and systems, covering both space flight (spacecraft, rockets, satellites, etc.) and sub-space flight (airplanes, helicopters, missiles, etc). Many Aerospace Engineers also work on land-based vehicles as well (race cars, regular cars, etc), typically focusing on aerodynamics (designing external surfaces) Related Fields: Astronautical Engineering (focusing just on space flight) and Aeronautical Engineering (focusing just on sub-space flight). Most offered academic programs are in Aerospace Engineering.

Primary Areas of Specialization:

  1. Aerodynamics (design of external surfaces)
  2. Structural Design & Materials Selection
  3. Propulsion Systems
  4. Guidance & Control Systems

Agricultural Engineering (Age)

Alternative Names: Biological Engineering; Biological Systems Engineering; Biosystems Engineering.

Overall Focus: Production and processing of agricultural products (“agriculture” = crops, livestock and poultry).

Primary Areas of Specialization:

  1. Agricultural Equipment & Technology (tractors, harvesters, animal feeding systems, crop irrigation systems, etc.)
  2. Agricultural Product Handling/Processing Equipment (to clean, sort, dry, package, etc.)
  3. Biotechnology(as specifically applied to agriculture)
  4. Land and Water Management (irrigation systems, erosion control, pesticide/fertilizer use/management)
  5. Storage Structures (housing of farm animals and farm products)

Architectural Engineering (Arche)

Overall Focus: “Engineered systems” (that is, structural, mechanical, and electrical systems) for commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings/facilities. Overall, Architectural Engineers seek to “bridge the gap” between Architects (who focus on “form and function”) and Engineers (who focus on “buildability”) in designing/building buildings and facilities.

Core Curriculum Areas:

  1. Structural Systems
  2. Mechanical and Electrical Systems (including power systems, communications and control systems; lighting systems; and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems)
  3. Construction/Construction Management

Biomedical Engineering (Biomede)

Alternative Name: Bioengineering

Overall Focus: Engineering applications within the broad fields of medicine and the life sciences.

Primary Areas of Specialization:

  1. Biomaterials (both living tissue and artificial materials used in implantation applications)
  2. Biomechanics (applying classic engineering mechanics principles to medical problems and/or to gain a better understanding of living things.)
  3. Biotechnology (focusing on the development and production of pharmaceutical products – drugs, etc.)
  4. Clinical Engineering (overall use of technology for health care in hospitals)
  5. Medical Devices/Equipment (including diagnostic units (x-ray, CAT scan, MRI, etc.), treatment devices (for surgery, etc.), and prosthetics)

Chemical Engineering (Cheme)

Overall Focus: Chemical based manufacturing – applying chemistry for commercial quanlity production of a wide variety of products, including:

Fuels (gasoline, natural gas), Petro-Chemicals (chemicals obtained from petroleum or natural gas)

Agricultural Chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides), Industrial Chemicals (acids, alkalis, organics, salts), Plastics, Polymers and Fibers, Paper and Paper Products, Pharmaceuticals and Drugs, Consumer Products (paints, soaps, household cleaners, etc.), Food Additives/Product, Advanced Materials (ceramics, electronic materials, composites, etc.)

Civil Engineering (Ce)

Overall Focus: “Public works”/infrastructure and buildings/structures.

Note: Given the number of potential applications, Civil Engineering is a very broad discipline.

Primary Areas of Specialization:


  1. Construction Management (combining engineering and management skills to complete construction projects designed by other engineers and architects).
  2. Environmental Engineering (see separate entry)
  3. Geotechnical Engineering (analysis of soils and rock in support of engineering projects/applications -building foundations, earthen structures, underground facilities, dams, tunnels, roads, etc)
  4. Structural Engineering (design of all types of stationary structures – buildings, bridges, dams, etc.)
  5. Surveying (measure/map the earth’ surface in support of engineering design and construction projects and for legal purposes – locating property lines, etc.)
  6. Transportation Engineering (design of all types of transportation facilities/systems – streets/highway, airports, railroads, other mass transit, harbors/ports, etc.).
  7. Water Resources Engineering (control and use of water, focusing on flood control, irrigation, raw water  supply, and hydroelectric power applications)

Computer Engineering (Compe)

Overall Focus: Utilize knowledge in both Computer Science and Electrical Engineering to design integrated computer systems (that is, integrating hardware and software components).

Primary Areas of Specialization:

  1. Artificial Intelligence (developing computers that simulate human learning and reasoning abilities)
  2. Computer Architecture (designing new computer instruction sets, and combining electronic or optical components to yield powerful computing systems)
  3. Computer Design and Engineering (designing new computer circuits, microchips, and other electronic computer components)
  4. Computer Theory (investigating the fundamental theories of how computers solve problems, and applying the results to other areas of computer engineering)
  5. Information Technology (developing and managing information systems that support a business or other organization)
  6. Operating Systems and Networks (developing the basic software computers use to supervise themselves or to communicate with other computers)
  7. Robotics (designing computer-controlled robots for performing repetitive industrial tasks)
  8. Software Applications (applying computing software to solve problems outside the computer field – in education or medicine, for example)
  9. Software Engineering (generating computer programs)
  10. Electrical Engineering (Ee)

Overall Focus: All things electrical/electronic – electronic devices, electrical systems, electrical energy, etc.

Note: Given the number of potential applications, Electrical Engineering is a very broad discipline.

Primary Areas of Specialization:

  1. Communications (transmission and processing of information via various means – wires, cable, fiber optics, radio, satellite, etc.)
  2. Computer Engineering (see separate entry)
  3. Digital Systems (digital-based communication and control systems)
  4. Electric Power (generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power)
  5. Electronics (electronic devices and electrical circuits for producing, detecting, and controlling electrical signals for a wide variety of applications)
  6. Robotics and Control Systems (machines and systems that perform/control automated processes)

Industrial Engineering (IE)

Overall Focus: Efficiency, or, more precisely, how to design, organize, implement, and operate the basic factors of production (materials, equipment, people, information, and energy) in the most efficient manner possible. The typical focus is on optimizing industrial manufacturing operations, although the skills learned can be applied to other non-manufacturing settings.

Primary Areas of Specialization:

  1. Ergonomics / Human Factors Engineering (designing the workplace to better accommodate “human factors” (human abilities and behaviors), thereby yielding more efficient operations and fewer accidents or injuries).
  2. Facility Design (aimed at operational efficiency)
  3. Management Decision Making / Operations Research (using statistics and other forms of data analysis to aid in making management decisions)
  4. Manufacturing Engineering (concerned with all aspects of manufacturing operations – materials, parts, equipment, facilities, labor, finished products, delivery, etc.).
  5. Quality Control (using sampling, statistical analysis) is and other techniques to assess and maintain the quality of products or services provided by a business or other organization)
  6. Work Design (defining jobs that individual workers do in performing the overall work of the organization, with the typical focus being on optimizing manufacturing operations).
  7. Worker Productivity (conducting time and motion studies, setting work performance standards, and proposing new/improved work methods)

Material Engineering

Material Science and Engineering (reflecting the heavy emphasis on studying materials science that such programs often entail)

Overall Focus: Development and application of “advanced materials” – ceramics, polymers, metallic alloys/specialty metals, electronic materials, composites, etc.

Note: While Materials Engineering is concerned with developing and applying advanced material, commercial-scale production of such materials is the realm of Chemical Engineering – see separate entry).

Mechanical Engineering (Me)

Overall Focus: Machines, structures, devices, mechanical systems, and energy conversion systems.

Note: Mechanical Engineering is often considered the broadest of engineering disciplines, with overlap into many of the other existing engineering disciplines, including Civil, Electrical, and Chemical Engineering.

Primary Areas of Specialization:

  1. Solid Mechanics (analyzing the behavior of solid bodies subjected to external loads, stress, and/or vibrations and using that information in the design and manufacture/construction of such bodies)
  2. Fluid Mechanics (analyzing the behavior of liquids and gases and using that knowledge in the design and development of machinery and systems that can and/or do influence that behavior – pumps, fans, turbines, piping systems, etc.)
  3. Thermodynamics (analyzing the conversion one form of energy into another and using that knowledge to design and develop energy conversion devices and systems – power plants, engines, Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, etc.)
  4. Mechanical Design (covering the full range of mechanical-based products and systems)

Nuclear Engineering (Nuce)

Overall Focus: All engineering applications of nuclear/radioactive materials.

Primary Areas of Specialization:

  1. Nuclear Power (including both nuclear power plants and nuclear-driven engines in submarines and spacecraft).
  2. Nuclear Weapons Systems.
  3. Radiation Sciences / Radiological Engineering (use of radioactive materials for medical or industrial applications)

Petroleum Engineering (Petroe)

Overall Focus:

The identification, extraction, storage, and tansportation of crude oil and natural gas.

Note: Processing (refining) crude oil is in realm of Chemical Engineering

Primary Areas of Specialization:

  1. Identification and Estimation of Crude Oil and Natural Gas Reserves
  2. Land-Based Well Drilling Equipment/Facilities and Operations
  3. Offshore Well Drilling Equipment/Facilities and Operations
  4. Storage and Transportation Equipment/Facilities and Operations

Systems Engineering (Syse)

Overall Focus:

Ensuring the successful development and operation of large and complex engineered systems (such as transportation, communication, water/food distribution, and defense systems)

What are the Steps to Becoming a Professional Engineer?

Now that you have expressed interest in engineering, what are the steps to achieving your dream?

Step One: Good grades in Mathematics and the Sciences in Secondary School

As mentioned above, engineers use their knowledge of mathematics and the basic sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) to solve problems. You must therefore ensure  that you earn good grades in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry at the Senior Secondary School Examinations or ordinary-level examinations conducted by Nigerian Examination Council (NECO), General Certificate Examination (GCE) or any other qualification approved by the university you are interested in attending.

Step Two: Engineering Programmes in University

This involves gaining admission into an accredited engineering programme by the National University Commission (NUC) as well as the Council for the Registration of Engineering (COREN). ‘Accredited engineering programme’ means that the programme has been evaluated by both National Universities Commission (NUC) and Council of Registered Engineers in Nigeria (COREN) and found to meet the standards set by the engineering profession. This process ensures that the students who graduate from an accredited programme have the technical, design and requisite hands-on skills to begin a career in engineering.

For more notes; see:


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