Why choose from five great engineering concentrations when contemplating a career? The developed world now enjoys comfort and abundance to a degree never known before. Many factors deserve credit for this: political freedom, economic prosperity and educational opportunity to name a few. While these concepts and values undergird this agreeable lifestyle, it is people that make them work. Among the laborers who drive the progress that brings wealth are engineers. From the pyramids to iPhone apps, engineers were there, envisioning schema and working through obstacles. Students accomplished in math and science can choose to be among these originators.

1. Civil Engineering

Civil engineering might be the most glamorous of five great engineering concentrations because its fruits are there for all to see. Highways, bridges, seaway locks and airports are visibly used on a daily basis. Civil engineers design, and other forms of public infrastructure, often supervise the construction of them. In addition, civil engineers plan and lay out public utilities like water works, sewage treatment plants and dams. Politicians may argue about how much money should be earmarked for infrastructure improvement but civil engineers make those restorations happen. This makes it one of the five great engineering concentrations.

2. Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is a sub-discipline with great breadth. In short, mechanical engineers design machines. What exactly, though, does that mean? It could mean a valve in the cooling system of an automobile, or it might mean an oxygen supply conveyance system in the space shuttle. It also may simply be the toner delivery in a laser printer. Mechanical engineers can find employment in almost any industry that involves manufacturing, which is good news to anyone considering five great engineering concentrations. From prosthetic devices to waste management systems to combine harvesters, mechanical engineers are on the job.

3. Chemical Engineering

If mechanical engineering is marked by breadth, then chemical engineering is a specialty of depth. Specifically, chemical engineers delve into the molecular and atomic realms of materials and substances. There is a demand for more durable materials, and an equal demand for more flexible materials, in many different industries, including electronics, pharmaceutical development, athletic equipment and biotechnology. To serve these interests, chemical engineers analyze, synthesize and reconstruct materials, making them more useful and stable. This is intricate and complicated work. A strong background in chemistry, biology and physics makes the rigorous curriculum of chemical engineering more manageable.

4. Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers concern themselves with the generation, use and management of electricity. Designing circuits; getting current to a microchip; designing a better battery; or building a power plant generator are all within the focus of electrical engineering. What distinguishes this specialty from the other five great engineering concentrations is that consumers are most familiar with its results: light bulbs, televisions, induction motors and radios. Of course, there are many breakthroughs since those inventions. Still, it is such innovations as these that radically changed lifestyles for the better.

5. Software Engineering

A more recent addition to the five great engineering concentrations is software engineering. Professionals in this field apply engineering principles to computer science, designing software for operating systems, network management and myriad applications. They are expert coders, who write software that direct computer functions. Moreover, they create algorithms and data structures that maintain program performance and troubleshoot errors.

Related Resource: What Careers are Available with an Electrical Engineering Degree?

Engineering is so diverse today that many other fields are open to interested students: nuclear engineering, agricultural engineering, environmental engineering and naval engineering, to name a few. Yet the core of the profession can be learned in these five great engineering concentrations.