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Environmental engineering vs environmental chemistry: which tends to have more...?

job opportunities in general and part-time work opportunities (I presume part-time employment is not widespread in either field but, nevertheless, is one a bit better than the other when it comes to this?)?

Any other particular advice with regards to choosing between these two lines of work?
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 1
Original post by kelpic
job opportunities in general and part-time work opportunities (I presume part-time employment is not widespread in either field but, nevertheless, is one a bit better than the other when it comes to this?)?

Any other particular advice with regards to choosing between these two lines of work?


If you have an interest in sustainability and renewable energy, I would still advise to pick a core engineering undergraduate degree. Maybe pick specific modules or projects tied to your interests..

Mechanical or electrical engineering will broaden your options. You can continue to specialise further at masters and PhD level. Don’t limit your options early on, it’s likely you’ll discover new roles, interests, and career paths during your studies.
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by Chris2892
If you have an interest in sustainability and renewable energy, I would still advise to pick a core engineering undergraduate degree. Maybe pick specific modules or projects tied to your interests..

Mechanical or electrical engineering will broaden your options. You can continue to specialise further at masters and PhD level. Don’t limit your options early on, it’s likely you’ll discover new roles, interests, and career paths during your studies.


Do you work in the environmental/sustainability sector yourself then? What sort of role?

And no particular thoughts on environmental chemistry?
Reply 3
Original post by kelpic
Do you work in the environmental/sustainability sector yourself then? What sort of role?

And no particular thoughts on environmental chemistry?


I’ve not worked for an energy company, but I’ve been in the engineering industry 12 years. Sustainability is usually a hot topic regardless these days. It’s typically accompanied by cost savings.

Science and engineering are completely different. As a scientist you’re looking at establishing principles and relationships tied to sustainability and efficiency. As an engineer you would be looking to applying those relationships and principles to real world applications.

The question is, what specific type of role are you wanting. It factors on your career path. Do you want to be doing the front end research, creating new technologies, overseeing application in some form, or to be more hands on with application?

If you want to be on the ground working with physical solutions, a more specific environmental undergraduate degree may be more suitable. Whereas creating solutions would be more suited to a generalised undergraduates degree and then honing in on environmental science/engineering at post graduate degree and PhD level.
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 4
Original post by Chris2892
I’ve not worked for an energy company, but I’ve been in the engineering industry 12 years. Sustainability is usually a hot topic regardless these days. It’s typically accompanied by cost savings.

Science and engineering are completely different. As a scientist you’re looking at establishing principles and relationships tied to sustainability and efficiency. As an engineer you would be looking to applying those relationships and principles to real world applications.

The question is, what specific type of role are you wanting. It factors on your career path. Do you want to be doing the front end research, creating new technologies, overseeing application in some form, or to be more hands on with application?

If you want to be on the ground working with physical solutions, a more specific environmental undergraduate degree may be more suitable. Whereas creating solutions would be more suited to a generalised undergraduates degree and then honing in on environmental science/engineering at post graduate degree and PhD level.


I also meant to ask, is there much opportunity for engineers to do part-time and locum work?
Reply 5
Original post by kelpic
I also meant to ask, is there much opportunity for engineers to do part-time and locum work?


There is, but the business need is usually associated with following:
specific skill set required for a fixed duration and usually funded by a project (contractor)
specific skill set required at limited capacity (part time employee)
business STEM outreach initiative - exposing students to industry to help develop potential future leaders. (Work experience, Student placement, or intern)

So you can see part time engineer roles are typically only for those with unique skills needed to fulfil business needs. The part time contractors I work with are the only people who can do what they do within the company, but those skills aren’t needed at the company long term. They are paid a lot more though.
Even for maternity or sick leave cover, you want the part time employee to jump straight into doing the work, not spending half of it training. They will also be experienced.

note. Experience = work experience, not degree level/type. Competency as an engineer is gained with proven success completing engineering work on time, to spec, and to budget.

I know I’ve thrown a lot at you here.
hope it helps
Original post by kelpic
I also meant to ask, is there much opportunity for engineers to do part-time and locum work?

If you're working for a consultancy (e.g. Arup, Atkins, WSP, etc.) there may be opportunities for part-time work. There is no locum as such, but you can become self-employed (i.e. become what is known as a contractor) and work short duration contracts - if such contracts are available. But if you take that route you'd need to be regularly on the lookout for such contracts and be prepared to spend (possibly significant) periods of time without work.

Note that part-time and contracting is typically only available for more experienced people. Contractors in particular are expected to hit the ground running. Not likely to be an issue to someone with the required level of experience, but it is going to take a while to reach that level. Also note that due to changes to IR35 legislation, contracting is probably less common and lucrative than it used to be.

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