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Do engineers usually work for companies or do they usually have their own business?

#engineering #engineer

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Jessica’s Answer

Hi Geraldy,

I'm an Industrial Engineer (which does not require a Professional Engineer license or PE like Mechanical or Civil Engineers need to be), but in my experience it varies. I've had friends that were Civil or Petroleum Engineers that did own their own businesses and ones that work for large and small companies. Given the requirements to become a Professional Engineer (testing, hours working with a licensed PE, etc.) I believe most engineers start out working with a company to meet the licensing requirements then can branch out on their own if they want to. You can also study engineering and then start a business where you don't need to be a PE (something that doesn't require the approval or oversight of a PE).

Hope this helps!

Jess
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Ritu’s Answer

I am a software engineer. In this domain you can work for companies or can work in other areas.
Please check a few open options.
1) Work for Information Technology or other departments in banking, telecom, pharma, retail, etc. domains.
2) Once you gain good experience, you can open your own business/start-up company, provided you have innovative ideas.
3) Work as a professor in colleges
+ there are more open options

Good Luck!
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Drew’s Answer

When I graduated from a five year engineering program leading to the Master of Engineering Environmental Engineering degree, I went to work for EPA for twelve years. During that time I became a licensed Professional Engineer. There is an exemption from license requirements for industry, government and utility employees. Otherwise engineers must be licensed as professional engineers to practice engineering. Engineering under state laws means "the art and science known as engineering by which the mechanical properties of matter are made useful to man in structures and machines and shall include any professional service, such as consultation, investigation, planning, evaluation, designing or responsible supervision of construction or operation, in processes, woks or projects, where in the public welfare or the safeguarding of life, health or property in concerned or involved, when such professional service requires the application of engineering principles and data and training in the application of mathematical and physical sciences." Anyone who does any of the above without qualifying for one of the exemptions breaks the law and can be penalized.

I have been in private practice since 1988 and love it. My projects are varying and always interesting. I encourage anyone interested in owning their own engineering business to learn while working under one of the industry exemptions, then once you are sure there is a market for your particular skill set, go for it.

Drew recommends the following next steps:

Review the engieering law in your state
Get some business experience. I earned my MBA while at EPA and funded by EPA.
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Brayden’s Answer

Hello. From my experience as a mechanical engineer its pretty rare to find one that works solely by ones self. The main reason for this is because in many cases it takes more than a single engineer in order to complete a project. I do know there are jobs (they are limited) where you serve as a contractor and when companies need support or expertise in something they can hire you on. This usually pertains to disciplines such as environmental engineering or nuclear engineering where a single contractor is only needed for a limited amount of time.

In disciplines such as civil engineering its more common to find professional engineers (PE's) where they are certified to sign off on on building drawings and such. In this case I would say they can definitely own their own business but they are limited.

Hopefully this answers your question!
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Wellington’s Answer

It all depends on where your at in your career. Many engineers get their start and consulting firms or with public agencies. Eventually as they grow in their career, some individuals make the decision to start their own companies especially if they have developed a specific skill set that makes them very marketable which creates a strong business model. Keep in mind if your the type of person who likes the stability and comfort of working for a larger organization then maybe starting your own business isnt the way to go. Know yourself, but if you have that entrepreneurial spirit then develop a plan to push your career in that direction.
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