Engineering jobs in global development: What you need to know

By Ma. Eliza Villarino 22 March 2016

Members of the Penn State chapter of Engineers Without Borders lead Covenant Preparatory School students in a basic engineering activity building structures out of straws. In international development, opportunities abound for people with an engineering background. Photo by: Penn State / CC BY-NC

In international development, opportunities abound for people with an engineering background. Roles can range from overseeing a bridge construction project in a post-conflict country to expanding telecommunications in a rural area to designing an innovative solution to a water and sanitation challenge.

In essence, engineers can fit into different roles not only because of their skills but also because of their problem-solving mindset.

“Engineering is ultimately about problem solving and that's why we need engineers in all kinds of organizations,” said Khanjan Mehta, founding director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program and assistant professor of engineering design at the Pennsylvania State University.

Demand for engineers is growing in certain sectors. Competent water engineers will always find work as the resource is gets scarce, and there is also an increasing need for engineers in climate change and energy sectors. Read on to see who hires engineers, trends impacting career opportunities in global development and tips for breaking into this growing sector.

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About the author

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Ma. Eliza VillarinoDevexElizaJV

Currently based in New York City, Eliza is a veteran journalist focused on covering the most pressing issues and latest innovations in global health, humanitarian aid, sustainability and development. A member of Mensa, Eliza has earned a master's degree in public affairs and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.

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