Green grass

Careers in green engineering

As the world continues to embrace everything ‘green’, we’ll see the rise in green engineering job opportunities surge in areas such as renewable energy, clean tech and green IT.

No matter what field you currently find yourself in, whether it’s engineering, information technology or any other computer science-related area, a majority of sectors will experience the trend of ‘going green’ in upcoming years. Explore which career you can best plug yourself into, as we consider the areas where there is currently great demand.

Renewable technology engineers

The entry-level positions offered tend to be office based. These jobs allow for mentoring opportunities from senior and mid-level employees, and are generally designed to assist in the project management of various feasibility and installation projects relating to solar, wind, and biofuel.

What are some important characteristics for a career in renewable technology? Academic or work experience in a renewable energy or engineering field, energy or construction environment is generally preferred, but not essential, as advanced training for academic candidates is usually implemented as part of being a trainee on the job.

Environmental engineers

Environmental engineers with safety or environmental engineering experience will generally lead safety and engineering teams on various projects. Doing so will provide essential safety and environmental expertise within any department.

Environmental engineering roles can be found in the oil, gas and petrochemical by-products industry, environmental auditing, and industrial cleanup efforts.

Typical work activities might include visiting and assessing various sites, tendering for projects, gaining resource consent for proposed structures or repairs and communicating relevant issues to other staff and public stakeholders.

Solar engineering

Work in photovoltaics and solar engineering are currently hot topics within the European Union.

As a scientist, you will need a broad-based education, especially at the Bachelor of Science (BS) level. At the post-bachelor level you would want, at minimum, to have a degree in physics or engineering, but sub-specialities are what you would be doing at a Master’s level.

This area in particular is projected to do the best in countries with a stronger, sunnier climate than that of Britain’s – although wind and tidal power are two areas that have been mentioned as strong performers for the UK engineering sector. If you are looking to start a career abroad, the solar engineering sector may be your international opportunity. 

Thermal engineering

Jobs as thermal engineers or field-ready power generation engineers are highly specialised, and employers will consider prior work experience candidates.

You could, as a thermal engineer, be ultimately responsible for performance testing and monitoring at the site or company where you find work. Recent job postings to our site have required successful candidates to join teams who are involved with highly-evolved state-of-the-art projects.

Green apprenticeships 

Many prominent European firms have begun announcing green apprenticeship schemes this month, as 7-11 February marked the UK’s National Apprentice Week. Particularly exciting is the opening of 36 new apprenticeships for wind power service technicians, a development announced this week by Siemens UK, reflecting the international firm’s focus on meeting the growing need for skills in renewables and other areas of the low carbon economy.

Green any career!

Having a green career is not just about working in green engineering or clean tech. In any position you find yourself in, don’t be afraid to green your workplace: green your office environment by going paperless, your commute by cycling to work, or even your wardrobe by purchasing organic. Embracing your green principles in the workplace could inspire your co-workers to do the same.

You could also suggest green alternatives or add a green component to a particular project you are working on. Just because the company or organisation you work for does not classify as “green” does not mean you can’t be a green engineer or technologist – real environmental change can happen at any level.

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