Working in engineering can be exhilarating and a dream come true for you. Now that you’ve spent a few years in the field, you might be asking yourself what’s next. Maybe you want something different that will allow you to spend more time with your children, or maybe you’re realizing that your calling is elsewhere.
The beauty of being an engineer is that you can pivot in so many directions. Employers tend to trust engineers, even for positions where it isn’t the exact qualification needed. That’s because engineers are known for their analytical minds, which makes them natural administrators and problem solvers. Let’s take a look at some career options you could consider as a mom in engineering.
One of the top positions for an engineer mom is an operational manager, and the best way to get there is through an MBA. This is probably one of the best degrees that you can get as an engineer and a mom for various reasons. For one, engineers are highly sought after as general and engineering managers once they get the MBA. If you want to learn more about why getting an MBA is so important for general managers, we suggest you check out this post.
General manager is also one of the highest paying and high-demand positions for MBAs at the moment. General operations managers have a median income of $100,780 as of May 2020, and engineering managers can make as much as $144,830 per year.
But one of the reasons why the MBA is such a good option for working moms is that it’s one of the best programs to get online. You won’t miss a single beat, yet you’ll get pretty much all the perks of a traditional MBA, but from the comfort of your home.
You could decide to take your classes on a set schedule or on your own time depending on the program and you’ll have ready access to teaching staff and other students. You’ll be able to condense your classes if you want to get your qualifications as soon as possible or stretch them out so you’re not worried about your work/life balance.
Engineers make some of the best candidates for MBAs and also have a clear advantage once they enter the business world. It’s one thing to be able to manage employees, but actually understanding the infrastructure and technology you’re working with will allow you to get much more involved and have a say in virtually every decision that gets made in a company.
This is a great choice if you want to be more on the human side of engineering and help raise the next generation of engineers. This is also a great position if you want to have a steadier schedule.
Mothers often make great teachers; they know how to reach consensus and vulgarize complex concepts. They also tend to be patient and have a knack for reading moods and personality types. These are all things that will be essential to you as a teacher.
Engineers can work as instructors or professors with a bachelor’s program. There are also many public-school positions that are open, though you might need to take additional courses. While you don’t need a master’s or a doctorate to work as a college professor, it is definitely a plus.
Working as a consultant is a great option for moms. It allows you to set your own hours and only work when you need to. You could take 1 or 2 assignments per week if that’s enough to cover your needs. This is also a chance to move from the purely technical side of things to something more human.
There is always a demand for engineering consultants. Many companies will have them come over to inspect their plants, for instance, or they may need someone to source and install machinery for them. Note that you will need some technical expertise if you want to be successful as a consultant and significant experience as a working engineer, so you might want to look at getting a degree in consulting to refine your skills.
Working as a technical writer is another great option for engineer parents who’d like to spend more time close to home. As a technical writer, you may be asked to work with all sorts of publications, like magazines, blogs, or research organizations.
Another great thing about working as a technical writer is independence. You could decide to work for an employer on a salary basis, or you could decide to work for yourself. This can be achieved with your own blog, for instance. Or, you could work as a ghostwriter – this is another area where you’ll be free to set your own schedule and your own rates.
Supply Chain Management
Supply chain managers play a very important role and make sure the products get from supplier to manufacturer to customer for the right price, at the right time, and with minimal issues. A supply chain manager will need to pay close attention to production lines, raw materials, logistics, and manufacturing processes to improve efficiency and production.
This is a great option for those who want a change of air and to work in industry. Engineers make for great supply chain managers, and many employers will favor someone who has an engineering background for manager jobs. This is a job that requires a combination of soft and technical skills, and the best candidates are the ones who have good interpersonal skills in addition to their skills as engineers.
They have to introduce new procedures and make sure that everyone is on board. They also have to be able to explain complex issues in simple terms. These are all things that mothers tend to be equipped for. Supply chain managers also have to be the link between executives and the floor, which makes them invaluable for any interdisciplinary team.
These are all great career options you could consider as a mom engineer. Many of these either allow you to have a flexible schedule or play on your strengths, so make sure that you consider all of them and the path it takes to score a position.