Engineering careers in retail: Yes, they do exist

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By James Daniels, freelance writer.

Engineers play a very important role in business, but one area that many people don’t consider when they think about engineering is retail.  Surprisingly, there are a few career options for engineers who want to work in the retail industry.  Engineers can help to refit stores, they can help with a business expansion, they can help to make stores more eco-friendly, and they also work on designing new equipment that can be used in a store environment.

Your first graduate job

After completing a bachelor’s in engineering, you will need to take on some practical work experience.  Most graduates apply for the accredited engineering graduate program, which typically gives them access to two years as a graduate apprentice.  During this time, you will gain experience in your chosen field (in this case, retail), and you will learn more about the industry as a whole.  Following this, you will be taught practical skills that will help you move on to larger projects.

Career development

As you gain experience in retail engineering, you will be exposed to other engineering sectors, such as mechanical and civil engineering.  You may decide you really enjoy a specific branch of engineering and want to take a master’s degree to study it further.  If you just enjoy everything in the industry, though, you can take a standard online masters in engineering degree.  Not only will this give you a more in-depth knowledge of the field but it will also teach you leadership qualities that you can use on the job. 

The masters in engineering course is widely available, and many universities, such as the University of California Riverside, also offer students the option to study online.  This is ideal for those who want to continue gaining work experience without having to put further education on hold.  And, many master’s graduates move on to senior executive management positions upon graduating, so there’s definitely an incentive to going ahead and completing your course.

 

The skills you need for success

Okay, so you’ve completed your degree and possibly also obtained your master's qualification, and you’ve completed a period of work experience too.  But, do you need any specific skills in order to be successful in retail engineering?  The answer is yes.

Successful engineers have good communication skills, good interpersonal skills, good leadership skills, and good technical skills.  They need to be able to think practically and methodically, yet also be flexible when the situation demands it.  They also need to be able to hold themselves in a practical manner at all times.  And, like the rest of the retail industry, retail engineers may be required to work unusual hours.

The retail engineering industry is constantly changing as new technologies are developed and new retail innovations are created.  However, this is what makes it an exciting industry.  If you have always wanted to work in retail, but aren’t keen on the customer facing side, studying for a degree in engineering could be the best thing you ever do.

About the author

James Daniels is a freelance writer, and describes himself as a business enthusiast, "a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek". He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics

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