Everything you need to know about engineering studies: prices, opportunities, programs

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Definition: what is an engineer?

An engineer is the basis for the design of industrial consumer products. Its function is to develop technologies to improve everyday life. Thus, an engineer is responsible for the design and realization of goods, systems or services. He officiates in many sectors:

  • Transport
  • Environment
  • Agriculture
  • Public works
  • Finance
  • Energy
  • Computer Science
  • Aeronautics
  • Health

Its role is not limited to a technical aspect. His mission is also to take care of marketing, as well as team management. In many cases, its scope of action extends to the international level. This is why the skills of an engineer are very broad and cover several areas (Management, Communication, management…).

Throughout their career, engineers must be able to keep up with technological and industrial developments in order to maintain their leadership and adapt to social and environmental changes. As he gains professional experience, his duties may evolve towards new responsibilities:

  • Project Manager
  • Director of Human Resources
  • General Manager
  • Financial Director…

What are the different types of engineers that exist?

In a large majority of sectors, engineers play a major role in technical, environmental and IT areas. The training offered covers a wide range of possible orientations. The sectors of activity recruiting engineers are numerous. Here are some typical profiles:

  • Mechanical engineer: in constant contact with other trades (Design, Marketing) He is in charge of the study and development of a mechanical assembly, until its production.
  • Quality engineer: He provides companies with his expertise on all stages of the industrial chain. Its objective is to respect strict specifications concerning the safety and conformity of a product.
  • Logistics engineer: A central element of a company, he or she ensures that the production chain runs smoothly. He supervises each step, from the purchase of raw materials to the delivery of the product.
  • Civil engineer: A true project manager, his objective is to supervise major works such as building construction or restoration.
  • Telecoms engineer : Very much involved in new technologies, his mission is to develop modern communication techniques (internet, mobile telephony, optical fiber…)

Why become an engineer?

Choosing engineering gives you direct access to all sectors of industry and business. This versatility makes the position particularly attractive, especially since the unemployment rate in this sector is among the lowest in the market. The wide range of training courses means that there are many opportunities and employability is guaranteed as soon as you leave school. The engineering profession allows for great autonomy and flexibility. Thus, it is not uncommon for an engineer to follow his or her desires by moving from one field to another during his or her career.

How to become an engineer? (studies, integrate a training…)

In France, there are about 200 engineering schools, independent or attached to universities. Admission to a school can take place after obtaining the baccalaureate (more than a quarter), in an integrated preparatory program or two years after obtaining it. The S baccalaureate is recommended to enter the sector but the L and ES series are very common among professionals.

  • La première approche est la classe préparatoire. Deux à trois années sont nécessaires pour préparer son entrée en école d’ingénieur. En plus de la préparation aux concours,  de nombreux enseignements pratiques seront prodigués (projets industriels, stage en entreprise, cours technologiques…). Les bacheliers de filières générales ont cinq choix d’orientation proposés :
    • BCPST  – biologie, chimie, physique et sciences de la terre)
    • PSI – Physics and Engineering Science
    • PC – Physics and Chemistry
    • MP – Mathematics and Physics
    • PT – Physics and Technology
  • The STL and STI baccalaureate holders have a choice of technological courses of study:
    • TSI – Technology, industrial sciences
    • TPC – Technology, Physics and Chemistry
  • Suite aux classes préparatoires, il est alors possible de tenter les concours des        écoles d’ingénieurs souhaitées.  On en trouve de nombreux, et ils sont cumulables pour maximiser ses chances :
    • Minespont
    • AvenirPrépas
    • G2E
    • CPGE
    • Centrale Supélec…
  • Parallel admission is offered to university graduates as well as to those with a BAC +2, +3 or +4. Holders of a BTS, DUT or even a Bachelor’s degree can thus join the first year of the engineering school cycle via the various competitive exams. The second year will require candidates to have a validated Master’s degree. Once in the school, refresher courses are offered to facilitate the adaptation of students from different backgrounds.

Depending on the direction they choose, young graduates can choose to enter the job market or continue their studies, via a doctorate for example.

How long does it take to become an engineer?

It takes motivation and patience to become an engineer. The vast majority of schools admit students with BAC+1. Some start in the first year, others can enter directly into the second year depending on their initial training and their experience. Others are offered “bridge semesters” and complete their first semester over 6 months. This is why admissions are made on a case-by-case basis, after rigorous study of applications and prior interviews. It will take between 4 and 5 years to complete your training to become an engineer.

What type of engineering does ECE train for?

The ECE school trains students in general and high tech fields thanks to many programs specialized in digital technologies. For his cycle, the student can choose among a major technological discipline:

  • Information systems
  • Transport and mobility
  • Embedded systems
  • Finance and quantitative engineering
  • Health and technology
  • Energy and environment
  • Connected objects…

And a professional minor:

  • Business engineering
  • Project management
  • Marketing of innovation
  • Consulting professions
  • Digital creation professions
  • Aeronautics
  • Big data
  • Robotics…

What are the salaries of engineers?

Unlike other professional fields, the engineering profession has seen an increase in income since the pandemic. On average, the income has increased from 57,500 euros gross per year in 2019 to 58900 euros gross per year today. This represents more than executives (50,000 euros gross per year) and more than the median French salary (2,723 euros gross per year).


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Updated 2 January 2024