Engineering Is Cool

By Dr. Yeap Gik Hong

Imagine a world without engineers; there would be no electronic gadgets, bridges, modern transportation, entertainment systems, telecommunication systems, electricity, and so on. Therefore, Engineering is a discipline, art, and profession that takes science and uses it to produce “things”. 

Engineering also lays the foundation for modern life through designing, analyzing, manufacturing, maintaining, and operating everything we need in our daily lives by delivering the solutions required to sustain and protect human society’s existence and way of life. 

Comparing engineers and scientists, scientists attempt to learn about the universe, while engineers attempt to apply that knowledge to accomplish useful things. In general, 

Scientists discover, engineers apply, and DO!

Scientists theorize, engineers create

Engineers = Applied Scientists

Engineering Professions in Malaysia

There are many engineering professions that one can choose from but the professions that are most popular in Malaysia are the ones highlighted in bold red font in Figure 1 below. There are also up-and-coming engineering jobs in the area of research and development.

Figure 1: Engineering Professions

Engineering plays a key role in supporting the growth and development of a country’s economy as well as improving the quality of life for its citizens. Indeed, engineers are crucial in helping a nation achieve developed nation status. 

The engineer to population ratio for developed nations is typically in the vicinity of 1:100. Therefore, Malaysia, which holds aspirations to be a developed economy, needs approximately 320,000 engineers given that it has a population in excess of 32 million. 

Based on the Education Ministry’s statistics from 1997 to 2017, the average number of engineers produced per year by local institutions of higher learning – excluding graduates from foreign universities – is about 16,000. 

The cumulative total of all engineers produced from 1997 to 2017 is estimated to be about 341,109. It may appear at first glance that the number of engineers produced is sufficient for Malaysia, but in recent years with the lower numbers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students at the secondary level, fewer students are studying engineering at a tertiary education level. 

While this does not bode well for the industrial sector, it does mean that engineering graduates are assured of a range of career options upon graduation.


Why do students choose engineering?

Engineering may not be the easiest course to study, but many students across the globe elect to study engineering. They recognize that it is also cool to study engineering. Why is that so? 

Engineering is versatile 

Well, first of all, engineering can be applied within every industry — medical, F&B, design, pharmaceutical, healthcare, etc. 

Engineering has breadth

It’s easy for engineers to switch careers at a later stage of their careers because they’re very analytical and easy to train. If they want to go into consultancy, planning, finance, or investment, they can pick it up with some training. 

But the reverse is not true. Non-engineers will find it hard to switch to this profession.  Engineering also sets the pace of change with the development of supercomputers, high-speed communication, higher efficiency integrated circuits, advancement in the industrial revolution, and so on. 

Engineering improves the world

The engineering field empowers the world via the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity to residential, commercial, and industrial areas. In the area of energy supply, the focus on generating sustainable electricity has increased rapidly in recent years. 

Engineers can also be entrepreneurs, or what is termed “technopreneurs”. A well-known Malaysian technopreneur is the “father of the pendrive”, Mr. Pua Khein Seng. Engineers also get involved in research and development to help companies break through to the next level of innovation. 


Engineering graduates are highly demanded in the current job market. The demand for qualified, skilled graduates outstrips the supply, many companies are struggling to find recruits for vacancies, both locally and globally. 

International Opportunities

With an engineering degree, you will have the opportunity to work overseas as well. Based on Talent Corp’s Critical Occupation List (COL), the highest demand for engineers are in the civil, mechanical, electrical, and chemical disciplines. 

The COL is a set of occupations in demand that identifies the skills imbalance across 18 economic sectors in Malaysia. 2019/2020 COL has 58 occupations listed. Among the 58 COL occupations, almost 40% of them are engineering-related occupations as follow:

1321 Manufacturing Manager

1323 Construction Manager

2141 Industrial and Production Engineer

2142 Civil Engineer

2144 Mechanical Engineer

2146 Mining Engineer, Metallurgist, and Related Professional

2149 Engineering Professional (Excluding Electrotechnology) Not Elsewhere Classified

2151 Electrical Engineer

2152 Electronic Engineer

2153 Telecommunications Engineers

2182 Manufacturing Professional

3112 Civil Engineering Technician

3113 Electrical Engineering Technician

3115 Mechanical Engineering Technician

3119 Physical and Engineering Science Technician Not Elsewhere Classified

3122 Manufacturing Supervisor

3123 Construction Supervisor

7211 Metal Moulder and Coremaker

7222 Toolmakers and Related Workers

7233 Agricultural and Industrial Machinery Mechanic and Repairer

7412 Electrical Mechanic and Fitter

8182 Steam Engine and Boiler Operator

8189 Stationary Plant and Machine Operator Not Elsewhere Classified

Not to mention, the entry-level remuneration packages of engineers are amongst the highest when compared to graduates from other fields. Apart from excellent employability and attractive salary, other benefits of being an engineer include career progression, management opportunities, world-wide travel and employment opportunities, etc. Being an engineer, one also has the enduring benefit though knowing that one can also make a difference in terms of social and economic perspectives. 

How to become an engineer?

Engineers address technological issues by applying scientific and mathematical concepts. Civil, environmental, chemical, mechanical, electrical, and petroleum engineers are among the disciplines in which they operate.

Most disciplines of engineering need strong math and scientific abilities. You will be successful in this career if you have a solid foundation in science and math, as well as specific soft skills. Nevertheless, here is what you can do to become an engineer in Malaysia:

  • As stated above, you have a solid foundation in science and math, preferably an A in both subjects.
  • You then must first complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering with a major in the branch you want to work in.
  • Register yourself as an engineer with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) in order to legally practice engineering in Malaysia either as a graduate engineer (GE), or professional engineer (Ir. PE), or a professional engineer with a practicing certificate (Ir. PEPC).
  • To register as a GE, you must have completed an engineering degree that has been certified by the Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC) or one of the Washington Accord signatory countries.
  • After that, in order to become a PE, you must have worked as a GE for at least three years. To show your engineering proficiency, you must then pass the Professional Assessment Examination (PAE) or the Professional Interview (PI).
  • To become a PEPC, you must first obtain your PE status, then pass the infamous Professional Competency Examination (PCE) to show your competency and ability as Submitting Persons to Local Authorities for CCC (Certificate of Completion and Compliance) and to legally establish engineering consultancy activities (ECP).

Engineering career pathways

To obtain an engineering degree, you have to go through a few stages.

Requirements for engineering diploma

The following are the general criteria for obtaining a Diploma in Engineering:

  • Most tertiary institutions will require a minimum 3Cs in SPM (or equivalent), including Mathematics and a Science subject, as well as a pass in English.

Requirements for an engineering degree

You must complete a diploma, pre-university, or foundation program and fulfill the admission criteria to pursue a degree in engineering. Remember that admission criteria defer according to different universities. The general criteria are as follows:

  • A Levels: Minimum 2Ds including Mathematics and Physics
  • STPM: Minimum 2Cs including Mathematics and Physics
  • Australian Matriculation: Minimum ATAR 65.0 including a minimum of 65% for Mathematics and Physics
  • Foundation in Science or Engineering: Minimum CGPA of 2.00
  • Diploma in Engineering: Minimum CGPA of 2.00

Engineering Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programs

You can choose to further your studies after obtaining your diploma. With an engineering degree, you will have more career opportunities and it comes with a much higher employability rate than a diploma. UOW Malaysia KDU has a variety of undergraduate programs to offer:

While engineers may live well with only a bachelor’s degree, a postgraduate qualification allows them to advance faster in their careers, earn more money, change careers more readily, and work on projects that they are enthusiastic about. UOW Malaysia KDU has a few postgraduate programs that may be suitable for you. The list is as follows:


As explained above, engineering is a cool field to continue your academic pathway in. Engineers are in high demand and if you think this is the right field for you, send your enquiries here. We would be glad to help you in any way we can!


19 July 2021


Science and Technology