Engineering is a lucrative profession. Not only can engineers expect to become millionaires, but most of the world’s millionaires actually have engineering degrees. Of course, not everyone who completes that credential will start with a seven-figure salary, but many of the world’s successful entrepreneurs have an engineering background.
Research Shows Engineering Is a High-Paying Profession
An April 2014 survey by Chef found most engineers fully expect to become millionaires. In the poll of 1,000 software engineers, 56 percent saw the seven-figure wealth at some point in their future, and 69 percent described their role as “recession-proof.” While this may sound like bravado, it turns out that engineers are valued not just for their technical skills but their ability to drive innovation. According to CNBC, venture capital firms look more positively upon startups founded and run by engineers, while in the past, business development and sales expertise was more important.
A global survey conducted in 2013 by WealthInsight and Spear’s provides further evidence that engineering credentials lead to financial independence. Engineering degrees produce more millionaires than those in law, business, accounting and finance, although those areas are also lucrative. WealthInsight looked at 70,000 millionaires in 200 countries and discovered an interesting phenomenon: Most wealthy engineers are actually entrepreneurs — their wealth does not come directly from the practice of their profession.
Big Names in Industry Have Engineering Backgrounds
Many of the world’s wealthiest people have engineering degrees. They didn’t make their millions just by writing code, however. They transitioned from technical roles or used their engineering backgrounds to support their success as leaders in technology and business. Three such examples are highly regarded titans of industry.
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Michael Bloomberg is one of America’s wealthiest men and a billionaire several times over. The former mayor of New York got his start in an investment firm, but according to Business Insider, he holds a degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins and an MBA from Harvard.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin met while they were studying computer engineering at Stanford University. Page already had an engineering degree from the University of Michigan. Page’s mother taught computer programming and his father was an expert on artificial intelligence. Together, Page and Brin created Google in 1998. The men became billionaires when the company went public in 2004.
Sundar Pichai is the son of an electrical engineer. He received a B. Tech in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology. He went on to get an MS in materials science and semiconductor physics at Stanford University and an MBA from the Wharton School. He joined Google in 2004 and was instrumental in the development of Google’s own browser, Chrome. Pichai was named Google CEO in August 2015 after the company created a new parent entity called Alphabet. Pichai has an estimated net worth of more than $600 million.
Making a Million Without Being an Entrepreneur
Starting a business may be one path to parlay your engineering credential into a million-dollar net worth. But even if you don’t want to become an entrepreneur, you can still use sound investments and discipline to build up your bank account. Many people describe a life where they live modestly, make smart use of their money and find their worth builds up over time. It’s a strategy that is not unique to engineers, but given that engineers are valued in many industries, they can expect to have regular employment that will give them a leg up in the long run.
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