ALTERNATIVES: When the topic of engineering is put up for discussion, there is an assumption that the discussion is about the mainstream fields in engineering which is civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and electronic engineering. Engineering is a wide field and there exists, for those who know not about these specific fields, other interesting fields that are as important as the mainstream engineering fields.
Environmental engineering is an important field that employs science and engineering to study and improve natural and urban environments. Environmental engineers are experts in land, air and water and their task is to control pollution levels and maintain the sustainability of the environment for people to live in. Environmental engineers have to be aware of local and international issues revolving around the environment. They must be constantly concerned with acid rain, global warning, greenhouse effects, vehicle emissions, ozone depletion and forest fires.
When environmental engineers are not researching, they are working with teams of people both indoors and outdoors. Environmental engineers will be on-site doing inspections and conducting tests on the surrounding areas of projects. An environmental engineer’s responsibility is the protection of the environment on a daily basis. Environmental engineers are the game changers in environmental health. They are the designers behind water treatment and sewage plants. Laws and regulations for hazardous materials are products of their ideas as well.
The range of work an environmental engineer can do is wide. They might be sent to sites to gather data, testing levels of pollution such as acid rain. On another day at the job, they could be at a construction site, sampling the organisms below and above ground to estimate effects that the proposed build would do to the existing environment. Besides that, they might be sent to participate in rescuing and preserving wildlife especially endangered species. This includes direct involvement in the rescue or longterm planning for the survival of certain species. Widespread diseases and infections worldwide involve environmental engineers too, besides medical staff. Environmental engineers help contain these diseases with their knowledge of organisms, air, land and water.
Those who wish to make a difference in the world around them should consider taking up this task of being an environmental engineer. However, this field is not for everyone. Only those who persevere and have strong passion towards the environment would be able to enjoy the fruit of their labour. Environmental engineers hold great love towards the environment and they pay great attention to details.
Nanotechnology, the term itself creates the implication of technology used in films such as The Matrix, Star Trek. Nanotechnology has been used widely in daily electronics such as computer chips and organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) in modern displays such as smartphones, flatscreen TVs and iPods. The ‘nano‘ word used in the term indicates the reference of technology on an extremely tiny scale. Nanotechnology is a heavily invested field in developed countries such as the US and Japan.
Even though a developing countries like Malaysia is comparatively slow to catch on the hype of nanotechnology, the country is catching up and graduates in this field will be heavily sought after in a few years to come. This can be seen through the implementations by the Malaysian government. In Malaysia’s Third Industrial Master Plan (IMP3), nanotechnology is recognised as an emerging field for future investments. Besides that, Malaysia erected the NanoMalaysia Centre complex at Senai High Tech Part, Johor to spur further activities and awareness in the country’s nanotechnology field.
Nanotechnology was a part of the Ninth Malaysia Plan in 2005. The following year saw the launch of the National Technological Institute but the hype went down for a few years. In 2009, realising the relevance of the field, the National Innovation Council launched the National Nanotechnology Directory. This year, the Ministry of Science, Technology Innovation Malaysia unveiled the National Nanotechnology Statement, aiming to promote nanotechnology culture, enhanced networking, regulations and acts and commercialisation and industrialisation. Nanotechnology growth in Malaysia is substantial and the numbers of graduates in this field are increasing on an annual basis. Currently, there are more than 300 Malaysian graduates researching nanotechnology.
The career option in nanotechnology is vast. Graduates can work in areas such as electronics or semiconductor industries, materials science, auto and aerospace industries, sports equipment, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, military and national security. Nanotechnology is changing how products and its manufacturing operates, having new materials created for the benefit of humankind.
A few fields that will undergo explosive developments through nanotechnology are medicine, energy, robotics, manufacturing, commerce and space exploration. As the world continues to rely heavily and becomes increasingly dependent on the materials and products we manufacture, nanotechnology is the field that investors look forward to sustain the depleting resources that we need dearly on a daily basis.
The field of biomedical engineering is a fresh industry that uses physics, engineering, chemistry and mathematics to enhance medical practices. A biomedical engineer uses his knowledge of engineering to help support patients through the enhancement of medical technology used in health institutions. Biomedical engineering has a lot of subcategories where a student can specialise into such as bionics, biomechanics, clinical engineering, orthopaedic engineering and biomechatronics. Below are a few examples of what could be done in biomedical engineering.
As biomedical engineering is still a new field in Malaysia, local interpretation of the job is still vague and most refer it to clinical engineering. Clinical engineering is a branch of biomedical engineering that deals with medical equipment and systems of health institutions. They maintain and upkeep equipment to ensure safe usage according to the needs of the medical staff and patients.
Even though the biomedical field is booming in developed countries such as the US and Japan, Malaysia’s biomedical field has not expanded as much. Most biomedical engineering graduates may handle medical equipment and systems in health institutions as there is not much as research going on in the biomedical industry currently. However, biomedical firms believe that the biomedical industry in Malaysia holds great potential to develop and will see more job opportunities and research going on in a few years to come. For example, in May last year, Malaysia set up its first Industrial GMP Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Centre at Sepang. The facility has an IBA Cyclotron Cyclone 18/9 that could produce 18 MeV of proton beam energy for research.