Creating a Plan to Transition as an Engineer from One Discipline to Another

The following is a summary of Session 18 of my podcast, The Engineering Career Coach (TECC) Podcast with Anthony Fasano, PE. I will summarize the main points in this post here; however, you can also listen to the show through the player below or by subscribing on iTunes. I offer a career-changing tip at the end of each podcast session.

In this session of the TECC Podcast, I assist a young engineer who is attempting to change disciplines in his engineering career from IT to environmental engineering.

During the session, we lay out a plan of three key steps to achieve this transition:

  1. Maintain an income stream as necessary. – Just because you want to work in a different engineering discipline than you are working in currently doesn’t mean you have to quit your job, drop everything, and try to get into this new field. Maintain your existing job or another that keeps you financially stable while you search for a position in your new discipline. Many times we feel that quitting one job brings us much closer to the new one when in reality it doesn’t.
  2. Become active in professional associations in your desired engineering discipline. – Yes, you can utilize LinkedIn and make some phone calls to get into the new industry (and you should), but there is nothing like getting out there and talking to people. When attending these social events or learning sessions, be honest with people and tell them your goal is to break into their industry and you are looking for tips. Ask about credentials that might help and any other advice they might give. You can join LinkedIn groups focused in this new discipline as well and ask similar questions.
  3. Take action on the advice you received in Step 2. – Should you learn about educational courses, degree programs, credentials, and so on in this new field, take action and pursue them. Sign up for some introductory courses or credentialing courses/exams that will help you break into the field. Knowledge is important, but only action will get you where you want to go.

If you find yourself asking, “How can I switch from one engineering discipline to another?”—please give these steps a try and leave a comment below letting me know how you made out.

This is a guest post by Anthony Fasano, PE, author of Engineer Your Own Success. Anthony found success as an engineer at a very early age and now writes and podcasts to help other engineers do the same. Visit Anthony’s website at for free engineering career advice and other resources.