Energy Career Profile: Agricultural Engineer

The world of energy is incredibly vast and it is growing larger every day. But, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the energy job market. We know that it is a huge industry, but few of us could tell you the specific jobs that are on offer within it.

This series of energy career profiles aims to shed some light on this lucrative but little-understood sector. Each week we will highlight a potential career for someone interested in entering the energy workforce. Some of them might seem obvious while others may be more obscure. The point is that if you have the right qualifications, the sky is really your limit when it comes to a career in energy.

This week we are going to take a look at the role of the agricultural engineer within the energy sector.

The Basics of the Job

Humans depend heavily on farming to provide the sustenance we need to survive. Most of us don’t think twice about where our food comes from when we do our grocery shopping. However, if there is a drought or some other natural disaster that affects our crop, people suffer – particularly people in developing countries who rely directly on the harvest of local crops.

As an agricultural engineer you will be in charge of designing systems to keep agricultural land as fruitful as possible. This might mean implementing irrigation systems and drainage systems or organising crop rotations to make the most of the region’s sunshine and rainfall. The result of your hard work will be a plentiful crop that provides money for farmers and nourishment for local people.

Job Duties

There is a range of duties that fall under the umbrella of agricultural engineer. The main task will be using your understanding of agriculture and construction to design and implement drainage, flooding, irrigation and other farming systems. This will be combined with an analysis of data to determine where, when, and how these systems are best used.

Another important area of the job is research. You will need to stay abreast of any new developments in the sector and to understand new technologies that could enhance the work you are doing. Finally, there will be technical responsibilities, such as writing reports and ensuring compliance with local agricultural standards.

Where You Will Be Working

Agricultural engineers do a mixture of office and field based work. You will spend a lot of time at project sites evaluating the work going on and overseeing the implementation of the systems you have designed. You will be the go to person for any troubleshooting enquiries and you will need to record your observations for later data analysis. You will then go back to the office to write reports on the progress you are making and to work on the design phase for your next project.

Who to Work For

There are hundreds of employment opportunities around the world for agricultural engineers. Agricultural equipment manufacturers may want to get you on board, while consulting would allow you to go from farm to farm, helping as and when it is need. Alternatively, research institutions and universities often need agricultural engineers to work on big projects, as do government bodies and not-for-profits.