Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

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There are lots of starting points for choosing a career and using your subject is just one of them. You are not restricted to the career ideas below and you may wish to consider additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.

Remember too that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject and so your options are much broader than the examples given below.

Firstly, have a think about what ‘using your subject’ means to you and what you’re really looking for. Do you want to apply your subject-specific knowledge or skills to the real world? Or maybe you want to continue to practice and develop these skills? Maybe it’s a broader interest in your subject that you want to keep alive by working in a relevant type of organisation?

Using your subject can help provide you with some focus for your career research, but the broader your interests the more career options you will have open to you. Use our resources below to stimulate your thinking.

Generating career ideas with Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

Using the resources below you can start to create your own list of career ideas to research

  • Look at what alumni from your department have done using the DLHE data we collect and through the University of Sheffield alumni page on LinkedIn.
  • Search for and contact alumni in your subject through our Graduate case studies database.
  • Browse the career ideas for engineering graduates on Prospects and TargetJobs but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Brainstorm ideas and do some initial investigation to find out about research, organisations, start ups, government bodies and freelancers connected to your subject. Our Information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start.

Some career ideas for Automatic Control and Systems Engineering graduates

Consultant engineer

A consultant engineer will research and prepare a solution to a technical project assigned by a client. You may specialise in a specific industry sector eg rail, aerospace and work with a variety of different clients within that sector.

In this role you will need to manage projects, work to project plan timescales, enjoy developing specialist knowledge and liaising with clients, often visiting or working on site at the client’s work place.

Control systems engineer

Control and instrumentation engineers design, develop, install, manage and maintain equipment which monitors control systems, machinery and processes.

They ensure systems and processes run efficiently and safely.

Electronic engineer

Electronics engineers design, develop and test components, devices, systems or equipment that use electricity as part of their source of power.

These components include capacitors, diodes, resistors and transistors.

Software engineer

In this role you could expect to use your knowledge of programming languages to design, test, and repair or maintain software and systems often in line with a project or client specification and working with a development team.

You will need project management skills and must enjoy working to deadlines and have meticulous attention to detail and a creative methodical approach to your work.

Project engineer

As a Project engineer you will apply your project management skills to a technical project. You’ll need to create project plans and organise resources and people in order to deliver projects on time, within budget and to the required standard or client specification.

You’ll also need to liaise between different stakeholders in the project, for example, the client or contractor, trades or maintenance staff and technical specialists ensuring all are kept up to date on project deadlines, deliverables. You must be able to handle challenges and adapt to change, finding feasible solutions when things don’t work to plan.

Design engineer

Using your technical knowledge, mathematical and design skills you will create innovative solutions to technical problems working from initial concept, through to design, prototype, testing and development.

Projects may focus around software, components, machinery and vehicles to name a few. In this role you will need strong technical knowledge, CAD design skills as well as problem solving, communication, leadership and project management skills.

Power systems engineer

This specialist aspect of engineering is concerned with the generation, transmission, distribution and utilisation of electric power networks and apparatus.

Areas of work may involve power stations, renewable energy plants e.g. on and off shore wind power and systems used in aircraft or for electric railway networks. You may enjoy this kind of work if you are interested in large scale infrastructure projects addressing today’s energy challenges.

Patent attorney/patent examiner

If you have an interest in law, a methodical and meticulous attention to detail and excellent written communication skills you may enjoy applying your technical background and engineering degree to this area of work.

In this role you will assess whether inventions are eligible to be patented by searching through existing records of patents that have been approved and assessing whether the new product is sufficiently new and innovative. You will develop extensive knowledge of intellectual property law and have highly honed skills in drafting patents.

You may also advise companies and individuals through the process of gaining a patent or enforcing infringements.


If you want to apply your understanding of engineering processes, equipment and components within a more commercial role, then procurement may be an option to consider. This can involve purchasing and supply of components or services from second and third tier suppliers, negotiating contracts and quality guidelines.

This role requires communication, negotiation and persuasion skills, numeracy and the ability to build and maintain strong client / customer relationships.

Supply chain management

Similar to the procurement, this requires an understanding of engineering components and processes but involves the planning, design, supply, monitoring and logistics of getting components and services of the right quality to the right place at the right time within budget.

This requires exceptional time management, planning, problem solving and commercial awareness.


Away from technical roles, you can apply your numeracy, business awareness and analytical skills to a more commercial role in finance.

This could vary from investment management and banking to financial management or accounting roles.

Business analyst

This role may suit you if you enjoy evaluating and analysing data, creating solutions and communicating with a variety of people. As a business analyst, you'll work with an organisation to understand their products, services and the industry sector they operate within.

You’ll identify their future needs and challenges and help them to plan for the future and manage change in line with their company goals often in relation to information and software systems.

Subject specific resources

  • IET – The institution of Engineering and Technology
  • InstMC - Institute of Measurement and Control