Agricultural Engineers

What they do:

Apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agricultural problems concerned with power and machinery, electrification, structures, soil and water conservation, and processing of agricultural products.

On the job, you would:

  • Visit sites to observe environmental problems, to consult with contractors, or to monitor construction activities.
  • Design agricultural machinery components and equipment using computer-aided design (CAD) technology.
  • Test agricultural machinery and equipment to ensure adequate performance.
  • Design structures for crop storage, animal shelter and loading, and animal and crop processing, and supervise their construction.
  • Provide advice on water quality and issues related to pollution management, river control, and ground and surface water resources.
  • Conduct educational programs that provide farmers or farm cooperative members with information that can help them improve agricultural productivity.
  • Discuss plans with clients, contractors, consultants, and other engineers so that they can be evaluated and necessary changes made.
  • Supervise food processing or manufacturing plant operations.
  • Design and supervise environmental and land reclamation projects in agriculture and related industries.
  • Plan and direct construction of rural electric-power distribution systems, and irrigation, drainage, and flood control systems for soil and water conservation.

Knowledge

  • Engineering and Technology
  • Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Design
  • Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics
  • Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Physics
  • Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Mechanical
  • Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language
  • Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Building and Construction
  • Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Production and Processing
  • Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Food Production
  • Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.

Skills

  • Critical Thinking
  • Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Writing
  • Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Active Listening
  • Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Speaking
  • Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Mathematics
  • Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Systems Analysis
  • Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension
  • The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension
  • The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning
  • The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Expression
  • The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression
  • The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity
  • The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering
  • The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility
  • The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Near Vision
  • The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Work Activities

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Getting Information
  • Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Processing Information
  • Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information
  • Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Interests

  • Investigative
  • Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic
  • Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Third Interest High-Point
  • Tertiary-Cutoff/Rank Descriptiveness
  • Enterprising
  • Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Conventional
  • Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Artistic
  • Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
  • First Interest High-Point
  • Primary-Rank Descriptiveness
  • Social
  • Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Second Interest High-Point
  • Secondary-Cutoff/Rank Descriptiveness

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail
  • Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity
  • Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Dependability
  • Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Initiative
  • Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Innovation
  • Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Achievement/Effort
  • Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Cooperation
  • Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility
  • Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Persistence
  • Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.