An industrial engineer can work in various settings, from offices to manufacturing plants and logistics service providers. These professionals use their strong math and science knowledge to perform business, data analysis and system operations.
Industrial engineers can also take charge of critical business processes, including quality control, design planning, manufacturing techniques, and operations management. Although they can hold different positions across most private sectors, some also work in the government setting. (1)
If you're preparing to take the first step in becoming an industrial engineer, below are some things you need to consider.
Understanding what IGCSE is
In the United Kingdom, schools require enrolees to show their General Certificate of Secondary Education. UK students take the GCSE exam upon completion of Year 11.
Meanwhile, non-UK students must obtain an International General Certificate of Secondary Education or IGCSE. International schools in different countries typically offer IGCSE for students who want to study at a UK-based university. These certificates are essential for entering pre-university education, including those wishing to take industrial engineering. (2)
Acquiring an IGCSE as a non-UK student shows your readiness to proceed and take A-level mathematics and other subjects before entering tertiary education, and before taking an industrial engineering course. The Cambridge International Examinations exam boards or the Person Edexcel authorise these international academic certifications. (2)
Subjects covered by IGCSE vary and may include essential academic topics such as Math, History, Economics, and Science courses like Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. It also consists of studying major global languages such as English, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese.
Although there are several fields to choose from, most schools require students to take three subjects in Math, English and Science to complete the minimum requirements of six IGSCE topics. These subjects are covered under different tracks, including arts, sports, humanities, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). (2)
As a pre-university enrolee, your choice of IGCSE subjects must provide you with the best path towards your education and career goals. If you want to study industrial engineering, you must have impressive scores in the STEM field.
How A-level works
Most schools require applicants to have obtained a grade of A* to C in more than five GCSEs or IGCSEs to become eligible to take AS and A Level courses. For an industrial engineering hopeful, these generally include Math and Science subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Some academic institutions may accept students with lower ratings in some cases. (2)
A-level, short for advanced level, is a certification system that confirms a learner's readiness to pursue a college education. Its grading system is often expressed from A* to E, with A* being the highest. A-levels are categorised into AS year or year 12 and A2 level or Year 13.
IGCSE and A-level subjects for (industrial) engineering
There's no quick answer to this question, as universities have different programmes and thus require various prerequisites from university applicants. Generally, though, you must have a solid background in Math and Science subjects, regardless of the engineering field you wish to study.
For instance, the University of Liverpool requires engineering applicants to have taken A-level Mathematics, mechanics, and second Sciences that include Statistics, Computing, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Geology, to name a few. (3)
To give you an idea of which IGCSE and A-level courses are needed for your future application to get an industrial engineering (IE) degree, below are the foundational and course-specific Math and Science-related subjects in an IE curriculum.
- Computer Science
- Engineering design
- Electronics and circuits
- Materials science
- Differential equations
- Linear algebra
- Advanced mathematics
- Systems theory design and analysis
- Engineering economics
- Operations research
- Computation or modelling (4) (5)
As industrial engineering responsibilities are related to business processes and analytics, some industrial engineering students may have enterprise-related courses. These subjects allow industrial engineers to have a broader grasp of how businesses work and how they can use their skills and knowledge to improve the entire business system. (4)
Similarly, industrial engineers may take additional short courses or minor subjects in their areas of interest. If they wish to work in a biotechnology company, they may have to improve their skills in chemistry and the life sciences. Those who want to focus on manufacturing analytics to streamline workflows, cut costs, and deliver the best products may wish to pursue design technology, data analytics, robotics, and other related courses.
Being an industrial engineer will take you to a career with vast options. Whichever career path you choose, it's crucial to have a strong background in foundational subjects related to Math and Science. Prepare for your journey as an industrial engineer early by enhancing your skills and knowledge in all associated topics, even before taking your IGCSE or GCSE examination.
References1. "Occupational Outlook Handbook: Industrial Engineers", Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/industrial-engineers.htm
2. "IGCSE vs. GSCE: 5 Differences You Should Know in 2020", Source: https://www.kingseducation.com/kings-life/igcse-vs-gcse
3. "What A-levels do you need to become an engineer?", Source: https://www.theuniguide.co.uk/advice/a-level-choices/what-a-levels-do-you-need-to-become-an-engineer
4. "Industrial Engineering", Source: https://educatingengineers.com/degrees/industrial-engineering
5. "Industrial Engineer", Source: https://whatforwork.com/jobs/industrial-engineer/