English for Engineers: Engineering Books, Online Courses and English Study Tips
Are you an engineer? Do you want to improve your workplace English skills?
If you do not have access to private training, that’s okay.
There are plenty of affordable, well-written books and courses designed to teach English for engineers.
Studying on your own makes you more disciplined and self-motivated—and it will expand your communication skills and employment opportunities!
In this post, we’ll cover seven English books about engineering, five online English courses for engineers and four smart study tips to help you get the most out of your English learning time.
- English Books for Engineers
- “Cambridge English for Engineering”
- “Professional English in Use: Engineering”
- “Oxford English for Electrical and Mechanical Engineering”
- “Science Research Writing for Non-Native Speakers of English”
- “Pocket Book of English Grammar for Engineers and Scientists”
- “Technical Writing: A Practical Guide for Engineers and Scientists”
- “Essential Communication Strategies for Scientists, Engineers, and Technology Professionals”
- Online English Courses for Engineers
- Studying English for Engineers: Smart Tips
English Books for Engineers
“Cambridge English for Engineering”
This is an all-purpose book for engineers from any specialization. It covers all the relevant technical vocabulary needed in workplace communication.
There are 10 units covering different branches of engineering (civil, mechanical, etc.) with activities that’ll help you get comfortable with the language.
In fact, customer reviews have particularly praised the quality of the audio CDs that come with the book. This is great self-study material for all English-learning engineers.
“Professional English in Use: Engineering”
This book is actually by the same author as the preceding one and is primarily concerned with developing your workplace vocabulary.
There are over 1,000 words and phrases that you’ll learn to master by completing the different practice exercises in this textbook.
At 144 pages, it’s a handy and useful book that covers all the essentials of engineering English. I’d recommend this for beginners.
“Oxford English for Electrical and Mechanical Engineering”
Although this book was originally published in 1996, it remains popular as ever.
As the title suggests, it’s a specialized, informative book aimed at mechanical and electrical engineers. So I’d only recommend that you go for this book if you’re from one of those two fields.
The 30 units cover a wide range of engineering topics, from mechanisms to work safety to robotics. The exercises are designed to hone your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.
The last section even focuses on job applications and CV writing. It’ll also teach you how to read an advertisement for a job and respond to it in the best way possible.
“Science Research Writing for Non-Native Speakers of English”
This book is perfect for all those engineers and scientists who are looking to get into research and would like to improve their technical and academic writing skills.
The book was written particularly for intermediate English learners.
You’ll be guided through every aspect of scientific research writing, such as strong abstracts and memorable conclusions. There’s even a glossary of common abbreviations, word prefixes and vocabulary used in science writing.
If you’re in the process of completing your master’s or doctoral thesis, this book is a must-buy.
“Pocket Book of English Grammar for Engineers and Scientists”
Many engineers are most worried about their grammar skills. If your main area of concern is improving your grammar, then this book is your best friend.
It’s only 160 pages long, but it covers all the key grammar concepts and parts of speech using flowcharts, diagrams and illustrations to help you understand and remember them.
The book is written in American English, has lots of effective visuals and doesn’t contain extensive scientific jargon, so it can even be used by non-engineers as well.
“Technical Writing: A Practical Guide for Engineers and Scientists”
This is a comprehensive book covering all types of technical writing such as reports, articles, summaries and the like.
If your primary goal is to improve your writing skills for work, I’d suggest you go for this book.
It’ll even guide you on how to edit and publish your articles online or offline. Moreover, this book was written by a professor of software engineering, so yes, you’re in safe hands!
However, you’ll need to know your grammar basics to make the most out of this book.
“Essential Communication Strategies for Scientists, Engineers, and Technology Professionals”
This is a practical guide for engineers and other professionals to develop writing and presentation skills.
It’ll teach you how to use a technique called “scripting” to communicate in a logical, attention-grabbing way. This is perfect if you need to ace any presentation or group meeting!
The language is motivational and filled with humor, so it promises to be an engaging and enjoyable read.
Online English Courses for Engineers
The internet is full of wonderful resources to help engineers improve their English speaking and writing skills. I have picked some of the best online courses that you can sign up for.
Many of these courses are offered regularly throughout the year. Typically you can sign up at any time and will have access to class materials. However, if you want the benefit of peer review or instructor support, enroll at the next available class date.
English for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Created by the University of Pennsylvania, this is a beginner-level course with really positive reviews from students. You will learn how to read about and discuss engineering and related topics. The course also explains important scientific concepts in an easy-to-understand manner.
The five-week course comes with video lessons, reading assignments and practice quizzes. You will grow your scientific vocabulary while learning about today’s important topics in science and engineering.
This is one of several courses in our list that is offered by Coursera, where anyone can take courses from prestigious universities on countless subjects. If you want to keep building your English skills, engineering skills or both, you can explore the offerings on Coursera here.
Communication Skills for Engineers Specialization
This three-part series from Rice University helps engineers express themselves better verbally and in writing. It is beginner-level and does not require prior experience.
In other words, if you are not sure about your English skills and feel scared at the prospect of being interviewed or pitching to a client, you should sign up for this course.
Part One focuses on “oral communication,” such as presentations. Part Two focuses on “interpersonal communication,” such as conversations with employees, and Part Three focuses on writing skills. If you like, you can take just one or two of these.
English Communication Skills for Engineers
This is a paid course that covers all the bases. With 3.5 hours of video, supplemental resources and a number of assignments, this one is sure to be worth your money.
It covers English communication skills for the workplace, technical language, polite language and communication strategies. If you are worried about not making friends in the workplace because of a language barrier, worry no further!
It is designed for engineers looking to improve their business communication skills, especially those with a lower-intermediate English level.
This course comes from Udemy, an online platform with thousands of affordable classes. Udemy is great for business English learners because your whole team can take a course together. Check out available Udemy courses here.
Mastering the Software Engineering Interview
Are you a skilled programmer? Fascinated by the world of coding and ethical hacking? Training or interested in software engineering? This course will get you ready to interview for your dream job.
You will learn how to talk about your engineering accomplishments and sell yourself as a candidate. You will also get to practice some common job interview questions from the English-speaking world.
Just be aware that this course was designed for English-speaking engineers, so it may be difficult for beginner learners.
Leadership Development for Engineers Specialization
As you may have already realized, leadership is one of the most valuable qualities of an engineer. Companies look for strong leadership skills before giving promotions.
So if you already have some decent communication skills in English and are looking to expand to management roles, this series of courses promise to be of great help.
This three-part series covers topics such as understanding your own personality traits, work relationships, conflict management, the characteristics of effective teams and more!
Plus, if you have doubts about your public speaking skills, this course might just save your life.
This course was created for a native-speaking audience. Therefore, it might be best suited for upper-intermediate and advanced learners.
Studying English for Engineers: Smart Tips
Spend time learning technical terms
If English is not your first language, you may face difficulties learning complex or specialized engineering terms. Dedicate time every day to memorizing words that are important to your field.
You can also make a list of difficult words you encounter on the job and review them often.
Regularly test your English skills
Keep a checklist of basic English grammar rules handy and take online grammar and vocabulary tests to assess your skills.
Here is a great list of business English quizzes, exercises and games to get you started.
Find opportunities to practice speaking
To master engineering English, you cannot just lock yourself in a room alone and study. You need to practice speaking with others, too.
Look for public speaking opportunities at your job, school or in your local community.
For example, networking events can be a great place to practice speaking about your industry. Or if you attend a university, there is likely a debate club you can join.
Meanwhile, try to participate more often in meetings. You do not have to be an extrovert, but speaking up a bit more often will definitely help you in the long run.
Learn while you relax
Even entertainment can be a source of learning! For example, you can read English books or watch English TV at the end of each day.
If you enjoy this type of learning, you can also try FluentU, an immersive English language learning tool. FluentU takes authentic videos—like business dialogues, inspiring speeches, news and more—and turns them into personalized English lessons.
FluentU has a large collection of English videos that people in the English-speaking world actually watch. In fact, FluentU even has an entire business category filled with authentic business-related videos covering six language levels.
And there’s a variety of videos even inside this category: “Introducing Business Colleagues,” “Business Buzzwords,” “Control Your Inbox!” and “What Warren Buffet Thinks About Cash.”
An added bonus is that if you want to work on other topics, you can do that from FluentU, too. Simply filter by topic and play a video that interests you. There is also the option to filter by difficulty level or format so that you know exactly what you’re getting into before you even click on a video.
Every spoken word is subtitled, and these subtitles are interactive. Click on a word to see an in-context definition, image and multiple example sentences. You can also see clips of other FluentU videos where the word appears.
Further, videos and flashcards are accompanied by adaptive quizzes that change the more you learn. FluentU exercises have opportunities to practice all your language skills, like “fill in the blank” and speaking questions on the iOS and Android apps.
Make time in your daily routine for language learning along with your other studies.
Use every opportunity to improve your English skills, whether it’s a networking event or simply explaining something complicated to your roommate. For writing skills, try practicing reports and research papers.
Ultimately, the more you make learning fun, the easier it’s going to be and the faster you will improve. So remain positive, disciplined and committed, and you’re sure to improve by leaps and bounds!