Engineers - Innovators of Today and Tomorrow

What is an engineer?  What do they do?  What skills do you need to become an engineer?  

The career opportunities in engineering are diverse and growing, making them attractive to more and more students.  Teachers and parents should spread the word about what engineers do each day to impact our world.  Let’s get our students excited about the opportunities that await them!  

Engineers are:

  • Dreamers.

  • Researchers.

  • Creators.

  • Problem solvers.

  • Collaborators.

  • Innovators.

Because of engineers we can:

  • Choose a movie, game, or show from over 500 channels.

  • Ride a ferris wheel at the fair.

  • Enjoy the special effects in Jurassic Park.

  • Cruise down the mountain on a snowboard.

  • See images of earth taken from a satellite.

  • Send a text from a cell phone.  

What skills do you need to be an engineer?

Engineers are problem solvers and designers, so most have backgrounds in science and math.  Engineers must also understand and use a variety of computer programs to create and analyze their designs.  Engineers are designing solutions that do not exist, so being creative is an essential skill.

What types of engineers are there?

There are so many branches of engineering: earthquake engineering, marine engineering, nuclear engineering, and biomedical engineering (to name a few).  They all fall under one of the 4 major disciplines - Chemical, Mechanical, Civil, and Electrical.  The disciplines are connected; most projects cannot be completed without the work of several types of engineers.

Chemical engineers:

What they do: Chemical engineers create useful products (for people and companies) from raw materials (natural resources).  They consider economic and environmental factors in their product design.  

How they do it:  They use data analysis and computer simulation software to ensure that chemical theory is used in everyday life to solve problems.  They work closely with chemists, who are trained in the chemical theory.      

Where they work: Mining, Mineral Extraction, Food Production, and Pharmaceuticals.   

Subjects they study: Chemistry, Economics, Environmental Science, Ethics, Computer Software

Mechanical Engineers:

What they do: Mechanical engineers improve and modify machines and systems.  They determine the best and most efficient way to manufacture products.  

How they do it:  Mechanical engineers study physics and math and their specific applications in machines, mechanics, fluids, and heat transfer.  They evaluate the structural properties of every material used in a machine or system.  

Where they work: Construction, Heating and Cooling, Marine, Army / Defense Force, Nuclear Power, Automotive.

Subjects they study: Machines, Materials, Fluids, Structures, Physics, Math, Computer Software.

Civil Engineers:

What they do:  Civil engineers improve civil society by meeting human needs and helping people in their daily lives.  They design skyscrapers and bridges and solve transportation problems.  Because the civil world is so diverse, civil engineers have the most variety in what they do.    

How they do it:  They design structural elements, supervise material extraction, and go to the site to supervise project progress.  They evaluate environmental considerations in their design planning to ensure the structures and utilities are safe and environmentally friendly.    

Where they work: Mining, Residential and Commercial Construction, Urban Planning, Renewable Energy, Transportation and Government Agencies.  

Subjects they study: Construction Techniques, Environmental Science, Social Impact, Computer Software, Business and Management.

Electrical Engineers:

What they do: Electrical engineers harness the power of electricity on a small and large scale to create and distribute safe energy sources for communication, business, and entertainment.    

How they do it: They design power grids, computer circuits, and power supplies.  They study safety regarding electricity and implement the protocols when building circuits and generators.    

Where they work: Electric Power Generations, IT, Telecommunications, Software Design, Automotive, Aeronautical, Renewable Energy

Subjects they study: Electricity, Electromagnetism, Computer Systems, Software Programs

Visit http://whatisengineering.com for more details on the specific types of engineering and job responsibilties and skills that go along with them!  The opportunities are endless!  

Resources

National Society of Professional Engineers.  (n.d.)  Ten ‘fun and exciting’ facts about engineering.  Retrieved from https://www.nspe.org/resources/press-room/resources/ten-fun-and-exciting-facts-about-engineering

TryEngineering.  (n.d.).  What is an engineer?  Retrieved from http://tryengineering.org/ask-expert/what-engineer

What is engineering?  Retrieved from http://whatisengineering.com