What do Engineers REALLY Do?
You’ve heard about engineering. You have a vague idea of what engineers do. Something with math and science, maybe a few Greek letters and lots of impossible looking formulas. They don’t seem to have a life, and seem to spend a lot of time cursing thermodynamics and weird programming errors that pop up the night before their assignment is due. You have also heard through the grapevine that most engineers do not in fact drive trains.
SO WHAT DO THEY ACTUALLY DO?
Anything. That’s the short answer. Engineers are everywhere, in places you might not have expected. If someone is making something, be it a product, program, or service, there is definitely an engineer involved. Don’t believe me? Take a look around you. Everything from the chair you sit in, to the floor you stand on, to the computer or phone you are reading this on engineers touched at some point in time. Be it design, making things better, making things work, or making things arrive at the right time, engineers are solving problems that make life as we know it possible.
I don’t think people always realize how creative engineering is as a field. It serves as one of the most practical applications of creativity I can think of. When engineers solve problems, a lot of times there is no solution manual or one right way to go about it. Thinking outside the box and sparking innovation, even on the smallest scale can provide anwers to big problems.
For engineering students, it means that the possibilities for careers are endless. The engineering degree is also extremely flexible. So what kind of jobs do engineers do? Here’s a short list of some cool jobs that engineers are currently doing:
Sports Engineer- A sweet job in this field is the Principle Engineer for the US Olympic Committee. Main responsibilities include complete system design of training equipment used by U.S. Olympic athletes.
Product Designer – This is a job that melds both design and hard science to create products that we all use. This ranges from cars, to robots, to snow globes that are activated by blowing on them.
Racing Engineer- Yes, this is a real life. Racing engineers work with Formula One racing to help teams with technical direction. Knowledge of aerodynamics, efficiency and stiffness to weight ratios help determine mechanical decisions being made on race days.
Special-Effects Engineer- Special effects engineers are there to design hydrolic and pneumatic systems and components to make big effects happen. Jobs could be in the film industry or at theme parks like Universal Studios.
Space Engineer- These engineers build launch and space systems. Currently space engineers are working on developing reusable launch vehicles that will replace space shuttles.
Toy Engineer- Like toys? This could be the job for you. Engineers at Mattel work on evaluating new technologies that can produce creative, high quality toys at low cost. This field relies heavily on manufacturing and assembly and there is a definite need to be creative with materials and concepts.
Medical Engineer- This is an important and growing field for engineers. New product designs for medical applications are on the rise as better ways to treat diseases come about.
Research and Development- Along the lines of product designers, these are the people that are testing products and developing new products. This department is prevalent in most industries, from Hallmark Cards to General Mills.
Yes, these are some sweet jobs. Realistically a job like this wouldn’t be for a fresh out of college engineer, but you can choose an industry or field to start out in that would lead you to one of these jobs. As you gain experience, more of these dream jobs will become available to you. Just remember, if there is an industry, service or product you are passionate about there opportunities for engineers to get involved.