Skip to main content
6 answers
Asked Viewed 198 times Translate

What do engineers actually do?

One of the schools I'm looking at allegedly has a very good engineering program, but what do engineers do all day? Like hasn't everything been invented already? engineering college

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

6
100% of 5 Pros

6 answers


Updated Translate

Paul’s Answer

Hi Henry. One of the long standing jokes of history is back in the 1880s, when a petition was submitted to shut down the US Patent and Trademark office, with the reasoning that "everything has already been invented!" Can you IMAGINE the world before computers, internet, even the telephone? I don't know who put that in, but it's got to be one of the most short-sighted ideas in history!

That being said, there's all kinds of things being engineered today. Artificial intelligence, self driving cars - and we haven't even put a man on Mars yet! In the other direction, the development of nanotechnology is just beginning. Imagine developing a computer that is the size of a vitamin capsule you can swallow, and doctors can "drive" it around your body to check for illness. That's on its way! I worked in a nanotech lab at Georgia Tech, where we were working on things in tens of nanometers! (Just to give you an idea, a human hair is about 80,000 nanometers wide!)

There's so much more to be learned and discovered, and engineering leads the way. If that excites you, the world needs you!

3
100% of 2 Pros
Updated Translate

Dennis’s Answer

Engineers apply the principles of science and mathematics to develop economical solutions to technical problems. Their work is the link between scientific discoveries and the commercial applications that meet societal and consumer needs.

Many engineers develop new products. During the process, they consider several factors. For example, in developing an industrial robot, engineers specify the functional requirements precisely; design and test the robot's components; integrate the components to produce the final design; and evaluate the design's overall effectiveness, cost, reliability, and safety. This process applies to the development of many different products, such as chemicals, computers, powerplants, helicopters, and toys.

In addition to their involvement in design and development, many engineers work in testing, production, or maintenance. These engineers supervise production in factories, determine the causes of a component’s failure, and test manufactured products to maintain quality. They also estimate the time and cost required to complete projects. Supervisory engineers are responsible for major components or entire projects.

Engineers use computers extensively to produce and analyze designs; to simulate and test how a machine, structure, or system operates; to generate specifications for parts; to monitor the quality of products; and to control the efficiency of processes. Nanotechnology, which involves the creation of high-performance materials and components by integrating atoms and molecules, also is introducing entirely new principles to the design process.

Scholarships
1
100% of 1 Pros
Updated Translate

Irene’s Answer

Hi Henry,

There are many different types of engineers, and their day will look very different. There are mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, civil engineers, and many others. I work with many mechanical and electrical engineers in the tech industry. They spend a lot of time designing features for new products. In this case for consumer electronics, that means cellphones, speakers, tablets, cameras, etc.
Each new model that is launched to the market had many engineers working on its design. Each product is different and will need extensive effort to make it look and function is that specific way. That includes new models being release every day. For example even if cellphones have relatively the same features, each specific brand and model will have to do their detailed design before launching it to the market. That design phase for a new model of an existing product would take one to three years usually. For completely new products that were never designed before, that's for example the first smartphone, the first security camera, etc. the design phase can take many years. During that time the engineers working on the design would spend their time doing the desing, having meetings with product managers to make sure the product they are designing makes sense from a business and user point of view, testing prototypes, doing design changes to address failures in the test.
These activities may vary from industry to industry, this is just an example for engineers in consumer electronic industry.

Irene recommends the following next steps:

Search on LinkedIn people that are engineers in the field and companies you are interested on and send them a message asking if you can have an informational interview to learn more about their day to day job and how did they get where they are. Don't forget to prepare your questions before hand and send a thank you note after the interview.
0
Updated Translate

Jackie’s Answer

Look around you now, everything you have in front of you will have involved an Engineer.
- Computer: Hardware engineer and software engineer
- Building: Civil Engineer
- Car: Automotive Engineer
- Food: Food Engineer
There are loads of problems still to be solved, work out which are the most important to you and which branch of engineering could help you do that

0
Updated Translate

Jackie’s Answer

Look around you now, everything you have in front of you will have involved an Engineer.
- Computer: Hardware engineer and software engineer
- Building: Civil Engineer
- Car: Automotive Engineer
- Food: Food Engineer
There are loads of problems still to be solved, work out which are the most important to you and which branch of engineering could help you do that

0
Updated Translate

Ross’s Answer

Hi Henry - Good question! I've asked myself the same question even after getting an engineering degree, but my response would be to position your question a bit differently -> "What do engineers not do?" From my experience engineering degrees open a lot of doors as they are found in all industries and are typically in pretty high demand. The traditional engineer is working on new products and can be found in research and development in many organizations. However, there are many engineers that serve in support roles such as quality control and assurance, manufacturing, project management... to name a few. If you enjoy math and science and like the challenge of solving problems then perhaps pursuing an engineering degree would be a great choice for you! I think the one thing that an engineering degree does for you is teach you how to be a problem solver which is such a great skill to have and something that can be applied regardless of where you find yourself after college. I've been in several different roles so far none of which have been in the traditional product development engineering role; I've learned so much and enjoyed the challenges in each experience.
0