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What is your biggest regret as a mechanical engineer?

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Rich’s Answer

My biggest regret was that I didn't take any Statistics courses. Any manufacturing method related to mechanical engineering, whether it's milling a single part, folding a piece of metal, or simply taking a measurement for how hot an object is all have strong underpinnings with statistics and probability. It's really important to understand that any physical process won't produce exactly the same result every time, but will instead belong to a distribution of possible outcomes with an innumerable number of variables.

To that end, make sure you take some stats classes as the exposure will help you better understand real world processes beyond your peers.
I'm excited to put your great advice to good use! Lera H.
Thank you! I'll do that Lera H.
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Tyler’s Answer

No regrets as a Mechanical Engineer. I love being an engineer and the ambiguity that comes with it. It's a great foundation for so many fields and I recommend it to anyone.
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Drew’s Answer

Lera, I don't have regrets. I saw Kelly's answer. My initial education in computer applications was FORTRAN and batch processing. A significant part of my Numerical Calculus course was running models. I tried a couple, then looked back at the syllabus and determined I would learn more and get a better grade if I skipped the computer models and invested my time in studying. When the Professor asked me why I had not turned in any model assignments, I explained my calculation. As an interesting side note, we both retired as Engineering Duty Officer Captains in the Navy. Computer language is fluid. Most of what I have seen lately is plug and play after a steep learning curve. And next week it will all be different. I leave that to experts. There is a Professional Engineer License for Computers.

With respect to no regrets, I have continued to expand my skill base so that it is broad enough to do pretty much as I like. I am and have been a sole practitioner since 1988 with my S-Corporation. I studied Environmental Engineering (M.ENG) and worked for US EPA for twelve years as a Project Engineer and Enforcement Officer. During that time I became a Licensed Professional Engineer, Diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, Certified Industrial Hygienist, and Certified Safety Professional while earning my MBA and having a lot of fun. I went into private practice to help industry with EPA and OSHA compliance. I was quickly introduced to Forensic Engineering because of my enforcement background. After many investigations and lots of experience testifying under oath, I became a Fellow of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers. I have testified in cases as diverse and rail car derailing, crane failure, chemical exposure in a bakery, failure of ear plugs. While in Navy Shipyards, I was fascinated by Mechanical Engineering and learned as much as possible. In order to further develop my skill base I am perusing a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering - just one more course to go.

Drew recommends the following next steps:

Condition yourself to realize that while you can't have it all, you can have a lot.
The Occupatioal Outlook Handbook has good information on most fields.
Check out NAFE.org, AAEE.org, ABIH.org, and BCSP.org to learn about these fascets of engineering.
Thank you! that's a lot of good information Lera H.
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Kelly’s Answer

My biggest regret as a practicing professional is that I didn't spend more time in school learning more about software and computer coding. The basics I did learn have been very important to understanding how we automate our work and how to "think like a computer". Though I'm not the one directly coding, everything I did learn, and continue to learn about software, automation and AI serves me very well in how I design and collaborate with others toward achieving our business goals. It helps me understand the perspectives of other people who actually do the coding and automation implementation that make my designs a reality.
Thank you! I will remember to take extra computer classes in college Lera H.
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