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what is the hardest part of engineering

what is the hardest part of engineering

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David C’s Answer

This is one of those questions where each engineer may provide a different answer. Many times it being able to handle multiple tasks while still keeping with the timeline of a project. Another could be dealing with others that tend to be negative to your ideas without justification. One more would be the idea that you are heavily relied upon to come up with correct resolution to a problem, or concept. Engineering not for the person who wants a career with no stress.

Designer Dave
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Frances’s Answer

The first hard part is going through engineering school. In order to make it to graduation, you need to make sure you are passionate about the STEM field and the classes you are taking. I’ve seen some of my friends in college bail out once they reach calculus, but if you make it through calculus, physics, and chemistry, then you can certainly head into the more advanced engineering courses. From then on, you need to push through, study very hard, work with fellow classmates, and make sure you can pass your classes together.

Then, you can graduate and get a full-time position, but that’s where the REAL hard part comes in. As an Engineer, you need to be very reliable and responsible for the projects you are designing and managing. If you can’t show your boss that you can handle multiple projects at once or solve problems on your own, they will see you as unreliable to the team. It’s you who needs to make sure you can be independent and act as a leader for the next generation of engineers because eventually they will rely on you to make tough decisions for the team.
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Katherine’s Answer

Like David above, I agree that every engineer will answer this differently.

The hardest part of engineering for me is dealing with the unique context of each problem. A civil engineer will, more than most others, be subject to designing for site or environmental conditions.

One thing that used to puzzle me as a student was why no professional would comment on a design that looked apparently inefficient. The truth? No professional engineer will judge a design team's final decision when they weren't part of the decision-making process. Sometimes a proposal which looks silly to an outsider turns out to be the best available plan. It's not easy to deal with "less-than-ideal" as a technical designer. The reality of the world (should) quickly humble anyone who has to adjust to those circumstances.

For me, the hardest part of engineering is learning how to quantify and measure the realities of physical space, available footprint, and the sheer amount of unknowns that are fundamental to making assumptions about any natural material. Don't get me started on infiltration rates...
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John’s Answer

Hi Johnathon,

I am in telecom engineering...and a common expression I like to use with my team "we are not putting rockets on the moon" :o) Meaning...what we do for a living is not overly complicated. I am sure even a rocket scientist would think the same thing over time. With any engineering profession...I am sure it may seem very complicated to one not in the field or for the layperson, but when you are doing the job every day....it will not be difficult for the engineer.

In my mind...one of the most critical traits in my line of work are those with the highest attention to detail. If a mistake is made in the process of handing a design over to Operations for implementation..."bad things happen". It is of utmost importance for engineers in my field to ensure their designs are accurate. Other traits that I look for are folks that have a strong desire to learn/grow, have a strong work ethic/self starters, can multi-task, and work well with others. Hope this helps...
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Byron’s Answer

What you learn in school may or may not be what you apply day to day in a given engineering job. The hardest task is determining what of all the curricula you learned from school to use in your role. Communication, too, because many engineers are used to working in a silo, so getting used to working on a team and communicating is key.

Maintaining a growth mindset is crucial for an engineer, too, because understanding new technology (not just trends but the languages themselves) is part of the job.

The problems that engineers tend to solve are new problems. Every challenge is a new challenge, balancing speed to delivery compared to scalability and how it will evolve. There are no direct solutions to any problem, so there's a balancing act in finding the best solution to any given problem. There are many, many decisions you'll make in a day as an engineer.
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Kris’s Answer

The hardest part of engineering is figuring out how to do the impossible. Engineers are supposed to be problem solvers. When someone cant find a solution, they come to the engineering staff to figure it out. Many times the resources just aren't there to get a viable solution.

One great resource that continues to become more and more valuable is google. Always remember that when you encounter a problem, there must be someone somewhere else in the world that has also encountered a similar problem. Be willing to think outside the box.

Be willing to work as a team. I've learned that when I am stumped, I need to take note of the facts, get back to the basics, and then share the situation with others. Quality conversations with a staff or team almost always provide the answers needed.
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Ashley’s Answer

Engineering requires a lot of skills, and no one has all of them needed by themselves. That is what makes engineering (to me) fun, is that you work as a team to combine your experience, knowledge, and ideas to create something new. Seeing a huge task that has never been done before is scarry, but working with a team to break it down and use everyone's skills together to make it happen is one of the most exciting things.

For some during school it is the willingness to study and take the time to learn. There are a lot of new things, but the key is to be excited about it. Many people baulk at the amount of work, but just like anything, if you enjoy it then it goes by fast and you want to do it. Engineering can take you many places and opens many doors (even if you don't go onto design anything).

In college, it is not giving up and finding a group of friends to study with and help each other. Learn how to study and how to ask questions. What gets you through college will get you through your career. There are so many different types of engineering that it is overwhelming just seeing the list let alone picking one, but find something that is interesting to you and ask more questions on it.

And remember, engineering doesn't have to be your first or only venture, you have many years ahead of you to do many different and exciting things.
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