Why Be An Engineer

To solve problems of course. These problems can include the efficient mass production of food, improving the supply of clean water, providing clean energy to meet current demands. Everything that is stopping humanity progressing. Elon Musk, Larry Page, Henry Ford, Ernest Walton. What do they have in common? SpaceX, Google, Ford, a particle accelerator. They’ve all solved problems.

It could be argued that the engineering profession is making the biggest impact on the world compared to any other profession. I’ll let you decide that for yourself. There are a lot of ways to describe an engineer, but the easiest way to define it is someone who designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines, or structures. That could include: a rocket that delivers satellites to space to help monitor the oceans, a commercially viable fusion reactor that creates a near-endless supply of clean energy or even a new defense satellite to protect the earth from asteroids.

I’m not an engineer by any stretch, I just write software for a financial software firm. I am however, extremely interested in humanity. I want to see us flourish as a species. I want to see humanity progress and go out to the stars. I want us to succeed. For the purpose of this article I’m going to group engineering and software together, in an acronym called STEM. This stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. They are all are used to solve daily problems we all face. You could be an a civil engineer who created an innovative solution to reduce the loss of water in a public water system, or a software developer that creates a solution to help second level students study complex calculus in an interactive application. Either way you’d be helping solve a problem society faces. Engineering is critical to the world, and it helps us address the challenges we face as a society. We need safer vehicles (especially for public transport), a way to reliably store large amounts of energy, improvements in how food can be mass produced. We need to find a way to make renewable energy sources economical. We need to find better ways of improving physical infrastructure like roads and hospital buildings, so that it isn’t easily prone to decay. Have you got any thoughts on how we can solve some of these problems society faces? We need more of that kind of thinking. In fact, the more problems we solve, the better life will get for all. There are so many problems in the world today, ranging from technical ones, to health issues, and to my personal favourite, producing energy for us all to use. The more engineers the world has, the more of these problems we’re going to solve as a species.

Engineering is a fantastic endeavour. The benefits are enormous. For starters, it’s relatively easy to get a job compared to other career paths. There isn’t much to getting a job other than a degree. Many other career paths take a lot more training and education. You get to use your creativity daily, and apply it to really challenging scenarios that need solutions. These solutions could then be be used by potentially thousands or even millions worldwide! It also pays well. Money isn’t everything, but it defintely helps in life. Engineers usually live on a comfortable wage. As an example, you could work for SpaceX and build rocket engines to launch important communication satellites to space. You could even be the one to grow food in space efficiently and consistently. The point of all this is that engineering continues to be a daily part of most people's lives, even if they do not see the impact. We will always have problems to solve a species, so we will always need engineers. Being an engineer is by no means easy. It’s hard work and full of challenges, but the rewards are endless.

Most engineering subjects involve complex math and science, so you’ll need to be prepared. You’ll need to read a lot and get a firm grasp on some complicated concepts in mathematics and science. You’ll need a very good understanding of subject like Calculus, trigonometry, biology, physics and so forth. You should learn as much as you can. My personal advice to gain some inspiration is to watch a few videos about famous engineers and learn how they became engineers. Being an engineer is definitely a career path worth investigating. We definitely need more of them.

Feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments.