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As an Engineer, will you just sit on your butt?

by KidWonder
Tags: butt, engineer
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KidWonder
#19
Mar18-12, 10:54 PM
P: 22
Rats! It's not looking to good for me. I always pictured engineering to be hands on with models and prototype objects that you test and evaluate. Not hands on keyboard and mouse!

This is bad, really really bad. I haven't even started school yet, and I'm feeling bad about going into engineering. I always won Science Fairs and did very well in Science Olympiad as far as designing and developing objects.

But this, is a real big slap in the face! I wanna do cool stuff! I don't want to sit in front of a computer all day.

>:'(
Woopydalan
#20
Mar18-12, 10:58 PM
P: 746
Maybe pure science? I'm in a situation similar to you, I don't know what I'm doing to do with my life right now either. Maybe go shadow an engineer for a summer and see what they actually do before you dedicate 4 years of your life to being educated in it.
OldEngr63
#21
Mar19-12, 01:48 PM
P: 343
Let me describe a company that I worked for back in the '90s. It was called MPC in Skokie, IL, and the company manufactured a wide range of small mechanical and electro-mechanical components for the aerospace, military, and space industries. We had several large, one story buildings, very open with cubicles set up across the floor that were both offices and manufacturing spaces, side by side. This way engineers were right next to the assemblers winding rotors, doing tests on gadgets, etc. We had full machine shop, gear cutting, grinding, electronics fabrication, vibration testing (shake, rattle, and roll), all of this within our buildings, so that we could build any part for the air craft flight deck, fly-by-wire, spaceship controls, jet fighter controls, etc. test them in house, etc.

New engineers always started out as product engineers, overseeing the production of established products through the shop. The way to rise in the company was to come up with new applications, new devices that we could market and build, and those who could became product line managers. There were always demands for new products for NASA, the air force, the commercial aviation companies, and so on. We worked with them all, building prototypes, testing them, designing and redesigning. Engineers were very close to the hardware, close to the shop, close to the customer. It was a company of about 700 people at that time, about 300 engineers, about the same number of techs, and the rest office support people. It was a great place to work, very dynamic, never a dull day.
Choppy
#22
Mar19-12, 02:11 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 2,679
Something worth keeping in mind is that the 'cubicle workplace model' may not be as prolific 10-20 years from now as it is today. You used to need to spend a lot of time at a desktop computer because that was the only thing that had the capability of doing most of your tasks.

With the proliferation of mobile devices and cloud computing, even complex simulation-like tasks can be accomplished remotely. So you may see engineers who spend most of their time working at home (or in coffee shops, or out hiking in the mountains) and come directly into factories or to job sites as needed to solve whatever problems of the day have come up.
Pyrrhus
#23
Mar19-12, 02:42 PM
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Quote Quote by Choppy View Post
Something worth keeping in mind is that the 'cubicle workplace model' may not be as prolific 10-20 years from now as it is today. You used to need to spend a lot of time at a desktop computer because that was the only thing that had the capability of doing most of your tasks.

With the proliferation of mobile devices and cloud computing, even complex simulation-like tasks can be accomplished remotely. So you may see engineers who spend most of their time working at home (or in coffee shops, or out hiking in the mountains) and come directly into factories or to job sites as needed to solve whatever problems of the day have come up.
Basically, Yes. You will still be sitting, but with a nice view of mountains.

Frankly, I don't see what's the problem with sitting?. All works that require intellectual work requires sitting, or standing up staring at things. If you want to work with your hands then again, maybe Mechanic?.
smashbrohamme
#24
Mar21-12, 06:51 AM
P: 91
Quote Quote by Pyrrhus View Post
Basically, Yes. You will still be sitting, but with a nice view of mountains.

Frankly, I don't see what's the problem with sitting?. All works that require intellectual work requires sitting, or standing up staring at things. If you want to work with your hands then again, maybe Mechanic?.
I agree once again with this guy.

only thing I can really say to the original poster is..welcome to the real world man.

Top level mechanics and electricians at my company make decent money.

Maybe you should gear towards a test engineer..Research and Development
Shaun_W
#25
Mar21-12, 02:41 PM
P: 267
Yes, as an engineer you'll be largely sitting on your arse using some sort of software to produce a design, analysis or something of a component, or even writing documentation about it. If you want a job that involves your hands more, then become a mechanic, machinist, technician etc.
cronanster
#26
Mar21-12, 05:41 PM
P: 24
At my company I do both. We are a very small company and I spend most of my time on the computer. We also have a machine shop just for prototyping I spend a lot of time in. We make our designs, then go down to the shop to test it out and such.

I all depends on where you end up. You are never going to avoid the computer.
Woopydalan
#27
Mar21-12, 06:18 PM
P: 746
Sounds like being an engineer isn't so glamorous..I really need to think about what I want to be.
Pyrrhus
#28
Mar21-12, 07:03 PM
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All intelectual work requires a computer, and paper. It requires you to think, sit, and stare. You are never going to avoid sitting doing any kind of intellectual work.
Woopydalan
#29
Mar21-12, 07:09 PM
P: 746
yeah but this sounds like the vast majority of the job. Imagine being in front of the computer for even 4 of the 8 hours of a normal work day for the next 30 years.
Pyrrhus
#30
Mar21-12, 07:13 PM
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Quote Quote by Woopydalan View Post
yeah but this sounds like the vast majority of the job. Imagine being in front of the computer for even 4 of the 8 hours of a normal work day for the next 30 years.
That's what I do. I am a economist. I sit in front of a computer for 8 hours each day. Sometimes even more. I love it. I am doing tons of interesting intellectual work: microeconomic modeling, econometric modeling, computer programming, and so on.
Woopydalan
#31
Mar21-12, 07:15 PM
P: 746
Well good thing you enjoy it, for me I think I would get depressed! (and maybe arthritis)
cronanster
#32
Mar21-12, 07:18 PM
P: 24
That's life in any setting after school, unless you end up as a mechanic/carpenter. Yes it does lose its luster once start working in the field, but it does have its moments. It's those moments that make it all worth it.

Yes, you will be spending hours in front of the computer typing proposals, making spreadsheets, doing design work, answering emails, doing computations, loads of paperwork.

But, it all makes it worth it when you see something you have been working on for a long come to life.

Engineering isn't like Mythbusters where you are in a huge warehouse and left to nothing but your imagination. We all wish it was it that.

Trust me though, stay with it. If you enjoy how things work/taking things apart, I think you will still enjoy engineering. I was the same as you.
Woopydalan
#33
Mar21-12, 07:23 PM
P: 746
I think being a scientist in the field (i.e. field biologist) and educator would be more fun...maybe I'll pursue that instead. Plus, no work during the summer! So I can go through with my travel plans
Pyrrhus
#34
Mar21-12, 07:41 PM
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Quote Quote by Woopydalan View Post
I think being a scientist in the field (i.e. field biologist) and educator would be more fun...maybe I'll pursue that instead. Plus, no work during the summer! So I can go through with my travel plans
Actually, if you become a professor. You work the whole year. Professors do research (not only teach), and still need to supplement their income for the summer months. However, if you wish you can travel the summer months.
Woopydalan
#35
Mar21-12, 07:44 PM
P: 746
Maybe community college teacher or high school. I know they make squat for cash but if I can live frugally and get the summer/winter to travel it'd be more worth it than working year round for twice as much money, especially if I can only spend it on things that I care less about (house size, cars, etc)
KidWonder
#36
Mar21-12, 10:52 PM
P: 22
Thanks for the heads up Guys.

I just want to enjoy my job. I think I envisioned the wrong picture of what an Modern Engineer does on a daily basis.

It's depressing to me, if I have to stare at a Computer Screen ALL DAY LONG. I want to design, build, test, and refine. But, that's certainly not happening.


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