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## What does an engineering job actually entail?

 Quote by timthereaper Hahaha only every single day. The government would shut us down hard if we did, though. But I guess we can still dream...
You know what they say: be a technician.

Because you get to have fun and the engineers have to clean up after you.

 Quote by timthereaper Yes. Doing simulations is a huge part of engineering. In fact, finite element simulations are almost required in industry. You get to see how things will react before you build it. It's what has allowed engineering to come so far in the last 50 years. We don't really. We design things with "fudge factors" and overengineer things to give us some cushion and we can model everything all we like in sophisticated programs, but we just don't know how it will perform exactly. That's where testing comes in. After all is said and done, that's what gives us the hard reality. Once we figure out how it will actually behave, we write documentation and teach the technicians how to maintain the system.
You might not wanna discuss your top secret military research. Look at what happened to Shane Todd.
 Some guys who do simulations needed data to validate their models. We sent them out in the field to do rocket triggered lightning experiments. They shot rockets trailing a wire up into thunderstorms, then observed the results. One of the engineers remarked, "this is so much fun I can't believe you're paying me to do this."

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 Quote by Equilibrium Since virtual simulation today are a little inaccurate compared to reality, How do you know that you are doing it right?
The theory guys would say you have that backwards. The real world isn't smart enough to understand their equations

Serious answer: this has changed a lot in recent years. Originally, things were designed using theory and calculations, but you proved they worked properly by testing them. But the bad news is, you can't test something until you have actually built it, and if it doesn't work you often don't have enough time or money to fix it properly.

Then somebody had a better idea: instead of testing the finished product, you do tests to find out how good your simulations are. When you know that, you only design things that you know how to simulate accurately.

You still do a lot of tests to check out the simulations, but they are usually much better planned and executed than a "last-minute panic" to get the product shipped to the customer.

Of course you do still test the finished products, but you don't expect anything to fail. When I started as an engineer, a project would plan on building 25 or 30 prototypes for testing (costing $millions each) and it was no great surprise if several were totally wrecked. Now, if a project leader says he needs 4 prototypes for testing, somebody is going to say "why can't you do it with only 3."  Quote by AlephZero Then somebody had a better idea: instead of testing the finished product, you do tests to find out how good your simulations are. When you know that, you only design things that you know how to simulate accurately. That somebody was Charles Proteus Steinmetz, 1865- 1926. He established that method for designing the power grid. After all, the national power grid is not something you can prototype. Steinmetz's followers at General Electric in Schenctady were so successful using those analytical methods that more than 50% of all the world's patents 1925-1965 had a Schenectady inventor. Recognitions: Gold Member  Quote by anorlunda One of the engineers remarked, "this is so much fun I can't believe you're paying me to do this." i like that.  Quote by tade You might not wanna discuss your top secret military research. Look at what happened to Shane Todd. I understand your concern. I'm being careful not to divulge any proprietary secrets or methods. From what I've experienced, that's just a general engineering practice.  Quote by AlephZero Then somebody had a better idea: instead of testing the finished product, you do tests to find out how good your simulations are. When you know that, you only design things that you know how to simulate accurately. You still do a lot of tests to check out the simulations, but they are usually much better planned and executed than a "last-minute panic" to get the product shipped to the customer. Of course you do still test the finished products, but you don't expect anything to fail. When I started as an engineer, a project would plan on building 25 or 30 prototypes for testing (costing$millions each) and it was no great surprise if several were totally wrecked. Now, if a project leader says he needs 4 prototypes for testing, somebody is going to say "why can't you do it with only 3."
This is right on the money. The better the analysis tools get, the less prototypes have to be built. When I worked in carbon-fiber composites, this really saved us on cost. Every now and again you had to do some testing, but the results weren't surprising, unless there were manufacturing defects.

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 Quote by timthereaper I understand your concern. I'm being careful not to divulge any proprietary secrets or methods. From what I've experienced, that's just a general engineering practice.
Yeah. So do you think it's more than just suicide?

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 Quote by timthereaper I understand your concern. I'm being careful not to divulge any proprietary secrets or methods. From what I've experienced, that's just a general engineering practice.
Yeah. So do you think it's more than just suicide?
 What's it like being an engineer? Well, I am an unusual case. I have to live with my creations. Very few engineers get to see what they create and live with it through the entire life-cycle. I design instrumentation, control systems, and SCADA systems for a large water and sewer utility. And when they're obsolete, I specify, install, program, and maintain the next generation. It can be a great joy to see your creation "just work" at huge scales that most people can not even imagine. There is some technician work in what we do, but only when things get weird. The routine stuff we give to the technician staff. When things get outside their experience, they call me. Examples of stuff that I get called in for include an ultrasonic level gauge that needed frequent recalibration. It turned out that it wasn't measuring the air temperature as well as it should have, so the speed of sound was changing and thus, so was the measured water level. I get to diagnose and locate interference to our licensed operations on the air. I design extremely high availability networks for SCADA. I design fail-safe controls for remote, unmanned facilities. I have lots of cool toys to play with. And if I screw up, the operators know my phone numbers. I have been called to fix my stuff at all hours of day or night. It keeps me realistic and honest like nothing else. I review new construction work. I contribute to standards committees. I analyze test results from installation work to ensure it is going to perform as needed. I have to know many things about many regimes of engineering, ranging from weir head calculations, manning flow equations, PID loop controls, energy market purchase policies, SCADA protocols, FCC regulations, modulation techniques, noise calculations, thermal estimates for field equipment, reliability calculations, safety systems (SIF and SIL), and many many more things. It is cool work. I come in early and I leave late, not because I have to but because I want to. It is varied, interesting, disgusting, funny, demoralizing, exciting, and more. But most of all, I work with a really cool bunch of people. The work may not always be a joy, but we do have a fun and varied bunch to work with. That's what my work is like. I've been doing it for 27 years, and I still like it. Jacob Brodsky, PE

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Gold Member
 Quote by JakeBrodskyPE What's it like being an engineer? Well, I am an unusual case. I have to live with my creations. Very few engineers get to see what they create and live with it through the entire life-cycle. I design instrumentation, control systems, and SCADA systems for a large water and sewer utility. And when they're obsolete, I specify, install, program, and maintain the next generation. It can be a great joy to see your creation "just work" at huge scales that most people can not even imagine. There is some technician work in what we do, but only when things get weird. The routine stuff we give to the technician staff. When things get outside their experience, they call me. Examples of stuff that I get called in for include an ultrasonic level gauge that needed frequent recalibration. It turned out that it wasn't measuring the air temperature as well as it should have, so the speed of sound was changing and thus, so was the measured water level. I get to diagnose and locate interference to our licensed operations on the air. I design extremely high availability networks for SCADA. I design fail-safe controls for remote, unmanned facilities. I have lots of cool toys to play with. And if I screw up, the operators know my phone numbers. I have been called to fix my stuff at all hours of day or night. It keeps me realistic and honest like nothing else. I review new construction work. I contribute to standards committees. I analyze test results from installation work to ensure it is going to perform as needed. I have to know many things about many regimes of engineering, ranging from weir head calculations, manning flow equations, PID loop controls, energy market purchase policies, SCADA protocols, FCC regulations, modulation techniques, noise calculations, thermal estimates for field equipment, reliability calculations, safety systems (SIF and SIL), and many many more things. It is cool work. I come in early and I leave late, not because I have to but because I want to. It is varied, interesting, disgusting, funny, demoralizing, exciting, and more. But most of all, I work with a really cool bunch of people. The work may not always be a joy, but we do have a fun and varied bunch to work with. That's what my work is like. I've been doing it for 27 years, and I still like it. Jacob Brodsky, PE
Wow, that is a really good script for a PR video.

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