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What does the job of an Engineer actually involve?

  1. Jun 15, 2012 #1
    Hey guys. Could you give me a list of some of the things you have had to do during your time as an Engineer? I want to know the good bits as well as the bad bits. I have looked at videos on Youtube but i feel as though Youtube may give the idea that Engineering is all pro's and no con's.

    Could we get a list of the different fields of Engineering too? I am personally considering Mechanical Engineering. I think this would be very useful for future Engineers-to-be.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2012 #2
    My buddy works as a mechE, and he says most of what he does is paperwork. This is because he's a test engineer. He also says that engineering curriculum he had wasn't very useful in his job. He said college was all about learning how to solve problems. My other buddy works for the Navy as a design engineer, he designs robots for the Navy. He said the only thing he does is "play" on CAD. He said the only thing he used from college a year into his job was a torque formula. Now my information is second hand, hopefully a REAL engineer can comment. I would like to know other opinions as well!
  4. Jun 18, 2012 #3
    I am not a engineer yet but I work with 20+ engineer's of different fields..mainly mechanical and electrical.

    You get specialized...some do paper work all day...a lot just mess with Pro/E(3d parametric modeling program)...very few get to get their hands dirty..

    It all depends on the department and luck of the draw.

    I am a electrical designer and I make it a point to go out to the product to see my designs and get my hands dirty in a few rapid prototyping situations.

    Some engineer's can't even properly use a tool..they been sitting at a desk so long it is a little pathetic...

    Others are very talented and gain a lot of respect in the work force...it is easy to spot the good ones versus the bad.

    It is so different noone can truly answer that question for you...but I can tell you from what I seen 90% of the engineer's are stuck in front of a computer doing paper work and could care less about the physical product it seems.
  5. Jun 21, 2012 #4
    I'm an almost finished engineer, and have started working (as an engineer) on the side of my studies. I do what the other engineers do, no more and no less. My discipline is engineering physics with a specialization in simulation (so lots of math and numerical analysis) and I work for a large telephony company with testing and validation.

    A normal day:
    I arrive at work, have some tea and fruit for breakfast and sit down at my computer, which is hooked to some bench-type multimeters. I fire up Eclipse + matlab and start cracking at today's problems. I answer the questions colleagues have for me on technical issues, and when I get stuck I get up from my desk and ask one of them for advice. I do this until I need to attend a meeting with clients or management. Repeat until lunch, repeat until end of day.

    Good parts:
    On a good day, I will arrive and start working on my part of the project we're doing and nobody bothers me until I need to go home. Then the day feels short and productive, with exciting things to think about. Everyone in my workplace is at least a bit smart, so workplace conversation is never incredibly bad (i previously worked in construction... those guys aren't as enlightened, in general).

    I learn new things every day from just talking to people about what they are doing, and since most people wanted to become the engineers they now are my surroundings are filled with content, generally happy human beings. This has a huge effect on the day-to-day drudge. I get very flexible hours, and people generally trust me and talk to me in a decent way.

    Bad Parts:
    I only work on incredibly small parts of the finished product, as does everyone else - I never get to see "my" work in action, since it's hidden away in the depths of a driver or subroutine. Meetings can get frustrating, especially with management who want things done without understanding how their allocation of resources on my projects are affecting me. Overtime can be a real drag, especially ordered overtime that I can't control. Did you have plans for the weekend? Sorry, client needs a patch. Also, very strict corporate structures feel inflexible and inefficient - but that's mostly my company.

    Hope to be of some help.

    EDIT: In response to a previous answer, I actually work on problems and solve them with the skills I learned at university. Not schoolbook-type problems, of course, but reminiscent of the project-type assignments I do at university. Except there is no guidance most of the time.
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