The word engineer is French, but it has Latin origin, where it meant “capable, talented”. Nowadays we can observe how humanitarian professions become more popular, however it doesn’t mean engineering specialties have lost relevance. The fact that the number of engineers is getting smaller increases the demand for this profession. There is another reason for the increase in demand: new high-tech industries are developing, requiring the application of engineering thought.
Engineers can be different. There are those who work in the office, at a computer or with a pencil in their hand. Also there are those who are present at the front line of production – in the plant departments, on the drilling, in the mines. But they are engaged in similar things: they think, invent, produce analysis and calculations, manage production and technology, etc. There are controlling engineers as wells: product controllers, engineers for labor protection, technical supervisors.
In addition, new industries also generate the need for engineering personnel with unexpected competencies: a microbiologist, a genetic engineer, an environmental engineer, a medical engineer, etc. Thus, the humanitarian and engineering spheres of activity converge.
What qualities do you need to be a successful engineer?
First of all, a good intellect. There is good news: it develops when a person applies diligence and perseverance in solving intellectual problems – mathematical or physical – mastering the algorithms for their solution, gaining experience in applying mathematical and physical laws and solutions in practice.
Consequently, (and this is the second) to be a good specialist in this area a person should demonstrate a certain interest in practical matters of physics and mathematics, study the cases of using certain regularities of these sciences, interesting inventions, novelties and innovations in the technology.
Thirdly, for this purpose it is useful to visit communities of interest. For example, beginning from the school a person can visit clubs where robots, models and mechanisms are constructed. And in the university a future engineer can be a participant of student research and development societies.
How to build a career in this profession?
Production engineers could always become “production commanders” of different levels from the shop manager to the factory director.
In design offices and bureaus, the main mass profession is a design engineer. They create drawings and a three-dimensional model of a site, the calculation of weight characteristics, technological solutions, etc. When creating such a product, a design engineer often invents something “incidentally”.
In this chain the design engineer can become a chief designer. He or she becomes responsible for development of production at a company. And at a higher level, as it often happens with major companies, it can influence the development of the whole industry. This happens in shipbuilding, aircraft building, in the medical equipment industry and others.
In many organizations, even those that are far from technological industries one can find a position of chief engineer. Usually such a specific position implies responsibility for all the equipment and its operation. In large industrial companies chief engineer are responsible for the development and efficiency of production. They have other engineer specialists in the subordination. For example, it can be a department of the chief mechanic, which monitors the state of machinery and equipment, and small design departments.
The chief engineers interact with marketers, attend specialized trade shows and conferences to determine where to concentrate efforts in order to produce competitive products. Often such specialists cooperate with financial departments to plan investments in production. Also an engineer calculates the efficiency of the acquired equipment and its operation.
Therefore, an engineer must understand the technical novelties and innovations occurring in international and local markets. Also he/she make a decision on the acquisition of equipment, based on the economic criteria adopted in the organization (output volume per unit capacity of equipment, the volume of investment, payback period, depreciation period, number of servicing staff, etc.).
The highest position of an engineer is ideological. He/she determines the area of perspective development of engineering and acts on the lead, sending investments into research and development.