Curious about what it’s like to be an engineer? Do you know what an engineer does? Want to know how your work as an engineer can lead to the next big invention? Engineering is perhaps one of the most misunderstood careers of our times. I’m here to dispel several myths about engineering and show just how prevalent engineering is in our everyday lives. The life of an engineer is rewarding, creative, and fulfilling!
One of my favorite stories to tell about an engineering misconception is when I have car trouble and my best friend says, “why don’t you know what is going on with your car? You’re a mechanical engineer, right?” Being an engineer is about much more than knowing how your gasoline motor works; engineering goes above and beyond identifying mechanisms and understanding them. One of the interesting facts about engineering is that engineering is about the creativity of finding solutions to simple day-to-day issues using the magnificent nature of physics, mechanics, thermodynamics, and material science. Engineering is not a matter of “knowing things,” it’s more a matter of “being curious and efficient using whatever resources that nature might provide to us.” Here are some popular myths around our beloved career — ENGINEERING.
Myth #1: “All engineers are math NERDS”
This one is fun, and of course it all depends on how you define NERD. According to Oxford Languages, the use of nerd as a noun is defined as “a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious.” This is so far from the reality of engineers — especially at Brindley Engineering. We are blessed to work with the greatest team of amazing people that you can call friends. People with whom you share time with not only professionally but personally as well. So, Myth #1 is debunked — we are not NERDS. However, according to Oxford Languages the use of nerd as a verb is defined as the action “to engage in or discuss a technical field obsessively or with great attention to detail.” Great attention to detail is one of our core values as a company, and one of the best characteristics an engineer can possess. Engineers are ACTIONERS, we dig to get the best results based on paying careful attention to details. So yes, we nerd out on the details. 😊
Myth #2: “Engineering is not part of our everyday life”
Let’s pick one of the most common actions in our lives: our daily commute to work or school or practice or anywhere! How do you move from home to your place of work? You can use your car, or the bus, or the train, or your beloved bike, or maybe (depending on the weather) your super cool Ducati Monster 2021. Guess what, all those modes of transportation required — at the moment of their invention — the spark of creativity and the action of paying attention to all the details that mechanics and physics can provide … and voila! In other words, without engineers to think about, create, and improve those modes of transportation, you would have to rely on your very own legs to get you to your destination. Some notable engineers who have made really cool stuff (yes, I LOVE bikes!!) include: Karl Benz, who had the amazing idea of the “Motorwagen;” Rudolf Diesel, who patented the idea of the high-performance internal combustion engine (Diesel Engine); and (shocking another German engineer) Wilhelm Maybach, who put in motion the first petroleum fuel Motorcycle in 1885. It’s easy to see how much engineering has changed our lives and how it keeps evolving to even more amazing creations and applications that affect our everyday lives. Myth #2 debunked — engineering is part of everyday life.
Myth #3: “Engineering is just for boys”
I am just going to present facts to uncover this myth. The Mechanical department of my Brindley Engineering team comprises 46% female engineers. In all of Brindley Engineering, roughly 36% of positions are held by women engineers. Going further back in history, we should acknowledge another female engineer, Ada Lovelace, who wrote the world’s first computer algorithm in 1843. And thanks to Margaret Wilcox, you can drive in your car in the middle of the winter with heat. The list goes on…
Florence Parpart patented the first electric refrigerator.
Ellen Ochoa — electrical engineer for NASA, former astronaut, and vice chair of the National Science Board — was the first Hispanic woman in the U.S. to perform those amazing accomplishments.
Lynn Conway is a former IBM engineer and inventor of the generalized dynamic instruction handling for computer processors.
These female engineers are known for their inventions, achievements, and research. Engineering is a beautiful career for anyone, regardless of gender — all you need is to have your creativity mode on and to share your passion for building solutions to new (and old) things every day. Myth debunked!
There are many more myths around a career in engineering, some of them true, some of them false. But a career in engineering allows you to experience all the challenges and unique tasks that might come your way every day at work, home, school, and really any part of life. Because being an engineer is not only about nerds who love math, or discussing if the use of a Hastelloy material could be the best fit for a certain damage mechanism on a petrochemical process, or trying to understand a piping stress analysis for a client… Being an engineer is all about providing solutions to any kind of problem using creativity and attention to detail to achieve amazing results that can impact all of our lives today and create a pathway for the new inventions of tomorrow.