To design, to build, to create. Those are the actions of the engineer. If you look around you, you will notice that almost everything that you see was in some way created by this profession. By using either force or brain power, shear will or procrastination, our modern world has been brought to you by this type of ingenuity. From the most basic components to the largest structures, using simple tools or complex machinery, all go through the creation process known as engineering. Weather you design or draft, or if you calculate or sketch, or that you program or hack, it all lives in the same realm. It is not the degree or the diploma, it is not the just experience or credentials, but the pure interest in wanting to better mankind by creating something that was not before.
Before you can design anything or physically build it, you must imagine it. That is one of the most important tools that an engineer has. One must figure out what problem they are trying to solve, and the imagination plays an integral role in this. The world has many challenges, and to find solutions to them is the goal of engineering. Imagine something as simple as creating a bracket to hold a shelf. This can be a simple yet elegant solution to store some books in your house. The design is simple and requires just the minimal amount of knowledge about fasteners, materials, and physics. A few simple calculations and some hand tools and you are own your way to a shelf. Now imagine this same bracket but used to hold several tons of products in a warehouse. Now everything changes. You must have a deeper understanding of materials, basic knowledge of statics, a more in depth understanding of physics and strength of materials, and of course a much better repertoire of bolting knowledge. Interesting how a simple application change can modify the amount of engineering work a component design can have.
There are many modern tools that an engineer can use today. Powerful CAD and CAM software that generate 3D models and drawings. Sophisticated FEA and CFD tools that can be used for stress, thermal, and flow analysis. Complex 3D printers that create rapid prototypes for testing and measuring. Robust ERP software allows you to keep track of all components and parts quickly and seamlessly in a warehouse. Impressive machinery that can be used for testing and manufacturing. There is a hand tool for just about every physical action that you can imagine. Material research has come such a long way. Measuring devices and sensors are state-of-the-art and are used in countless applications. Safety and PPE equipment have improved, which allows engineers to be in places they sometimes could not go before. Smart robotics and systems can take over the tasks if the environment is too harsh. Engineers have all the aide they could ever ask for in this world.
Sometime in the not-too-distant future, our capabilities will greatly expand. Technology will take over the more repetitive, dangerous, and even mundane tasks. Robots will be performing maintenance, clean up, and upkeep of all major infrastructure and systems. We will be able to go deeper into the oceans, we will fly further in space. More exotic materials will be uncovered or synthesized for general use. The emphasis on nature and integration with it will become more of a priority. This will change the way we build; cleaner, stronger, and more appealing. There is so much to look forward to.
So when you are at either the job site or the garage, when you go to work at the warehouse or plant, or if your day starts in front of a computer or a simple piece of paper, you are the engineer. You are destined to improve, you are needed to create, and you are wanted to polish the very foundation of our society. As we go fourth and seek to travel outside our very own world, as we try to go faster and safer, always remember that you are invaluable.