Tag Archives: engineers

No one person’s engineering job is like someone else’s. I know many of the electrical engineers in this community spend a lot of time in their labs or at the bench. Being an engineer seems to be its own batch of challenges and opportunities but many aspects of the job wax and wane between a more hands on technician role or a very hands off project lead role. Despite working at a large company my role can be confusing at times. One would think with plenty of qualified technicians to work on the bench, and plenty more qualified programs and management folks to support the paperwork and planning side, that an engineer would get a nice rounded role. As in, maybe we could actually do our job. But so often you’re pulled into going to Home Depot to pick up that set of hardware that your multi-billion dollar business just…

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Engineering has changed a lot and continues to change. I think a lot of the technological aspects of this are pretty obvious. But something that might be more appropriate to this economy is what engineering means as a profession. I remember earlier this year when we asked on here whether engineering was a respected profession. But now I think there’s a new question being asked: whether engineering is a stable job. According to the census bureau there are something like 1.6 million engineers employed in the US. A whopping 12% of those are direct employees of state, local or the federal government. It doesn’t list how many engineers are indirectly funded by the government by working on government grants in science or engineering, working for companies that receive direct payment for goods and services from the government for infrastructure programs or even direct commercial goods, or how many are employed…

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During the course of selling your soul for pieces of silver, there may come a time when the powers that be request that you sell out just a little more of yourself. Yes, they give you underlings. Soon, you will discover that all the skill and pride that you’ve carefully nurtured over the past many years will vanish in mere months. Where once you took pride in your ingenious cleverness, now you take care of babysitting disgruntled ex-peers who look upon you as an obstacle to their inventive genius. The complex computer modeling of the nano-world is replaced by Gantt charts and bar graphs. You start attending meetings, lots of them. Meetings with the boss. Meetings with your peers. Meetings with underlings. Food starts to taste funny; the flatulent co-worker seems to smell less; staring at the sun directly is no longer a problem; underling complaints seem to sound like…

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