Give thanks to the Sunday Times in the 23 October 2011 issue, or more especially Joe Watson of Swansea, for a letter that moves a little way down the road. That is the road to an understanding of engineering reality by the general public and those thinking about choosing a career.
Mr Watson rightly chides a previous writer for suggesting that engineering is a manual job. His own definition of the properties of an engineer is hard to better. The engineer is a ‘graduate who has competence in physics, mathematics, IT and design – to mention a few’. This is not true of the tradesmen or women who are the artisans. While this tells us what they are, and is fine as far as it goes, it does not tell us what the engineer actually does. But, fair do’s, it is progress.
Why, though, is such a simple definition still necessary in the modern world? Think about this. The distinctions between patients, doctors and nurses and even finer graduations such as Registrar or consultant seem to be quite clear to everyone. The Police uniformed branches and its sub-branches compared to the detectives are well-known. Is it because each of those professions is the subject of a vast number of programmes on television? Is that the reason: people learn through the TV stories?
The Lad will not support this as he does not want to encourage the already over-mighty, super-confident denizens of that medium. No, the ignorance is more likely to be because the general public does not normally come into any contact with engineers in person or read about them. Yet, for goodness’ sake, they come into contact with their products every hour of every day. Perhaps this blog will add a few bricks so that the profession rises into view a little more.
Engineering is one of the three drivers in the advancement of the human race. This blog aims to give to career seekers and also to the general public a taste of how this might be so. They are not well served by the current media. It is an engineer posting: not a ‘scientist’. It describes real professional engineering as it is in the real world usually in the present and occasionally as it was in the recent past.