Path of the Builder: The Triumvirate of the Engineering Practice

Engineering PracticeEngineers are specialists in the trade of building, whether that be a road, electric powerlines, water filtration systems, radios or even a simple computer program. They are the ones who make the transition from science to technology possible. But, that’s always easier said than done. The trade of building things for man demands effective results. And for every project to be a practical success, every self-respecting engineer keeps in mind three things.

Effectiveness

The profession of engineers is what most would call an “outcomes-based” one. The only thing that matters after every project, is the right outcome. That means the final product works and satisfies all the objectives, requirements and generally the goals set forth when it started from the drawing board.

Simply put, any engineer working on a project can use any solution he deems to solve the problem – as long as in the end, the project gets the job done. Like mathematical problems, many solutions can be applied that would arrive at the same answer. The same goes for any engineer’s project. That is the reason why students taking up engineering are encouraged to explore solutions and of course, show their solution in the final paper.

Safety

As an engineer working on projects for the public, or even just a select group of people, you are responsible for the aspect that it should be safe. This goes from building bridges that will not collapse on faulty design, filtration systems that will not contaminate drinking water, or power lines that will not shock bystanders.

This aspect of an engineer’s work also goes into the process of his work. The work that the engineer and his crew does usually have physical dangers involved, such as high-voltage cables, scaffoldings, or high-powered machinery to name a few. They should always go about it with a clear head for maintaining the welfare of the team. This is the reason why most engineering firms have their people attend a Safety Take 5 Program to reinforce this principle.

Economic Use of Resources

If the demand to make a machine that works as proposed is troublesome enough, there is also the constraint of available resources. Engineers work in the real world, meaning they have limitations. This is where the key word “efficiency” comes in. To differentiate, effective is getting the job done – means of making it irrelevant – whereas efficiency is to get the job done with the least effort and resources used. For those working in Research and Development (R&D), this is usually the most difficult opponent as you are working with limited funding.

The term engineer sounds very much like “ingenious”. To be a proper engineer, you have to be clever enough to make something effective from what little you have available to you.