I’ve recently come across certain articles that claim engineering is a boring profession. Naturally upon seeing this, I clicked away in disgust and muttered to myself about how they are wrong for a good few hours. But then I tried to consider why people would think this. After all, engineering is such a creative, diverse and challenging field, so why would some consider engineering boring? In this article we will investigate the arguments for both opinions.
Engineering isn’t Boring
Engineering is a diverse, complicated and exciting field. As an engineer, you can work on the world’s most complex challenges. Engineering involves almost anything. Engineers might design rockets for NASA, develop big manufacturing processes, or help maintain nuclear submarines.
At times, it’s hard to quite envision how important engineering is to modern society. Pretty much everything designed and manufactured today is because of engineering. Just stop what you are doing and look around you. Everything; the chair you are sitting on, the table you are sat at, the building you are in, all are the products of centuries of engineering and development.
As much as its importance in the past and present may interest you, that’s nothing compared to looking at the future. Engineers will continue to shape our society through the next few decades and beyond. It offers one of the few career choices which genuinely gives you a chance to shape the future.
An engineering career is all about getting things done. You may not work on developing a new technology, but you will always be required to problem solve, take responsibility and lead the way to success in your organisation. Whatever discipline you go into, an engineering job will always be diverse and interesting day in and day out.
Is Engineering Boring?
Although I would not call engineering boring, I can understand people’s opinions and apprehensions on the subject. The truth is, engineering is often romanticised about when concerned with designing power plants or jet engines. As mentioned previously however, engineering is a very varied discipline. So even if some engineers design formula one cars, others design sausage skins. Admittedly, this doesn’t seem quite as exciting.
If someone labels engineering boring, it may be because of the kind of person they are and the kinds of things they dislike more than anything else. Engineering, certainly at university, relies on plenty of maths and scientific applications. Personally I enjoy both these subjects, but appreciate others do not.
Also, depending on the exact role and industry you work in, actual day to day tasks can be fairly dull or repetitive. Heavily regulated industries such as food or pharmaceuticals, involve plenty of paperwork. This is more often than not the job of the engineer to understand and fill in. Another issue is the fact that engineering is not a licensed term. Any kind of job can have the word ‘engineer’ in it. Anyone who has come into contact with a mundane, repetitive job which has ‘engineer’ in the job title may have a skewed view of exactly what engineering involves, leading them to consider engineering boring.
So, What’s Your Take on This?
Both of these arguments have their merits. However, just because of how wide-ranging engineering is, I really don’t believe you can call all engineering boring. Certainly you can say some engineering is boring. But even if you think this, it is probably only a small part of the spectrum of engineering as a whole that you think is boring.
But, needless to say, we are a very diverse species. Your view of engineering is a personal taste. Understandably, people who become engineers tend to be a certain type of people. But no matter what we think, it can’t be denied how diverse, important and challenging a field of engineering itself is, and that in itself should be viewed as a positive.