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Americans See Engineers as Society’s Chief Innovators

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naperlou
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Creativity
naperlou   3/18/2014 11:49:32 AM
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Rob, interesting survey.  I fully agree with the results.  What is the angst in the US over our education system today?  It is that we do not prodcue enough engineers.  The plain fact is that many people with engineer in their degree title would not be considered so in the West.  Many of the schools outside of the US or Europe would not get accreditation.  Engineering is not an easy subject. 

It is good to see that people are starting to recognize the role of the engineer.  Engineering, as opposed to science, is a creative activity.  The scientist explains what is.  The engineer creates things that do not exist.  I know that not all engineers are doing fully groundbreaking work, but many do.  I worked for years in the aerospace industry on various types of satellites.  All of them did something that had never been done before.  In many cases these were ground breaking technologies.  I was/am lucky.  In any case, the engineer that creates a device that helps make our life better is often making something new.  The added caveat, which makes the field even more interesting and challenging, is that in many cases, the cost and or size and or power consumption is a limiting factor.  Taking all of this together and making something successful is a very creative activity. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Creativity
Rob Spiegel   3/18/2014 12:51:50 PM
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Goodf pointds Naperlou. It was good to see engineers get credit for innovation. So much innovation has been in technology in the past few decades, and that means engineers. So the public's got it right.

Charles Murray
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Re: Creativity
Charles Murray   3/18/2014 6:22:50 PM
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Yes, the public's got it right. Although the survey respondents probably didn't say this, I think their response has something to do with the fact that engineers create wealth, whereas accountants and lawyers do not.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Creativity
Rob Spiegel   3/18/2014 6:27:53 PM
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That's true, Chuck. Also, engineers make things that can be produced and sent out into the world, unlike attorneys and accountants.

fm
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Re: Creativity
fm   3/19/2014 5:41:31 PM
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As an engineer, i'm encouraged by your article; thanks. It's nice to have a good report now & again.

Actually, the accountants and attorneys highlight the necessary minefield through which we must walk - most engineers despise it, but we need it! If the thing we're designing doesn't make sense economically, it should get shot down. If the thing we're designing injures people, it should get shot down. The point where the accountants and attorneys cause problems is when they overreach and fail to apply some basic common sense. Frivolous lawsuits and financial restrictions that force risky shortcuts are the opposite of good engineering. It's good to have boundaries, but sometimes those boundaries are drawn way too tightly.

bobjengr
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CHIEF INNOVATORS
bobjengr   3/19/2014 6:08:52 PM
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I think it's wonderful that (finally) the engineering profession is gaining in perceived importance and actual importance.  As stated by one comment, we have always had "good reviews" and, to a degree, respect.   One of the nagging problems we seem to have is the number of graduate engineers who leave the profession for one reason or another.  We really need to correct this and maybe the way is through improved status.   We are one of the few professions in which creativity displays itself with "things" that can be fabricated and used to benefit or society.  Great post Rob. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Creativity
Rob Spiegel   3/19/2014 6:43:28 PM
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I agree with you about the boundaries, FM, and it is good to report on good news for engineers. I was surprised by the growing number of engineers. I had heard -- apparently wrongly -- that engineering was in decline in the US.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: CHIEF INNOVATORS
Rob Spiegel   3/19/2014 6:46:37 PM
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Thanks Bobjengr. I wasn't aware that many engineers were leaving the profession. I know that some of them have come to write for Design News. It wojuld be interesting to know why an engineer would leave the engineering field.

Charles Murray
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Re: Creativity
Charles Murray   3/19/2014 8:10:37 PM
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There's always a lot of debate over whether we have enough engineers. I have no idea who's right, but the number we usually hear of graduating engineers in the U.S. is between 65,000 and 75,000 in any given year.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Creativity
Rob Spiegel   3/19/2014 10:43:41 PM
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It is hard to tell if there is a sufficient number of engineers. Anecdotally, I hear encouraging news. There is a shortage of industrial engineers. That is apparently getting to be a bigger problem with the Baby Boomers retiring. When asked what the toughest challenge is for Facebook, Zuckerberg said, "Finding talent."

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