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What does an Engineer do??

First you have to break down people's misconceptions…
Your aunt thinks you work for the railroad while a cousin figures you must have something to do with sanitation and garbage. Your father is a little closer to the truth, but still visualizes you as "Scotty" on Star Trek. Such misrepresentation is tough to take, but if you can survive rigors of getting an engineering degree you can certainly survive wrong impressions. But it would be nice for them to actually know the truth. So, let's try to develop a logical plan of attack.

Try to avoid dusty textbook answers…

Announcing that "engineers employ mathematics, science, and the engineering art to benefit mankind by solving problems in a safe and economical fashion" is technically correct, but it does little to really explain the profession. Such a statement cannot stand on its own, and conveys only two messages;

I don't want to hurt people
2. I want to save money

No doubt it is vague definitions like this that allow almost anyone to sneak the word "engineer" into their professional title. For example, take your local garbage man. He probably didn't go to college, but he is often referred to as a sanitation engineer. Your typical professional engineer took a slightly different route to his or hers career destiny. He or she probably graduated from an Engineering School where he or she did fairly well in math and physics courses during his four to five years at the University. Today he or she probably helps mankind by doing something with a computer. He or she has never hurt anyone, and does not "feel" overpaid. Hence he is helping "mankind in a safe and economical fashion". Right - but really boring!

I guess its back to the textbook...
Yet, lets not be too hasty in discrediting the above definition. A more thorough look suggests that it may in fact have some value. This is because, in a very stale manner, this definition does capture the essence of engineering. It speaks of a union of mathematics, science, and the engineering art to solve problems. Today's engineers are, in fact, a hybrid of this sort. They are a new breed of technologists created through a union of science and technology!

Science & Technology; Now the Similarities...
Social Structure... (similar, yet inversed values)


"The attitude of the engineer to mathematics must be quite different from that of the pure mathematician. The engineer is concerned with truth not with mere consistency." -Biot

"Who shall criticize the builders? Certainly not those who have stood idly by without lifting a stone." -E.T.Bell

You may be asking yourself, "Do I have what it takes to be an engineer?" Well, just consult our not so serious list of engineering characteristics.

In the end, you must decide how to explain you job to a layman. I think the keys are to make it simple and brief and hope for the best.

Physics Versus Engineering!

For some more views of what makes an engineer tick.

  The Dilbert Zone

The Wit and Whimsy of Scot Adams. Good engineers fight against evil managers & pets across the corporate battlefield, enough said...

(Parts of the above were taken from What is a Chemical Engineer?)

For free calculations go to the Calculator page. The calculators should be used with caution. Some of these calculators are not verified and are only intended to provide a starting point in performing design calculations. All final design calculations should be performed using verified and validated programs. For more information on this, please contact EDA, Inc.

The following links have been reviewed and approved to be the best engineering information available on the internet, so please enjoy and if you have a better link of engineering information, email it to .

Company Profile
EDA, Incorporated provides quality-engineering services on time, on schedule and within budget. EDA, Inc. is able to do this by performing the work correctly the first time. We accept the most challenging problems and look forward to working with the client as a team member. EDA believes that the client should be an active participant in the work process to ensure that the product is commensurate with client expectations and is delivered within schedule and budget constraints.

EDA, Inc. belongs to the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Society of Instrument Control Engineers, Society of Professional Engineers (ISA) and the American Nuclear Society (ANS).

For more information on EDA, Incorporated services, please contact Client Service Manager at:

Client Service Manager
EDA, Inc.
2015 Woodford Rd
Vienna, VA 22182

or email the Client Service Manager at