What is an Engineer?

Engineers are individuals who develop materials, structures, machines and systems using scientific knowledge and mathematics. The field of engineering is based on applied sciences, with research and development that is different from the basic research focus of scientists. The engineering activity entails three broad aspects, design, analysis and specialization. Other facets of the work of engineers that are discussed here at bhaengineers.com are engineering ethics and education.

Design, Analysis and Specialization

The duties of an engineer during the design process include problem definition, research, criteria analysis, solution finding and decision making. Thus, an engineer will spend a lot of their time on research, location, application and transmission of information. Further steps of the design process are conceptualization, feasibility assessment, design requirements, preliminary design, detailed design, production planning, tool design and production.

Analysis engineering involves testing, production and/or maintenance. For instance, an analytical engineer may oversee production in a factory to determine process failure causes or test output to preserve quality. Moreover, they may perform a time and motion study to establish the time and cost needed to complete a project. They may also conduct a risk analysis.

Engineers can specialize in one or more disciplines, and each discipline may have many subdivisions. Engineering disciplines (with subdisciplines in parenthesis) include chemical (materials, process and molecular engineering), civil (geotechnical, structural, transportation, environmental), electrical (electronic, computer, power, optical), and mechanical engineering (vehicle, thermal and acoustical). Furthermore, there are many additional interdisciplinary fields such as industrial, applied, biological, nuclear, agricultural, and petroleum engineering.

Engineering Ethics and Education

Ethics in engineering refers to a set of standards for practitioners to in terms of their obligations towards the public, their clients, employers and profession. The fundamental canons of the American Society of Civil Engineers, for example, states that engineers must put the safety, health and welfare of the public above everything else, render their services only in their area of expertise, issue public statements in an objective and truthful fashion, act in professional matters as faithful agents and avoid conflicts of interest, build their reputation on their own merits and without unfair competition, uphold the honor, integrity and dignity of their chosen profession, and continue their own development as well as the development of others under their supervision.

Engineering education includes the basic education to become an engineer as well as any advanced instruction aimed at a particular specialization, and the regulations vary from country to country. In the US for instance, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the entity in charge of granting universities th right to confer degrees. In Canada, on the other hand, forty institutions offer over two hundred accredited programs that deliver a Bachelor's degree after four years, including but not limited to Concordia University, École Polytechnique de Montréal, École de technologie supérieure, University of Toronto, University of Saskatchewan, University of Victoria, University of Calgary, McGill University, University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University, Ryerson University, University of Regina, Carleton University, McMaster University, University of Ottawa, Queen's University, University of New Brunswick, University of Alberta, UOIT, University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, University of Windsor, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and Royal Military College of Canada.