Engineers have the fascinating job of tackling some of the most difficult problems imaginable. Often, if things go wrong and something breaks, engineers are called in to analyze and fix the problems. Determining why some component failed may require stress testing or destructive testing by someone with the skills and understanding to perform them. Engineers apply their brainpower to imagine the processes, materials and tools needed to solve these and countless other problems.
Functional areas that require the kind of knowledge and skill possessed by engineers are one way that this professional can be segmented. Conducting a variety of technically complex tests is one activity taken on engineers. Designing new useful products is another engineering function that requires creativity. A different kind of creative responsibility that engineers sometimes perform is developing processes to address some problem within an existing process. Each of these activities is a different aspect of the important work that engineers perform.
One interesting facet of testing deals with the conditions under which a test is conducted. Often this is important to replicate the operating environment in which a part is being used. Elaborate testing rigs are designed and built by the engineers who also design and conduct the actual tests. These may include special chambers that allow control of temperature, pressure and movement of some part being tested.
Part of a design engineer’s work involves predicting what consumer trends and needs are going to be in the future. This exercise in imagination requires a special ability to see the world from a consumer’s point of view. Then, a designer must think about what they might like and need. Only then can the engineering tasks of designing that product commence. Decisions about what materials to use and the aesthetics of an item are also elements of this task.
Problems routinely occur in systems and processes. A process engineer must be able to think in terms of the overall way a system works and then come up with a change in the existing process or an entirely new process to replace or augment an old one. Often, process engineers implement control systems to automate parts of a manufacturing plant or assembly operation.
The different fields of engineering cover a wide range of problem-solving situations. These dedicated professionals make vital contributions to society every day. They make the world a safer more convenient place to live.