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Tell me what an Engineer does???


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No, not the train kind.

 

I've heard the term "Engineer" in relation to my different types of industries, ie Nuclear Engineer, Geothermal Engineer, and many more types of Engineers.

 

I know they tend to make good money, tend to be mathy/science type smart people.

 

I know DH's cousin and her husband are "Engineers" with a Boeing, make good $$$ and are able to take six months to a year "off" every few years (they like to do things like backpack across America, hike across Europe, sail to the South Seas, etc, no children), and then walk right back into a job, making just as good of money. Were even able to go work in another country for a few years.

 

But what does an Engineer DO??? I am sure it varies based on the industry, but if you have any idea on any industry, could you let me know? Just curious!

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I think the basic idea is that engineers design/build things . .. bridge, planes, software, equipment . . . not houses, but most other stuff. I was an electrical engineering major for a while, and it was all about how to build electronic circuits.

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No, not the train kind.

 

I've heard the term "Engineer" in relation to my different types of industries, ie Nuclear Engineer, Geothermal Engineer, and many more types of Engineers.

 

I know they tend to make good money, tend to be mathy/science type smart people.

 

I know DH's cousin and her husband are "Engineers" with a Boeing, make good $$$ and are able to take six months to a year "off" every few years (they like to do things like backpack across America, hike across Europe, sail to the South Seas, etc, no children), and then walk right back into a job, making just as good of money. Were even able to go work in another country for a few years.

 

But what does an Engineer DO??? I am sure it varies based on the industry, but if you have any idea on any industry, could you let me know? Just curious!

I am a engineer. I was in auto industry, aerospace/defense and now energy.

I was research engineer in auto industry. We develop concept what we want the technology in next car, develop the portfolio and make the company invest in our idea then make it happen.

In aerospace, I was in engine development. I was stress engineer so I figure out how much life a airplane can go for my component, I also design testing for my component. Make sure it can take the force as designed. I also design component go on missile, again, I make sure the missile goes where it supposed to go not blow up in the middle:lol:

I won't go in detail what I do now,

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My father is a chief of surveys in a company that does a lot of large, country wide jobs.

 

I know the engineers piss him off. :D (they tend to be great at the planning part, but not good with the practical application of their ideas) Engineer is curse word at their house. :D:tongue_smilie:

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Varies WILDLY.

 

I was an engineer at 3 different companies. My DW has also been at 3 different companies as an engineer (6 companies in all, no overlap).

 

Some examples:

 

In a pharmaceutical company, working on testing manufactured pills to figure out the cause of a quality-control issue the company was having. (sitting at a desk manipulating numbers)

 

In a consumer products company, testing reformulations of shampoo. (Very hands on)

 

In a department of energy contractor, working with data on flow rates and thermal efficiency. (Data manipulation again)

 

In a department of defense company, designing a test algorithm for a ballistic missile subsystem. IE, yes, I was a rocket scientist. It's not that glamorous, I promise. That was a mix of sitting at a desk fooling around with code and test algorithms, data manipulation, and some hands on testing stuff.

 

In an aerospace company, designing a linear actuator (ie something that moves in and out) for airplane landing gear. This involved a mix of stuff - designing in a CAD program, "testing" the design using simulations (stress, heat transfer, etc), getting the product built and then actually doing real lab testing.

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They're the people that make our modern world possible. They design our roads, bridges, buildings & planes so that they drain, don't fall down and don't fall out of the sky. They help keep us safe. They devise ways to get the oil and gas out of the ground, better ways for transporting things, new and better packaging designs....sometimes they're inventors and sometimes they're taking others' designs and making them possible. They do so many things.

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I am not an engineer, but I work with them on a daily basis. In our industry (environmental and geotechnical consulting) they do the same thing I do but earn more money. :lol: joking only a bit. They perform soil and structural analyses, design remediation systems, retaining walls, and foundations, and write reports. And worry about getting sued.

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Engineers designed your computer. They did the math and the chemistry and the physics to design the chips, they figured out how to build equipment to mass produce them, and they programmed them. They designed and built your phone, and all the components in it. They designed your car, your house's heater, and your ipod. They designed the machines that did your mammogram, your grandfather's prostate surgery, and your neighbor's wheelchair. They designed the industrial equipment that made your shoes, your clothes, your medicine, and the boxes your cereal comes in. They designed the TSA's baggage screening machines, the planes you fly, and the helicopters our military flies. They improve all of these things to make them greener, cheaper, and safer. They took us to the moon.

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My son just graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and got a good job. He has worked on designing robots, military drones, various electrical circuits, and radar that would be used by SWAT teams or the military. Another electrical engineer I know works on designing new products for automotive companies, like remote starts, key fobs, gps systems, electronic door openers and all the other electronics that are being built into cars.

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My father is a chief of surveys in a company that does a lot of large, country wide jobs.

 

I know the engineers piss him off. (they tend to be great at the planning part, but not good with the practical application of their ideas) Engineer is curse word at their house. :D:tongue_smilie:

 

:lol::lol::lol:

Dh and I just about died laughing. Dh is the permit manager for a large pipeline project and what you described is exactly what he deals with.

 

"It is wonderful that you want to build that, but how do you propose we get the materials to the site....and more importantly how do you think the county is going to feel about that?"

 

"Yes, it is a great plan and filled with the latest technologies, but have you ever tried to get a railroad to agree to do something new?!"

 

;)

 

Dh says that once an engineer makes plans TAKE THEM AWAY FROM THEM! The longer they have them the more complicated they become. ;)

 

In all honesty he loves the engineers he works with, but it can be a bit challenging to get them to understand lay speech. :D

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Engineers design things to solve problems. So a mechanical engineer may design a machine, an aeronautical engineer may design a missile, a chemical engineer will design a new compound or new way to combine chemicals or anything else to do with chemistry.

 

My dh is an applied physicist (PhD) which means he does practical physics versus theorectical physics but he did his doctoral thesis on using a certain solid state material for a certain purpose (and I believe it has come to practical use). He also has done testing for different things like building designs and windows to help prevent damage from bombs. My husband has spent his entire career working with engineers- it really is two parts of the same thing- he tests materials and they design with those materials- he tests new things the engineers have designed like missile defense systems and other things.

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DH is an engineer in the food working in the food industry. It's hard to pin him done to one field, but the best way is to say Facilities engineer. He understands the workings of not only the building, (HVAC, electrical, boilers, refrigeration, etc) but all the process equipment in it. When they need to expand or tweek the production process,( make it more efficient, make room another line to run, etc) it's his job to analyze and make that happen. He also does all the government reports........which I can't begin to explain. he deals with the city when they want to build a bigger parking lot. The list is endless of what he does.

 

He is a very practical engineer, and he would be the first one to say that's a great idea, but you you can't get the equipment in there to do that.

And wow, he doesn't make enough money to take off 6 months of the year!

Edited by KatieinMich
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DS and I were following an environmental engineer around for a couple hours while he took notes on a project his company will be bidding on, to re-grade a stream bed that floods. He had to figure out how much water it needed to handle in what amount of time (three storm drains from subdivisions of various sizes and various percentages of impermeable surface), how much water would soak in (soil characteristics) and how much would flow downstream, the size of the stream channel that needed to be cut to hold enough water, more soil characteristics for slope and erosion issues, etc. His company had worked with a nonprofit DS is volunteering with to design some erosion control measures for another stream that included both structural issues (barriers to erosion) and biological issues (plants, animal habitats, interactions among them)

 

We have friends who are EEs, but they've all gone into computer programming (rather than actual wiring or chip design or anything).

 

My grandfather was a civil engineer, and supervised surveying teams, designed and supervised road grading projects and bridge building... that sort of thing. It was a long time ago so it may be different now, but back then he was completely hands on.

 

And in building a garage and deck for our last house we hired two different engineers. One took the plans we had drawn and checked to make sure our lumber, beams, and hardware were suitable for their uses (the right size and materials, supported at the right points). The second consulted and signed off on our plans when we had a disagreement with the building inspector about how much bracing a porch roof needed.

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http://kristen-thehappygardener.blogspot.com/2012/01/yessiree-thats-my-hubby. My husband is a mechanical engineer. He designed the man-lift that I just linked to, hopefully, on my blog. Ina previous job, he used to design packaging machinery. That's what kind of engineering he does.

 

All right, the link doesn't work. Sorry. Anyhow, he designs lifts that are used on construction sites.

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Dh is an electronic engineer, specifically telecommunications - think cell phone networks and radio communications used by emergency services, train services etc. His work includes planning, rolling out and maintaining comms networks. Some of this would be computer-based planning, and some is practical stuff at site. Right now he is with a big company, and I think they outsource a lot of work. When he worked for a smaller company he literally drove around seeing where they could put communications equipment, and climbed towers to get the equipment up there, as well as doing the more "mental" work. He started out with a 3yr technical diploma, then did his 4yr degree, though, so I think it is fair to say his interests in the field are more "hands-on" than many engineers. On the other hand, there was a period when he worked mostly on the planning side for people tendering for projects. His work is well paid, and he's worked short-term in a number of European countries, as well as long term in an expat position. On top of that it allowed us to easily emigrate from our home country, and there seems to be no slow down in his industry. He loves what he does, and would definitely still be at work tomorrow if he won the lottery today. A couple of weeks ago he was thrilled to discover that one of his colleagues who has just resigned is 70yrs old - dh would love to still be out and working at that age!

 

Oh, and dh is more "maths and science" than "language", but he failed maths more than once at university, persevered, and is now showing the professor who told him he wasn't "engineer material".

 

(Ds was seriously disappointed to discover that his Daddy wasn't the "train kind" of engineer...)

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I am a "retired" chemical engineer.

 

For several years I was a process/operations support engineer. I was assigned a set of units in a plant and I had to monitor the daily operation of the units. I graphed trends of their operation over time, looked for ways to tweak them to make more profit, looked for signs of equipment problems, recommended maintenance projects, proposed capital projects to improve them, and occasionally did experiments with them. I also supervised maintenance activities on the equipment during "turnarounds", such as chemically cleaning the equipment, going inside it to inspect it, or unloading old catalyst and loading the new catalyst into the reactors. I also made recommendations for purchasing decisions for the units - filters, chemical additives, solvent, catalyst, etc. I wrote operating procedures and sometimes did the operator training. I participated on "process hazard analysis" teams. I did part of the "management of change" documentation for any process changes. (And I occasionally climbed insanely tall ladders. )

 

After that I was a capital projects engineer. I came up with or found ideas for capital projects to improve the plant. I did the process and economic analysis and rough project cost estimates to figure out if the project would pay for itself and go on to make more money, and how much, and how quickly. I wrote proposals and made presentations to sell the projects I was recommending. When they were approved, I managed the process (not mechanical) part of the project to completion. I commuted out of town for a lot of meetings with contract engineering and construction firms, reviewed a lot of drawing, and did a lot of math.

 

I also worked as a plant operator on 12 hour shifts for a month during a work stoppage.

 

I miss the technical and business parts of engineering. It was fun. I do not miss the ridiculous hours I worked each week and the expectation that the job was to be my number one priority in life. Now I have a family, and I would not go back to that for anything. I also do not miss working in a really very hazardous environment many days. I hope our children do not grow up to work in an environment that is that hazardous, and I am glad I do not do it anymore.

Edited by laundrycrisis
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Hubby is a Civil and Environmental Engineer. He gets local and worldwide jobs. He designs housing developments (including water/sewer, roads, lot sizes, grading, green space, etc). He figures out the permits (and paperwork needed for them) when you add an addition to your house. He figures out new septic systems for new places or those that need theirs replaced. He designs septic treatment plants for places that need them. He looks at industrial sites and tells potential new buyers what they need to look out for (or not) environmentally. He's designed a port (overseas).

 

There's probably a whole lot more... suffice it to say he deals with any sort of water - coming, going, or redirecting - plus a bit more with housing. He's had jobs in Australia, Africa, England, and several US states as well as local. Interestingly enough, he doesn't need to travel to any of those overseas sites and has only been to one of the further US sites because we happened to be in the area with a college visit. The internet and satellite mapping makes so much do-able from his armchair. Plans get e-mailed. (He does, however, need a license in states where he does a bit and/or works with others who are licensed in their locations when necessary.)

 

The nice thing about that it all? In two years, when youngest heads to college, we want to live on the road 24/7 traveling and sightseeing. His work should be able to keep us going.

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No, not the train kind.

 

I've heard the term "Engineer" in relation to my different types of industries, ie Nuclear Engineer, Geothermal Engineer, and many more types of Engineers.

 

I know they tend to make good money, tend to be mathy/science type smart people.

 

I know DH's cousin and her husband are "Engineers" with a Boeing, make good $$$ and are able to take six months to a year "off" every few years (they like to do things like backpack across America, hike across Europe, sail to the South Seas, etc, no children), and then walk right back into a job, making just as good of money. Were even able to go work in another country for a few years.

 

But what does an Engineer DO??? I am sure it varies based on the industry, but if you have any idea on any industry, could you let me know? Just curious!

 

Dh and I are both engineers and have I have worked more than 10 years and he has now probably worked about 15. I have known a lot of engineers and other than us there are only 3 other engineers that I have known who are able to take that much time off and 2 of them were married to each other. All of us who have been able to take that kind of time off have done contracting work. In other words we work for a job shop and go where the work is. Salaries for engineers are all over the place. Right now I know oil and gas is having a boom and the pay is pretty high, but with it being a boom that means that a bust will be coming some time. Engineering in the defense industry has typically not paid a lot, but isn't terrible. Aerospace has paid well in the past but I don't know about now. If you have your own engineering business you can do really well if you are good at selling your services and good at engineering.

 

I have seen the majority of engineers be like everyone else in that they spend all that they make. This keeps many of them from being able to take any amount of time off.

 

ETA: Most of the engineers I have come across do work more than 40 hours a week and don't get paid overtime unless they are contractors.

Edited by Mama Geek
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My father is a chief of surveys in a company that does a lot of large, country wide jobs.

 

I know the engineers piss him off. :D (they tend to be great at the planning part, but not good with the practical application of their ideas) Engineer is curse word at their house. :D:tongue_smilie:

 

Dh has that problem with the "official" engineers at his work sometimes. They just got in the new prototype from corporate. The problem is that they don't understand the actual equipment and production. They want something that is impossible and impractical. Dh is happy though that the engineers he works with don't know what they are doing as that means he gets to design it the way he wants and the best way for it to work. He absolutely loves programming and electrical work. It does stink a bit though that instead of calling the engineers when they have a problem the operators call him, as he isn't supposed to be on call. Thankfully dh enjoys problemsolving.

 

Where dh works the engineers design equipment and electrical stuff(that is the technical term I use because my eyes glaze over when he starts talking about the details). Dh is not an official engineer but does their job more often than not in his and the surrounding departments he does a lot of electrical design and computer programming. The tell him they want the robot or mechanical equipment to do this or that and he makes it do it. Currently he just started work on the team to design a new production line from start to finish. They will be designing what equipment they need to build the parts and the layout from the machining of those parts to the electrical design, hydraulics, robotics and computer programming for the robots and also the various data that they need (he designs a lot of programs to track efficiency and also designs programs to help the operators and other set-ups trouble shoot when there is a problem with the machines, along with the programs that make the robots do what they are supposed to do).

Edited by soror
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It varies greatly. My husband has a Masters in Chemical Engineering, but he went into a highly specialized field, process control engineering, which he loves.

 

He designs and installs process control systems, he works for a large paper company. These systems basically run the paper machines and interface with the operators, he also designs systems for the boilers that power the mills.

 

My husband does do a lot of design and computer programming, but he is also involved in the actual contruction and implementation of the equipment and computer systems, as well as overall project management which includes managing other workers and contractors.

 

Although he is in a new position that is more of a strictly engineering position, he was in a position that was more or less strictly management, where he planned the project and then supervised the other people who implemented it.

 

In manufacturing, most of the CEO's have some type of engineering background. It really helps to know how something is made in order to run the company that makes it. Engineering education at the university level also really focuses on critical thinking skills, not just technical skills, and so engineers who are good with people and have management skills ususally end up in management. My husband will probably end up on this track again in the future, as he is awfully good at running projects and managing people.

 

Of course, there are many other fields of engineering that have nothing to do with manufacturing, and there are those stereotypical engineers who have limited people skills and are happy to sit in a cubicle all day designing or programming away. We know many of them, some of them are good friends. This type of engineering can also be lucrative, but my husband would go nuts sitting in an office all day :tongue_smilie:.

 

ETA: On the issue of time off and pay, my husband does have a better salary and better vacation than some of his non-engineering friends from college. One of his friends who had a degree in management and was working at Best Buy was complaining to him that it wasn't fair for people with math and science backgroungds to make more money. My husband explained that if his friend screwed up at his job, someone might get a bad deal on a computer. If my husbands screws up at his job, there is a chance someone could be seriously injured or even killed. That adds a level of stress to a job that most people haven't experienced, and it is one reason engineers should be well paid.

Edited by VeritasMama
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My step-dad is retired from the Army Corps of Engineers. He was a civilian engineer, not in the army. I have no idea what he really did. It had something to do with canals, levees, breakers and the like.

 

When I worked for an oil company, engineers were the ones who designed the pipe route, hook ups, pump stations and came on the line to check out the construction and whatnot. Everyone said what the engineers really did was get in the way and muck everything up. ;)

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My step-dad is retired from the Army Corps of Engineers. He was a civilian engineer, not in the army.

 

I interned a couple summers with the Corps. Some of it was not very glamorous. I worked with one woman who gave up a job she loved at Boeing to move "back home" and took a job negotiating contracts which she didn't love. Some of the other engineers were number crunchers. Others supervised the building of a large army hospital addition.

 

Dh interned with a ChemE for a time; he was trying to decide if he wanted to go back to school for a chem degree. This job was for a major company developing and testing feminine care products. Dh said it was very interesting but he said the lead guy--the ChemE--was more like an artist or a chef when it came to developing new formulations. As in he knew his ingredients and was tweaking how much of each should be included to make the final product the best it could be.

 

We have a friend who was hired as an engineer but his real job is sales. He has to have the technical knowledge to represent the product well. Sales is not his cuppa.

 

Another friend designs product displays you see in stores.

 

There is just so much variety in what an engineer does it's hard to pin down.

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There is just so much variety in what an engineer does it's hard to pin down.

 

 

I think this sums it up very well!

 

Regarding time off... the most we ever had was 3 months in one year. It was a glorious year where we traveled extensively with the boys. We had, of course, saved for that time. He also owns his own business, so didn't have to "work it out" with anyone except his clients.

 

Most of the time hubby works a ton, but since he works from our house, we're still together and can work our schedule as we want it.

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I have one parent and two siblings who are engineers, but I'm not sure how precisely I can answer.:)

 

My dad was a chemical engineer who worked in plastics--mostly designing and modifying plastics for different purposes. I think he even has a couple of patents.

 

One of my brothers is also a chemical engineer, but I am less knowledgeable about what he does: I think he oversees plant production lines (um, I'm not even sure what product they make)--he's on call some weekends in case there are problems.

 

One of sisters is a mechanical engineer; she is a project manager for a company that designs/manufactures LED and LCD screens.

 

None of them have gotten extensive vacations, though. My dad and sister both ended up doing a lot of overseas business travel, which sounds exotic to me: Japan, Italy, Finland, China, Taiwan.

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:lol::lol::lol:

 

Dh says that once an engineer makes plans TAKE THEM AWAY FROM THEM! The longer they have them the more complicated they become. ;)

 

The official wording for this is, "At some point you have to shoot the engineer and start construction!":D At least that's what the sign said that hung in our office.

 

Dh and are are electrical engineers. Dh works for a company that manufactures electrical equipment and also does some power distribution services. He has done everything from trouble shooting equipment to writing design documents to creating wiring diagrams to designing power distribution for hospitals, etc. and control schemes to analysis of equipment failure. His value lies in his unique experience set including all the hands on electrician experience in various settings including petrochemical plants. Many engineers graduate from college and don't get experience with the nuts and bolts hands on type thing.

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My dh is an engineer.

 

there are many different kinds of engineers.

 

Chemical, mechanical, civil, etc.

 

My dh is a civil engineer and in his opinion, is has the most variety of things covered. It includes structural, transpo, and water.

 

Structural engineers work with designing buildings, bridges, etc.

 

Transportation engineers work on designing roadways, parking lots, etc.

 

My dh's focus is water and waste water. He works for a large city's water department and works on the maintenance of the sewage pump stations. There are also engineers that work at the water plant and those that simply design the system.

 

My dh loves his job because he says that he just is a problem solver. He knows how water works and how the system is supposed to operate. When something breaks, he figures out the most efficient way to repair it with the fewest number of people out of service.

 

One thing that gives an engineer an advantage is if he/she has good people skills. There are dozens of engineers who can work alone, but those who can work with people and manage an office are unusual.

 

Another engineering advantage is being willing to leave the desk and get dirty. My dh has learned a ton on his current job because he works alongside electricians and mechanics. They know their job and he's learned more PRACTICAL engineering from them, as far as how things will really work in the field. You can know stuff in theory, but until you know how to apply those facts in a practical way you won't be as effective.

 

Also, being able to respect others for what they know is invaluable. Engineers who come to the job site and start throwing their "intelligence and learning" around drive my dh and those he works with bonkers. My dh knows his stuff and respects the mechanics and electricians for what they know too. My dh's guys tell him that they don't consider him an engineer. And they mean that as a compliment.

 

Dh likes working for the city and takes less money than he would in the private sector because he is not confined to a desk and he gets the hand on stuff on which he thrives.

 

One thing about focusing on water and wastewater is the job security. The economy can be falling apart, but everyone needs water to drink and to be able to flush the toilet.

 

ETA: as far as time off..my dh gets no more vacation than anyone else with his experience. In fact, because he is management and he doesn't get overtime, he sometimes gets paid "less" than some of his guys, since he usually works more than 40 hours a week.

Edited by fairfarmhand
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DS and I were following an environmental engineer around for a couple hours while he took notes on a project his company will be bidding on, to re-grade a stream bed that floods. He had to figure out how much water it needed to handle in what amount of time (three storm drains from subdivisions of various sizes and various percentages of impermeable surface), how much water would soak in (soil characteristics) and how much would flow downstream, the size of the stream channel that needed to be cut to hold enough water, more soil characteristics for slope and erosion issues, etc. His company had worked with a nonprofit DS is volunteering with to design some erosion control measures for another stream that included both structural issues (barriers to erosion) and biological issues (plants, animal habitats, interactions among them)

 

We have friends who are EEs, but they've all gone into computer programming (rather than actual wiring or chip design or anything).

 

My grandfather was a civil engineer, and supervised surveying teams, designed and supervised road grading projects and bridge building... that sort of thing. It was a long time ago so it may be different now, but back then he was completely hands on.

 

 

 

my dh can do what yours does too. He gets side work to do such things for developers sometimes.

 

My dh can also do what your grandfather did. According to my dh, an engineer often can be as hands on as he wants to be, but many don't care for that aspect of the work.

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I think the basic idea is that engineers design/build things . .. bridge, planes, software, equipment . . . not houses, but most other stuff.

Civil engineers can design houses. House plans generally need an engineers approval before they can get a permit.

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I know DH's cousin and her husband are "Engineers" with a Boeing, make good $$$ and are able to take six months to a year "off" every few years (they like to do things like backpack across America, hike across Europe, sail to the South Seas, etc, no children), and then walk right back into a job, making just as good of money. Were even able to go work in another country for a few years.

 

But what does an Engineer DO??? I am sure it varies based on the industry, but if you have any idea on any industry, could you let me know? Just curious!

 

I've worked for Boeing and for an engineering firm. Engineers design stuff. They make the plans that are then taken out into the field and used to construct stuff. AT Boeing, they have engineers that design the frame of the plane, and different engineers that design the systems. (Engine, Internet, water, etc.) Structural engineers make sure that the plane will hold together under the different stresses the airplane goes under. Electrical engineers dealt with wiring and power requirements.

 

At HDR Engineering, our transportation department had engineers that built roads, some that worked on ways to improve traffic flow. And those that worked on making sure there was adequate lighting on the roads.

 

Engineers in the water department worked on the water pipe that transported water from a water source to the individual homes that need it. As well as working with real estate agents to gain right of way and build a path for the pipes to go. The water department also had folk that worked with water utilities to help them plan how much they should charge for water to meet current demand, maintain the equipment, and plan for future expansion. We would write the reports that the department would have on hand for their utility customers.

 

Wastewater department worked on designing wastewater treatment plants and other ways to deal with the water and sewage that comes out of the house.

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Dh is an electrical engineer, now a manager. Mostly he travels and talks on the phone a lot. This week he has two retirement parties to attend.

 

 

 

:lol::lol: Made my LOL! My husband is a computer hardware engineer, now a manager. His team designs the chips used in computers. But now he mostly travels and talks on the phone a lot!! Also constantly in meetings!!

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I am a polymer science engineer/materials engineer.

 

I worked in an industry supporting production of fiber optica materials for five years or so. In that capacity I was repsonsible for designing new coating materials (polymer systems), optimizing systems for specific properties, studying various mechanical properties of the materials and analyzing how those properties affected quality of hte material in application, studied defective final materaisl and figured out whether the problem occurred in our material/forumlation, raw material suppply chain, production process on our end, or production process on the customer's end.

 

I worked closely with customers and other scientists around the world to better gain an intimate understanding of our materials on a molecular and formula level, to gain expertise in sophisticated, advanced technology analytical techniques and how to apply them to better understand our materials, with the ultimate goal of producing the best and most advanced materials.

 

I worked in the cosmetics/personal care product (shampoo./conditioner/bath gel/soap/hair gel/skin creams, etc.). industry in a similar capacity, both in academia and industry.

 

In my lab where I was working on my PhD prior to arrival of dd, we worked on biomimetic synthesis - where we studied materials made by nature and attempted to understand themon a molecular and mechniatis level, and attempted to duplicate them in the lab, withthe goal of developing new and improved dental materials, bone growth and replacement materials, structual materials, potential cancer drugs, etc..

 

I traveled often around the country and to Europe to meet and collaborate with other scientists and/or to travel to manufacturing facilities.

 

My pay was decent, and would be pretty fabulous by now were I still working out of home in that field (wouldtehoretically be int eh low 6 figures at this stage of my career).. My time off was no better than anyone else, 4.5 weeks/year.

 

I currently am able to be a stay at home mom and earn a really excellent paycheck for relatively little hours spent by writing about my area of expertise for various publications and acting as a consultant at times.

 

II love my career and miss being fully immersed in it.

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Thanks, everyone! Good info...I learned quite a bit!

 

BTW, when I referred to DH's cousins taking time off, it wasn't as though they were getting "vacation time off", but more that they would leave the job, either with prearranged long-term leave of absence, or simply LEAVE the job, on good terms, but always able to walk right back into another job with little effort, at Boeing. That was the part that always kind blew me away...the ease they had in getting hired in whatever engineering field they are in.

 

They do live frugally otherwise, and have chosen at this point, not to have children but instead live these big adventures. So they definately save their $$ to be able to go off for six months to a year, and have these adventures. On the other hand, I do know they make a nice chunk of $$$ to be able to afford to save that much in the first place, ya know!

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Think of an engineer as a designer. But instead of designing something pretty and artsy, they're designing bridges and buildings (civil engineers), machines (mechanical engineers), electrical systems (electrical engineers), factory processes (chemical engineers), traffic flow patterns, software, medicines, genes, etc. There are as many kinds of engineers as there are fields of work.

 

Engineer, the verb, means to lay out, construct or manage; to contrive or plan out. So basically an engineer does that in whatever area they're working in.

 

(My degree is in polymer engineering. Had I worked in my field, I would either have been designing the factory process to make clothes or plastics, or else I would have been in the lab designing or testing those plastics.)

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Don't forget BioMedical Engineers!

 

I have designed disposable surgical devices such as dilators, introducers, catheters, needles/canulas, guide wires, etc. I have also designed breast implants and tissue expanders. :) BioEngineers have their hands in many, many, many things.

 

BioMedical Engineering rocked!!! I LOVED it (the discipline, not working for someone..I'm "retired" now)!!! Great discipline as it is specialized but in great need (and need is growing with pharm/medical world).

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DH is a software engineer. I think he would agree with the pp who said engineers solve problems because that's what he does all day. Plus he writes a ton of code and makes little widgety things work on the PayPal website. That's about all I can tell you about his job, though. ;)

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