What does an engineer do?
Engineering? Isn’t that all overalls, factories and hard hats?
The word ‘engineering’ is likely to make you think of things like shipbuilding, ‘engineering works’ on the railway lines, or perhaps the mechanic that services or repairs your washing machine or car. You probably have an image in your mind of a person wearing blue overalls and possibly a yellow hard hat? Am I right? Well, maybe not, but in reality, engineering covers a far wider range of businesses and industries; not only building and transport structures, but also jobs in food, cosmetics, medicine and much more.
Engineers work in all kinds of environments. Yes, there are still many jobs in traditional engineering sectors, but engineers are just as likely to work in offices, laboratories or studios, or outdoors, in the air and underground.
And many of these jobs don’t involve wearing overalls or hard hats. Engineering today is closely linked with technology and many engineering roles now rely heavily on technological devices and the most recent technological advances. As an engineer you could be designing colour-matching technology to determine the best makeup for different skin tones, working as part of a team on a project to improve the performance of artificial hip joints and the perks of a job in food may include tasting the chocolate prior to production!
OK, give me some examples of jobs that engineers do?
Engineers influence every aspect of modern life and it’s likely that today you will have already relied on the expertise of one or more engineers. Perhaps you woke to a DAB clock radio, or used a train or a bus? Maybe you’ve listened to an iPod? Or watched television? Did you wash your hair today? Do you have a mobile phone in your pocket or trainers on your feet? These have all been designed, developed and manufactured by engineers. Here are some examples of where engineers work to get you started.
Sound and acoustics engineer
Sound systems are everywhere – in sports stadia, pubs, clubs, offices, theatres, cinemas, train stations and of course at home. Without the impact of technology and the systems to deliver sound information, much of the entertainment business would not exist. Sound and acoustics engineers are an essential part in delivering the creative vision of, for example, singers and songwriters. Acoustics engineers work with bands and artists to make sure that venues sound as good as possible. In theatre, the set, position of actors and the arrangement of the auditorium are all elements that a sound engineer has to consider.
Are you into cars and motor bikes? As a motorsport engineer, you would design, test and build racing cars and motor bikes in all racing divisions, including single-seater racing (Formula 1, GP2, F3), rallying and bike racing (MotoGP, speedway, Superbikes). Your work would often be at the forefront of engineering technology, because vehicles have to meet strict rules governing motor racing. As an engineer, your work would normally fall into four areas: design, testing, production and racing. At race meetings, you could be setting up vehicles to match track and weather conditions, making fine adjustments during stops and relaying technical instructions to the driver or rider. After races you could be carrying out ‘after-tests’ on vehicles to look for signs of damage, attending debriefings with the race team to look at what worked well and where to make improvements. And if the race went well – celebrating with the team!
Safety engineers look after us all. They ensure that the buildings we use, the systems we rely on, the transportation we ride and the places in which we work are safe and not hazardous to our health. They interpret risks and foresee problems with existing infrastructure (road layout, buildings, places of work and play) to ensure that modifications and alterations conform to safety standards. They come up with ideas to remove hazards and reduce accidents. If you’re the one who responsibly closes gates after walks in the countryside or tells your younger brother off for dropping those banana skins on the pavement, maybe this one is for you.
Ever been stuck in a traffic jam? Well you’ll be pleased to know that now more than ever engineers are involved in designing and planning our roads so that we can get to our destination as safely and as quickly as possible. Increasingly transport engineers use ‘modelling’ in the design process to forecast the types of trips people are likely to make and how frequently they make them in addition to considering human factors such as analysing the existing set up and anticipating how people are likely to react to road layout. They are knowledgeable about the best materials needed to design safe and efficient roads and pavements. Transport engineers work as part of a large team on new and existing projects, providing solutions to a variety of perplexing giant puzzles.
This is about the application of engineering principles to a medical field, sometime called bio-medical engineering. This area of engineering combines design and problem solving skills with biological sciences to find solutions to a variety of medical problems, such as improving the efficiency and effectiveness of a range of artificial limbs, the diagnostic equipment that is used in hospitals e.g. MRI scans and the latest drugs. It is a relatively new discipline but one that is constantly expanding to include new areas of research and recent medical advances. Medical engineers may work in hospitals or research and development companies. Medical engineering roles are varied and are likely to involve working with health professionals and a range of suppliers from pharmaceutical companies to the manufacturers of scalpels!
Systems engineers focus on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed. Issues such as logistics (where things are and how they get to where they should be), the co-ordination of different teams and automatic control of machinery become harder when we deal with large and complex projects, for instance the design and running of the international space station. Systems engineering deals with work processes and tools to handle this. Systems engineers would be involved from the start of a project to prototype, testing and right through to launch. They would work with a range of people including users, designers, programmers, project managers and specialist technicians to deliver a solution. They find solutions to very complex problems – and if you enjoy a challenge, this could be your thing.
The quality of the land, air and water around us is becoming increasingly important with the onset of climate change. Engineers are at the forefront of preserving our planet and ensuring that modern technology is kind to the world in which we live. Being an environmental engineer might mean that you have a special interest in ecosystems and biology, or other branches of engineering like civil engineering (buildings, roads and structures). People who deal in public health matters may also be environmental engineers, helping to ensure that our world is preserved for humans as well as for plants and animals.
An aeronautical engineer applies scientific and technological principles to research, design, maintain, test, develop and manufacture high-performance civil and military aircraft, missiles, weapons systems, satellites and space vehicles. Aeronautical engineering offers a wide range of roles and the possibility of an international location. Most engineers specialise in a particular area, such as research, design, testing, manufacture or maintenance. The aerospace industry is a well established major employment sector in the
Could this one suit you? Textile engineering is the application of scientific and engineering principles to the design and control of all aspects of fibre, textile, and clothing processes, products, and machinery. These include natural and man-made materials, interaction of materials with machines, safety and health, energy conservation, and waste and pollution control. Most textile engineers work on product research and development, either improving current textile based products or creating new products. They may also be involved with finding uses for new fibres, yarns, fabrics, or textile finishes in this country (new organic materials, sports clothing etc..) and overseas where developments in textile technology can allow humans to survive some of the earths’ most difficult climates.
Renewable energy engineer
Renewable energy engineers are concerned with the production of energy through natural resources such as the sourcing and use of wind, solar and wave power. They are involved in developing and maintaining power stations and the machinery used in alternative energy sourcing and production e.g bio-fuel sourced from crops. Energy engineers construct equipment designed by engineering designers, and conduct testing and make modifications prior to installation and running. This involves extensive use of computer technology. They may work for industry, university or government research departments. They may hold senior positions, head up a team of energy engineers or have a key post in the team. Ultimately these engineers are focussed on finding efficient, clean and innovative ways to supply energy to millions of households for years to come. Renewable energy is extremely important to the future of our planet and that’s something that we’d all like to rely on.
Semoga dapat menambahkan pengetahuan sdra-sdri semua.
Prof. Abdul Shukor