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    Chapter 2

    Chapter 2



    This chapter will introduce you to the engineering profession. Look at it as a discussion of "everything you ever wanted to know about engineering"¾ and then some. Hopefully, when you are finished reading the chapter, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the engineering profession and perhaps find the engineering niche that attracts you most. This information, coupled with a knowledge of the personal benefits you will reap from the profession, is intended to strengthen your commitment to completing your engineering degree.

    First, we'll answer the question, "What is engineering?" Through several standard definitions, you'll learn that engineering is essentially the application of mathematics and science to develop useful products or processes. We'll then discuss the engineering design process, which we will demonstrate through a case study of an actual student design project.

    To expand your understanding of engineering, we will take stock of the Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century, selected by the National Academy of Engineering and announced during National Engineers Week 2000. These achievements will show you the critical role engineering plays in making the quality of our life possible.

    Next, we will discuss the rewards and opportunities that will come to you when achieve your B.S. degree in engineering. Having a clear picture of the many payoffs will be a key factor in motivating you to make the personal choices and put forth the effort required to succeed in such a challenging and demanding field of study.

    We will then examine the various engineering disciplines, the job functions performed by engineers, and the major industry sectors that employ engineers. At the same time, we will open your horizons to the future by describing those fields showing the greatest promise for growth.

    The last section of the chapter will focus on engineering as a profession, including the role of professional societies and the importance of professional registration.


    2.1 What Is Engineering?

    I'm sure you have been asked, "What is engineering?" I remember my grandmother asking me that question when I was in college. At the time, I didn't have much of an answer. Yet, when you think about it, it is a fundamental question, especially for new engineering students like yourself. So, just what is engineering?

    A good starting point for answering this question is the theme of National Engineers Week, held each February in honor of George Washington, our country's first engineer. That theme depicts engineering according to its function:

    Another good definition, again based on function, comes from the famous scientist Count Rumford, who over 200 years ago said:

    "Engineering is the application of science

    to the common purpose of life."

    The standard definition of engineering today is provided by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) [1]:







    Learning More about Engineering

    As you learn more about the field, you will find there is no simple answer to the question, "What is engineering?" Because engineers do so many different things and perform so many different functions, learning about engineering is a lifelong process (see Chapter 1, Section 1.4). Still, there is a variety of ways to start this process of defining engineering, one being the tremendous amount of information you can access through the Internet.

    One helpful web site you should check out is the one connected to National Engineers Week: <www.eweek.org> At that web site you can learn much about both engineering and National Engineers Week at the same time. Another web site, which lists 21 definitions of engineering, is provided by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): <www.spectrum.ieee.org/INST/apr95/21_defs.html>

    Additional web sites published by other professional engineering societies and the Federal government, such as those listed below, will help further your understanding of the field. These addresses are:





    <www.bls.gov/search/oco_s.asp> (Enter keyword "engineering")

    After researching these web sites and tapping other sources to broaden your understanding of engineering (see Chapter 1, Section 1.4), you should compose your own definition of engineering. Write it down and commit it to memory. This may seem like an unnecessary exercise, but I assure you it isn't. Aside from impressing others with a quick, informed answer to the question, "What is engineering?", it will help clarify your personal understanding of the field.

    2.2 The Engineering Process

    At the heart of engineering is the engineering process, sometimes called the engineering design process. The engineering design process is a step-by-step method to produce a device, structure, or system that satisfies a need.

    Sometimes this need comes from an external source. For example, the U.S. Air Force might need a missile system to launch a 1,000-pound communications satellite into synchronous orbit around the earth. Other times, the need arises from ideas identified within a company. For example, consumers did not initiate the need for various sizes of little rectangular yellow papers that would stick onto almost anything yet be removed easily when 3M invented "Post-its" [2].

    Whatever the source, the need is generally described by a set of specifications ("specs"). These can include performance specifications (e.g., weight, size, speed, safety, reliability), economic specifications (e.g., cost), and scheduling specifications (e.g., production and delivery dates).

    Your Alarm Clock Is an Example

    Virtually everything around you was designed by engineers to meet certain specifications. Take the start of your day, for example. You probably wake up to a battery-powered alarm clock. Every design feature of the clock was carefully considered to meet detailed specifications. The alarm was designed to be loud enough to wake you up but not so loud as to frighten you. It may even have a feature in which the sound level starts very low and increases progressively until you wake up. The digital display on your clock was designed to be visible day and night. The batteries were designed to meet life, safety, and reliability requirements. Economic considerations dictated material selection and manufacturing processes. The clock also had to look aesthetically pleasing to attract customers, while maintaining its structural integrity under impact loading, such as falling off your night stand.

    The Engineering Design Process

    Now that you have been introduced to the first two steps¾ identifying the need and then drawing up specifications to meet that need¾ the complete step-by-step design process can be illustrated by the schematic below.

    The Engineering Design Process

    Customer need or opportunity

    Problem definition/


    Data and information collection

    Development of alternative designs

    Evaluation of designs/ Selection of optimal design

    Implementation of optimal design

    From this schematic, you can see that each step of the design process reflects a very logical, thorough problem-solving process. The problem definition and specifications (Steps 1 and 2) will need to be supplemented by additional data and information (Step 3) before the development of possible solutions can begin (Step 4). The process of developing and evaluating possible designs (Steps 4 and 5) involves not only creativity but also the use of computer-aided drafting (CAD), stress analysis, computer modeling, material science, and manufacturing processes. Engineers also bring a great deal of common sense and experience to the design process.

    During the design process, a number of constraints may be identified. Whatever these constraints may be¾ e.g., availability of parts and materials, personnel, and/or facilities¾ the final design must not only meet all design specifications but also satisfy any constraints.

    Many iterations through the engineering design process may be required before a final design is selected. Fabrications of some of the designs may be required in order to test how well each meets the performance specifications.

    2.3 Case Study: Solar-Powered Electric Vehicle

    The six steps of the engineering design process make most sense when they are seen in action. We are using an actual case study about the design and construction of a solar-powered vehicle so you can see each step of the process at work.

    Customer Need or Opportunity

    In November, 1995, California State University, Los Angeles, along with all engineering colleges in the U.S. and Canada, received a "Sunracye 97" Request for Proposals (RFP) from the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Corporation. The RFP invited schools to write a proposal explaining how each would go about designing and building a solar-electric vehicle to compete in "Sunrayce 97"¾ a nine-day, 1,300-mile cross-country race from Indiana to Colorado in June, 1997.

    In this case, the RFP put out by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors constituted the opportunity or need¾ the first step in the engineering design process. A team of Cal State L.A. students, professors, and staff got together to study the design specifications set forth in the RFP, and subsequently submitted a proposal. In March, 1996, the Cal State L.A. team learned that it was one of the 36 universities whose proposals had been accepted for the 1997 race.

    Problem Definition and Specifications

    The primary design specifications, Step 2 of the engineering design process, were established by the race rules. They included the following requirements:

    • Maximum vehicle size: Length = 6 meters; Width = 2 meters; Height = 1.6 meters
    • Minimum height: 1 meter
    • Maximum solar panel size: 8 square meters
    • Battery type: Commercially available lead-acid batteries
    • Maximum battery weight: 308 pounds
    • Solar cells: Terrestrial cells costing less than $10/watt

    For the Cal State L.A. team, these requirements led to additional problem definitions and specifications. Who would lead the team? How much money would the entire project cost? How would it be financed? What facilities would be required? The race rules had specified size and height requirements, but what would be the optimal weight of the vehicle? What materials would be needed to fabricate the vehicle?

    Data and Information Collection

    Before developing alternative designs that met all the design specifications, the team first had to collect extensive data and information. They needed to learn the technologies associated with electric motor systems, batteries, solar power systems, vehicle aerodynamics, the design and construction of light-weight structures, vehicle suspension and steering systems, mechanical drive systems, and wheels. They also needed to learn about the topography of the race route, expected weather conditions, and solar isolation estimates.



    Development of Alternative Designs

    Once they had collected sufficient basic data, the team moved to the next step of the design process: developing alternative designs.

    Producing an optimally designed solar-electric vehicle is an excellent example of the type of design tradeoffs that often must be made during this stage of the design process. For a solar car, the Cal State L.A. team learned that high performance could be obtained by achieving the following:

    • High solar panel power
    • Low aerodynamic drag
    • Low vehicle weight
    • High electrical power system efficiency
    • High mechanical drive system efficiency
    • Good battery performance
    • High overall reliability

    However, several of these design parameters conflict. Achieving all of them simultaneously just isn't possible. This is where design tradeoffs enter into the development of alternative designs.

    For the Cal State L.A. car, the need for certain tradeoffs was immediately apparent. For example, the team knew they could achieve high solar panel power through a large solar panel surface area. They also knew, however, that a large surface area would result in high drag and high vehicle weight. Low vehicle weight was imperative, but at some point would contribute to poor structural integrity and low overall reliability. One way to solve the weight problem, at least partially, would be to carry less battery capacity than the maximum allowed. Generally, each 60 pounds of batteries adds about 1 kw-hr of battery capacity. So the team had to decide whether the extra battery capacity was worth carrying the extra weight (up to a maximum of 308 lbs).

    An important step in this stage of the engineering design process is to select performance specifications or design targets for the key design parameters. For example, the Cal State L.A. team felt that a top place finish in Sunrayce 97 would be insured if their vehicle performed to the following specifications:


    • Solar panel power (peak) - 1,000 watts
    • Aerodynamic drag (Cd x A) - 0.13
    • Vehicle weight (exclusive of driver and batteries) - 300 pounds
    • Electric power system efficiency - 92%
    • Mechanical drive system efficiency - 98%
    • Battery capacity - 5 kw-hr capacity at 4-hr discharge rate

    Evaluation of Designs and Selection of Optimal Design

    This one of the most difficult, challenging, and time-consuming steps of the engineering design process. For many engineers, however, it is also the most interesting and rewarding one, for here is where ideas really begin to turn into reality.

    For the Cal State L.A. team, this step was no different. In evaluating potential designs and selecting the optimal one, they still had numerous hurdles to overcome, and questions to resolve. Although they had faced many of these quandaries in the earlier stages of the design process, they now needed hard answers to such questions as:

    • What should the external shape of the vehicle be?
    • Should the solar cells be integrated into the vehicle surface or placed on a flat panel above the vehicle?
    • Should the structure be made from aluminum tubing, composite materials, or a combination of both?
    • Should the vehicle have three or four wheels?
    • What solar cells should be selected?
    • What should be the design voltage of the solar panel?
    • What motor and motor controller should be used?
    • What type of drive train (chain, belt, or gear) should be used?
    • What type of tires should be used?
    • What type and how many batteries should be used?

    After definitively answering these and other questions, the team settled on their optimal design. A series of drawings of all the parts followed, and the team advanced to the final step of the engineering design process: implementing the optimal design.


    Implementation of Optimal Design

    Now began the "real" work, as the title of this last phase of the design process indicates. Cal State L.A.'s team divided this part of the project into three stages.

    The first stage consisted of building the mechanical system, including the overall structure, wheels, steering, and brakes. Once this stage was complete, the vehicle could be pushed around a parking lot or rolled down a hill.

    In stage two, they installed the power electronic system¾ including the motor, motor controls, batteries, and drive system. With this stage finished, the vehicle could be driven around as an actual electric vehicle.

    In the third stage, the team fabricated the external body, using composite materials they had decided would best enable them to meet their weight requirements. Once the body was built, the final chore involved assembling the solar cells, one by one, into strings, eventually creating the complete solar panel. Needless to say, all of this work required extreme attention to detail.

    Cal State L.A. Solar Eagle III Wins Sunrayce 97

    Once the entire design process was completed, the team proudly presented "Solar Eagle III" to the campus community in a gala "roll-out" ceremony. Their job was far from over, however. Lots of work remained, such as testing the vehicle's performance, formulating the race strategy, passing qualifying inspections by race officials, and transporting both the team and vehicle to the Sunrayce 97 starting line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    The 36-car field included entries from such prestigious institutions as the University of Michigan and MIT, winners of the previous races. But Sunrayce 97 belonged to Cal State L.A. After nine grueling days of racing, Solar Eagle III crossed the finish line in Colorado Springs, Colorado in first place, setting a Sunrayce record average speed of 43.29 mph.

    More information about solar car racing and the design of solar cars can be found in References 3, 4, and 5.





    Cal State L.A. Solar Eagle III Winning Sunrayce 97

    The Needs and Opportunities for Engineering Design Are Boundless

    The purpose of chronicling Cal State L.A.'s solar car project was to illustrate the engineering design process in action. Now that you have seen the logic and demand that each step of the process entails, you should easily be able to come up with a list of the many other problems, needs, and opportunities that would suit its step-by-step approach. Here are just a few ideas that occurred to me. What ideas would you add to this list? Remember, it is entirely possible that, down the road, you will be the engineer who turns one of these needs into reality.

    • A device carried by a police officer that would detect a bullet fired at the officer and intercept it.
    • A device that would mark the precise location of a football when the referee blows the whistle.
    • A system that would not permit an automobile to be stolen.
    • A device that would program a VCR to skip the commercials while taping your favorite TV show.
    • A machine that would serve ping-pong balls at different speeds and with different spins.
    • A device that identifies vehicles that are carrying explosives.
    • A car alarm that goes off if the driver falls asleep.
    • A device that cuts copper tubing in tight places.
    • An in-home composting and recycling system that eliminates the need for sewer or septic systems.
    • A device that prevents elderly people from being injured when they fall down.
    • An affordable, fuel-cell powered automobile that only emits water vapor.
    • A system that continues to tape your favorite morning radio show after you arrive at work so you can listen to it on the way home.
    • A high-rise building with an "active suspension system" that responds to ground movement (earthquakes).

      1. Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century

    Although engineering achievements have contributed to the quality of human life for more than 5,000 years [6], the 20th century stands out for its remarkable engineering progress and innovation. In recognition of this as we enter the 21st century, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) launched a project to select the 20 "Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century."

    The primary selection criterion was the impact of the engineering achievement on the quality of life in the 20th century. William A. Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering summed it up well:

    "Engineering is all around us, so people often take it for granted, like air and water. Ask yourself, what do I touch that is not engineered? Engineering develops and delivers consumer goods, builds the networks of highways, air and rail travel, and the Internet, mass produces antibiotics, creates artificial heart valves, builds lasers, and offers such wonders an imaging technology and conveniences like microwave ovens and compact discs. In short, engineers make our quality of life possible."

    Following are the "Greatest Engineering Achievements" that Neil Armstrong presented at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on February 22, 2000. They were in their rank order, beginning with #20 and culminating with #1. (Note: For detailed descriptions of each "great achievement," visit: <www.greatachievements.org>)

    #20 - High Performance Materials

    From the building blocks of iron and steel to the latest advances in polymers, ceramics, and composites, the 20th century has seen a revolution in materials. Engineers have tailored and enhanced material properties for uses in thousands of applications.

    #19 - Nuclear Technologies

    The harnessing of the atom changed the nature of war forever and astounded the world with its awesome power. Nuclear technologies also gave us a new source of electric power and new capabilities in medical research and imaging.

    #18 - Laser and Fiber Optics

    Pulses of light from lasers are used in industrial tools, surgical devices, satellites, and other products. In communications, highly pure glass fibers now provide the infrastructure to carry information via laser-produced light¾ a revolutionary technical achievement. Today, a single fiber-optic cable can transmit tens of millions of phone calls, data files, and video images.

    #17 - Petroleum and Gas Technologies

    Petroleum has been a critical component of 20th century life, providing fuel for cars, homes, and industries. Petrochemicals are used in products ranging from aspirin to zippers. Spurred on by engineering advances in oil exploration and processing, petroleum products have had an enormous impact on world economies, people, and politics.

    #16 - Health Technologies

    Advances in 20th century medical technology have been astounding. Medical professionals now have an arsenal of diagnostic and treatment equipment at their disposal. Artificial organs, replacement joints, imaging technologies, and bio-materials are but a few of the engineered products that improve the quality of life for millions.

    #15 - Household Appliances

    Engineering innovation produced a wide variety of devices, including electric ranges, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, and dryers. These and other products give us more free time, enable more people to work outside the home, and contribute significantly to our economy.

    #14 - Imaging Technologies

    From tiny atoms to distant galaxies, imaging technologies have expanded the reach of our vision. Probing the human body, mapping ocean floors, tracking weather patterns¾ all are the result of engineering advances in imaging technologies.

    #13 - Internet

    The Internet is changing business practices, educational pursuits, and personal communications. By providing global access to news, commerce, and vast stores of information, the Internet brings people together globally while adding convenience and efficiency to our lives.

    #12 - Space Exploration

    From early test rockets to sophisticated satellites, the human expansion into space is perhaps the most amazing engineering feat of the 20th century. The development of spacecraft has thrilled the world, expanded our knowledge base, and improved our capabilities. Thousands of useful products and services have resulted from the space program, including medical devices, improved weather forecasting, and wireless communications.

    #11 - Interstate Highways

    Highways provide one of our most cherished assets¾ the freedom of personal mobility. Thousands of engineers built the roads, bridges, and tunnels that connect our communities, enable goods and services to reach remote areas, encourage growth, and facilitate commerce.

    #10 - Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

    Air conditioning and refrigeration changed life immensely in the 20th century. Dozens of engineering innovations made it possible to transport and store fresh foods, for people to live and work comfortably in sweltering climates, and to create stable environments for the sensitive components that underlie today's information-technology economy.

    #9 - Telephone

    The telephone is a cornerstone of modern life. Nearly instant connections¾ between friends, families, businesses, and nations¾ enable communications that enhance our lives, industries, and economies. With remarkable innovations, engineers have brought us from copper wire to fiber optics, from switchboards to satellites, and from party lines to the Internet.

    #8 - Computers

    The computer has transformed businesses and lives around the world by increasing productivity and opening access to vast amounts of knowledge. Computers have relieved the drudgery of routine daily tasks, and brought new ways to handle complex ones. Engineering ingenuity fueled this revolution, and continues to make computers faster, more powerful, and more affordable.

    #7 - Agricultural Mechanization

    The machinery of farms¾ tractors, cultivators, combines, and hundreds of others¾ dramatically increased farm efficiency and productivity in the 20th century. At the start of the century, four U.S. farmers could feed about ten people. By the end, with the help of engineering innovation, a single farmer could feed more than 100 people.

    #6 - Radio and Television

    Radio and television were major agents of social change in the 20th century, opening windows to other lives, to remote areas of the world, and to history in the making. From wireless telegraph to today's advanced satellite systems, engineers have developed remarkable technologies that inform and entertain millions every day.

    #5 - Electronics

    Electronics provide the basis for countless innovations¾ CD players, TVs, and computers, to name a few. From vacuum tubes to transistors, to integrated circuits, engineers have made electronics smaller, more powerful, and more efficient, paving the way for products that have improved the quality and convenience of modern life.

    #4 - Safe and Abundant Water

    The availability of safe and abundant water literally changed the way Americans lived and died during the last century. In the early 1900s, waterborne diseases like typhoid fever and cholera killed tens-of-thousands of people annually, and dysentery and diarrhea, the most common waterborne diseases, were the third largest cause of death. By the 1940s, however, water treatment and distribution systems devised by engineers had almost totally eliminated these diseases in American and other developed nations. They also brought water to vast tracts of land that would otherwise have been uninhabitable.

    #3 - Airplane

    Modern air travel transports goods and people quickly around the globe, facilitating our personal, cultural, and commercial interaction. Engineering innovation¾ from the Wright brothers' airplane to today's supersonic jets¾ have made it all possible.

    #2 - Automobile

    The automobile may be the ultimate symbol of personal freedom. It's also the world's major transporter of people and goods, and a strong source of economic growth and stability. From early Tin Lizzies to today's sleek sedans, the automobile is a showcase of 20th century engineering ingenuity, with countless innovations made in design, production, and safety.

    #1 - Electrification

    Electrification powers almost every pursuit and enterprise in modern society. It has literally lighted the world and impacted countless areas of daily life, including food production and processing, air conditioning and heating, refrigeration, entertainment, transportation, communication, health care, and computers. Thousands of engineers made it happen, with innovative work in fuel sources, power generating techniques, and transmission grids.

    2.5 Rewards and Opportunities of an Engineering Career

    Engineering is a unique and highly selective profession. Among the 134 million people employed in the United States, only about 1.6 million (1.2 percent) list engineering as their primary occupation [7]. This means the overwhelming majority of people employed in this country do something other than engineering.

    These employment figures are reflected by national college and university statistics. Engineering typically represents only about five percent of college graduates, as the following table shows [8]:


    Number of 1995/96

    Percent of


    College Graduates





    Social Sciences






    Math and Science



    Health Professions












    So why choose to study engineering? Why strive to become one of those five percent of college graduates who receive their B.S. degree in engineering? I'll tell you why.

    The benefits of an engineering education and the rewards and opportunities of a career in engineering are numerous. I have frequently led new engineering students in a brainstorming exercise to identify these many rewards and benefits. We generally develop a list of 30 to 40 items, which each student then ranks (or deletes) according to personal preferences. For one individual, being well paid may be #1. Someone else may be attracted by the opportunity to do challenging work. Still others may value engineering because it will enable them to make a difference in peopleís lives.

    My personal top ten list is on the next page. Although your list may well differ from mine, I am going to discuss each briefly¾ if only to help you realize more fully the many rewards, benefits, and opportunities an engineering career holds for you.

    After studying my list and developing your own, hopefully you will find yourself more determined to complete your engineering studies. You may also find yourself somewhat puzzled by the skewed statistics that opened this section. With so many benefits and job opportunities a career in engineering promises, you'd think that college students would be declaring engineering majors in droves.

    I guess engineering really is a unique and highly selective profession. Consider yourself lucky to be one of the "chosen few."

    Rayís Top Ten List

    1. Job Satisfaction

    What would you say is the #1 cause of unhappiness among people in the United States? Health problems? Family problems? Financial problems? No. Studies have shown that, by far, the #1 cause of unhappiness among people in the U.S. is job dissatisfaction.

    Do you know people who dislike their job? People who get up every morning and wish they didn't have to go to work? People who watch the clock all day and can't wait until their workday is over? People who work only to earn an income so they can enjoy their time off? Maybe you have been in one of these situations. Lots of people are.

    Throughout my career, it has been very important to enjoy my work. After all, I spend eight hours or more a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, for 30 or 40 years working. This represents about 40 percent of my waking time. Which would you prefer? Spending 40 percent of your life in a career (or series of jobs) you despise? Or spending that 40 percent in a career you enjoy? I'm sure you can see why it is extremely important to find a lifeís work that is satisfying, work that you want to do.

    Engineering could very well be that life's work. It certainly has been for me and for many of my colleagues over the years. But what exactly does "job satisfaction" mean? The remaining items on my "Top Ten List" address this question. Remember, though, these are my preferences; yours may very well be different.

    2. Varied Opportunities

    While the major purpose of this chapter is to help you understand the engineering profession, you have just skimmed the surface thus far. Your introduction to the engineering field has largely been a "functional" one, starting with the idea that engineering is the process of "turning ideas into reality," followed by a detailed look at the engineering design process¾ more function.

    As you'll learn subsequently, engineering entails much more than just "functions" governed by a rigid six-step design process. In fact, I like to think of engineering as a field that touches almost every aspect of a person's life. I often point out to students that the day you walk up the aisle to receive your B.S. degree in engineering, you have closed no doors. There is nothing you cannot become from that time forward! Doctor. Lawyer. Politician. Astronaut. Entrepreneur. Teacher. Manager. Salesperson. Practicing engineer. All these and many others career opportunities are possible.

    Here are some examples of people educated as engineers and the professions they ended up in:



    Neil Armstrong


    Herbert Hoover

    President of the United States

    Alfred Hitchcock

    Movie Director

    Eleanor Baum

    Dean of Engineering

    Lee Iacocca

    Automotive Industry Executive

    Herbie Hancock

    Jazz Musician

    Paul MacCready

    Inventor (Designer GM EV1 Electric Car)

    Peter Likins

    President of the University of Arizona

    Boris Yeltsin

    President of Russia

    William Hewlett

    Co-founder of Hewlett Packard

    Bill Koch

    Yachtsman (Captain of America Cup Team)

    W. Edwards Deming

    Father of Modern Management Practice

    Ming Tsai

    Restaurateur and Star of TV Cooking Show

    Montel Williams

    Syndicated Talk Show Host

    A. Scott Crossfield

    X-15 Test Pilot

    Don Louis A. Ferre'

    Governor of Puerto Rico

    Yasser Arafat

    Palestinian Leader

    Tom Landry

    Former Dallas Cowboyís Head Coach

    Shiela Widnall

    Former Secretary of the Air Force

    Robert A. Moog

    Father of Synthetic Music

    Chester Carlson

    Inventor of Xerox Process

    John A. McCone

    Director of Central Intelligence Agency

    Arthur C. Nielsen

    Developer of Nielsen TV Ratings

    Although none of the above individuals ended up working as a practicing engineer, I expect they would all tell you that their engineering education was a key factor in their subsequent successes. You can learn more about these and other famous "engineers" at:


    Personal Story

    When I was an engineering student, I had no idea that the career path I have taken even existed. After completing my B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering at MIT, I worked for five years as a practicing engineer at Rocketdyne, a division of Rockwell International at that time. While doing some part-time teaching to supplement my salary, I developed an interest in an academic career and was able to get a position on the engineering faculty at California State University, Northridge.

    (continued on next page)


    Although I enjoyed teaching, my interests shifted more to administration and working with students outside of the classroom. I started the first Minority Engineering Program in California and directed it for ten years. The administrative and management experience I gained led me to my current position as Dean of Engineering. My engineering career has thus evolved from practicing engineering to teaching it; from teaching it to creating and directing a special program for minority engineering students; and finally from directing a program to managing an entire engineering college.


    The field of engineering practice itself offers an enormous diversity of job functions. There are analytical engineers, design engineers, test engineers, development engineers, sales engineers, and field service engineers. The work of analytical engineers most closely resembles the mathematical modeling of physical problems you do in school. But only about ten percent of all engineers fall into this category, pointing to the fact that engineering study and engineering work can be quite different.

    • If you are imaginative and creative, design engineering may be for you.
    • If you like working in laboratories and conducting experiments, you might consider test engineering.
    • If you like to organize and expedite projects, look into becoming a development engineer.
    • If you are persuasive and like working with people, sales or field service engineering may be for you.

    Later in this chapter, we will examine the wide variety of engineering job functions in more detail. Then, in Chapter 6, we will explore less traditional career paths for which engineering study is excellent preparation, such as medicine, law, and business.

    3. Challenging Work

    Do you like intellectual stimulation? Do you enjoy tackling challenging problems? If so, you'll get plenty of both in engineering. Certainly, during your period as an engineering student, you will face many challenging problems. But, as the saying goes, "you ain't seen nothing" until you graduate and enter the engineering work world, where there is no shortage of challenging, "open-ended" problems. By "open-ended," I mean there is generally no one "correct" solution, unlike the problems you usually are assigned in school. Open-ended problems typically generate many possible solutions, all of which equally meet the required specifications. Your job is to select the "best" one of these and then convince others that your choice is indeed the optimal one.

    It certainly would be helpful if you had more exposure to open-ended problems in school. But such problems are difficult for professors create, take more time for students to solve, and are excessively time-consuming to grade. Regardless, however, of the kind of problem you are assigned (open-ended or single answer; in school or the engineering work world), they all challenge your knowledge, creativity, and problem-solving skills. If such challenges appeal to you, then engineering could be a very rewarding career.

    4. Intellectual Development

    Engineering education "exercises" your brain much the way weight-lifting or aerobics exercises your body¾ and the results are remarkably similar. The only difference is that physical exercise improves your body, while mental exercise improves your mind. As your engineering studies progress, therefore, your abilities to solve problems and think critically will increasingly grow stronger.

    This connection between mental exercise and growth is by no means "news" to educators. But recent research in the cognitive sciences has uncovered knowledge that explains how and why this process works [9]. We now know, for example, that the brain is made up of as many as 180 billion neuron cells. Each neuron has a very large number of tentacle-like protrusions called dendrites. The dendrites make it possible for each neuron to receive signals (synapses) from thousands of neighboring neurons. The extent of these "neural networks" is determined in large part by the demands we place on our brains¾ i.e., the "calisthenics" we require of them. So the next time your find yourself reluctant to do a homework assignment or study for a test, just think of all those neural networks you could be building.

    One of the things I value most about my engineering education is that it has developed my logical thinking ability. I have a great deal of confidence in my ability to deal effectively with problems. And this is not limited to engineering problems. I am able to use the critical thinking and problem-solving skills I developed through my engineering education to take on such varied tasks as planning a vacation, searching for a job, dealing with my car breaking down in the desert, organizing a banquet to raise money, purchasing a new home, or writing this book. I'm sure you also will come to value the role your engineering education plays in your intellectual growth.

    5. Social Impact

    I hope you are motivated by a need to do something worthwhile in your career, something to benefit society. Engineering can certainly be an excellent career choice to fulfill such humanitarian goals.

    The truth is, just about everything engineers do benefits society in some way. Engineers develop transportation systems that help people and products move about so easily. Engineers design the buildings we live and work in. Engineers devise the systems that deliver our water and electricity, design the machinery that produces our food, and develop the medical equipment that keeps us healthy. Almost everything we use was made possible by engineers.

    Depending on your value system, you may not view all engineering work as benefiting people. Some engineers, for example, design military equipment like missiles, tanks, bombs, artillery, and fighter airplanes. Others are involved in the production of pesticides, cigarettes, liquor, fluorocarbons, and asbestos. As an engineer, you will need to weigh the merits of such engineering functions and make your career choices accordingly.

    My view is that engineering holds many more beneficial outcomes for society than detrimental ones. For example, opportunities exist for engineers to use their expertise in projects designed to clean up the environment, develop prosthetic aids, develop clean and efficient trans-portation systems, find new sources of energy, solve the world's hunger problems, and improve the standard of living in underdeveloped countries.

    6. Financial Security

    When I ask a class of students to list the rewards and opportunities that success in engineering study will bring them, money is almost always #1. In my "Top Ten List," it's #6. Itís not that engineers don't make good money. They do! Itís just that money is not a primary motivator of mine.

    I've always held the view that if you choose something you like doing, work hard at it, and do it well, the money will take care of itself. In my case, it has. Of course, you may discount my philosophy because of my credentials and career successes. But remember, my engineering career began much the same way yours will¾ working in industry as a practicing engineer. My subsequent career moves, however, were never motivated by money alone. I hope you too don't make money your primary reason for becoming an engineer. Other reasons, like job satisfaction, challenging work, intellectual development, and opportunities to benefit society hopefully will prove to be more important factors. If they are, you will find the quality of your life enriched tremendously. And I guarantee that "the money will take care of itself," as it has for me.

    Let's not lose sight of reality, however! If you do become an engineer, you will be rewarded financially. Engineers, even in entry-level positions, are well paid. In fact, engineering graduates receive the highest starting salary of any discipline, as shown in the data below for 1998/99 [10].

    Beginning Offers to 1998/99 Graduates


    Avg. Salary



    Computer Sciences


    Engineering Technology




    Mathematics and Sciences


    Agriculture & Natural Resources


    Humanities & Social Sciences






    You also may be interested to know that of the 29,777 offers reported in this study, 11,575 (38.9 percent) went to business graduates and 8,561 (28.8 percent) went to engineering graduates¾ disciplines that comprise less than 25 percent of all college graduates. The remaining 75.2 percent received only 32.3 percent of all job offers. Put another way:

    7. Prestige

    What is "prestige"? The dictionary defines it as "the power to command admiration or esteem," usually derived from one's social status, achievements, or profession. Engineering, as both a field of study and a profession, confers prestige. You may have already experienced the prestige associated with being an engineering major. Perhaps you have stopped on campus to talk with another student and during the conversation, he asked, "What's your major?" What reaction did you get when you said, "Engineering"? Probably one of respect, awe, or even envy. To non-engineering majors, engineering students are "the really smart, studious ones." Then, if you reciprocated by asking about that student's major, you may wish you hadn't after getting an apologetic response like, "I'm still undecided."

    This hypothetical conversation between an engineering and non-engineering student is not farfetched. In fact, variations of it take place all the time. Everyone knows that engineering study requires hard work, so people assume you must be a serious, highly capable student.

    I often ask students to name a profession that is more prestigious than engineering. "Medicine" always comes up first. I tend to agree. Physicians are well paid and highly respected for their knowledge and commitment to helping people live healthier lives. So if you think you want to be a medical doctor and have the ability, arrange to meet with a pre-med advisor as soon as possible and get started on your program. I certainly want to have the most capable and best trained people as my doctors.

    After medicine, law and accounting are typically cited as more prestigious professions than engineering. Here, however, I disagree, arguing against these and every other profession as conferring more prestige than engineering. Anyone who knows anything about engineering would agree that engineers play critical, ubiquitous roles in sustaining our nation's international competitiveness, in maintaining our standard of living, in ensuring a strong national security, in improving our health, and in protecting public safety. I can't think of any other profession that affects our lives in so many vital, significant ways.

    8. Professional Environment

    Although engineers can perform a variety of functions and work in many different settings, most new engineering graduates are hired into entry-level positions in "hi-tech" companies. While the nature of your work and status within the company may quickly change, there are certain standard characteristics of all professional engineering work environments.

    For one, you will be treated with respect¾ both by your engineering colleagues and by other professionals. With this respect will come a certain amount of freedom in choosing your work and, increasingly, you will be in a position to influence the directions taken by your organization.

    As a professional, you also will be provided with adequate workspace, along with whatever equipment and staff support you need to get your work done.

    Another feature of the engineering work environment is the many opportunities you will have to enhance your knowledge, skills, self-confidence, and overall ethos as a professional engineer. Experienced engineers and managers know that new engineering graduates need help in making the transition from college to the "real world." From the outset, then, your immediate supervisor will closely mentor you, giving you the time and guidance to make you feel "at home" in your new environment. She will carefully oversee your work assignments, giving you progressively more challenging tasks and teaming you with experienced engineers who will teach you about engineering and the corporate world in perhaps the best ways possible: on-the-job training and discussions with co-workers.

    Once you are acclimated to your new position, your company will see to it that your engineering education and professional development continue. You will frequently be sent to seminars and short courses on a variety of topics, from new engineering methods to interpersonal communications. You may be given a travel allotment so you can attend national conferences of professional engineering societies. You also may discover that your company has an educational reimbursement program that will pay your tuition and fees to take courses at a local university for professional development or to pursue a graduate degree.

    You can expect yearly formal assessments of your performance, judged on the merits of your contributions to the company. As a professional, you will not be required to punch a clock, for your superiors will be more concerned about the quantity and quality of your work, not your "time-on-tasks." If you have performed well in these areas, you can usually expect an annual merit salary increase, plus occasional bonuses for a "job particularly well done." Promotions to higher positions are another possibility, although they generally have to be earned over an extended period of time.

    Finally, as a professional, you will receive liberal benefits, which typically include a retirement plan, life insurance, medical insurance, dental insurance, sick leave, paid vacation and holidays, and savings or profit-sharing plans.

    9. Understanding How Things Work

    Do you know why golf balls have dimples on them? Do you understand how the loads are transmitted to the supports on a suspension bridge? Do you know what a laser is? How a computer works? When you drive on a mountain road, do you look at the guard rails and understand why they were designed the way they are? Do you know why split-level houses experience more damage in earthquakes? Do you know why we use alternating current (AC) rather than direct current (DC)? One of the most valuable outcomes of my engineering education is understanding how the things around me work.

    Furthermore, there are many issues facing our society that depend on an understanding of technology. Why don't we have more zero-emission electric vehicles rather than highly polluting cars powered by internal combustion engines? Should we have stopped building nuclear reactors? What will we use for energy when the earth's supply of oil becomes prohibitively costly or runs out? Can we count on nuclear fusion? Should we have supersonic aircraft, high-speed trains, and automated highways? Is it technically feasible to develop a "Star Wars" defense system that will protect us against nuclear attack? Why are the Japanese building higher quality automobiles than we are building? Can we produce enough food to eliminate world hunger? Do high-voltage power lines cause cancer in people who live or play near them?

    Your engineering education will equip you to understand the world around you and to develop informed views regarding important social, political, and economic issues facing our nation and the world. Who knows? Maybe this understanding will lead you into politics.

    10. Creative Thinking

    Engineering is by its very nature a creative profession. The word "engineer" comes from the same Latin word ingenium as the words "genius" and "ingenious." This etymological connection is no accident: engineers have limitless opportunities to be ingenious, inventive, and creative. Do you remember reading about the "Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century"? You can be sure that creativity played a major role in each of these achievements.

    Sometimes new engineering students have difficulty linking "creativity" with "engineering." That's because, at first glance, the terms are likely to invoke their stereotypical connections: "creativity" with art; "engineering" with math, science, and problem solving. The truth, though, is that creativity is practically an essential ingredient of engineering. Consider, for example, the following definition of "creativity," taken from a book entitled Creative Problem Solving and Engineering Design [11]:




    This is just what engineers do. In fact, this definition of "creativity" could almost be a definition of "engineering."

    To experienced engineers, who regularly engage in solving open-ended, real-world problems, the need for creativity in the engineering process is a given. It would seem particularly important, for example, during Steps 4, 5, and 6, which involve developing and evaluating alternative possible solutions, followed by the selection of the "best" one. Without an injection of creativity in these steps, the actual "best" solution may be overlooked entirely.

    However, these are not the only steps of the engineering design process that involve creativity. Indeed, creativity enters into every step of the process. It would be a good exercise for you to review the six steps of the engineering design process to see how creativity can come into play at each step.

    Beyond the engineering process itself, the need for engineers to think creatively is greater now than ever before, because we are in a time when the rate of social and technological changes has greatly accelerated. Only through creativity can we cope with and adapt to these changes. If you like to question, explore, invent, discover, and create, then engineering would be an ideal profession for you.

    Explore Human Creativity







    2.6 Engineering Disciplines

    At this point you should have a general understanding of what engineering is and what engineers do¾ along, of course, with the many rewards and opportunities that engineering offers. Our goal in the remainder of this chapter is to clarify and broaden that understanding. We'll start by looking at engineering from a new perspective, and that is how engineers can be classified by their academic discipline.

    Until recently, engineering has consisted of five major disciplines, which enroll the largest number of students. In rank order, these disciplines are:

    • Electrical Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Civil Engineering
    • Chemical Engineering
    • Industrial Engineering

    A sixth discipline, Computer Engineering, has now been added to this list. Initially a subspecialty within electrical engineering (and still organized that way at many institutions), computer engineering has grown so rapidly that universities are increasingly offering separate accredited B.S. degrees in this field. (Given these changes, computer engineering is treated separately in my subsequent discussion of engineering disciplines.)

    In addition to the top six disciplines, there are many other more specialized, non-traditional fields of engineering. Aerospace engineering, materials engineering, biomedical engineering, ocean engineering, petroleum engineering, mining engineering, nuclear engineering, and manufacturing engineering are examples of these.

    The following table shows the number of programs and the number of degrees awarded in 1998/99 in each engineering discipline. Of the 62,500 B.S. degrees awarded, 84.3 percent were in the top six disciplines, while 15.7 percent were in the more specialized, non-traditional fields.


    Number of

    B.S. Degrees

    Percent of




    Total Engineering


    in 1998/99


    Mechanical Engineering




    Electrical Engineering




    Civil Engineering




    Computer Engineering




    Chemical Engineering




    Industrial Engineering




    Aerospace Engineering




    General Engineering




    Engineering Science




    Biomedical Engineering




    Materials/Metallurgical Engr




    Environmental Engineering




    Agricultural Engineering




    Systems Engineering




    Architectural Engineering




    Mining/Mineral/Geolog Engr




    Marine/Ocean Engineering




    Engineering Management




    Petroleum Engineering




    Manufacturing Engineering




    Ceramic Engineering




    Nuclear Engineering








    To find out which of these engineering programs are offered by the 310 universities in the U.S. that have accredited engineering programs, visit the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) web site at:


    What follows is an overview of these engineering disciplines. For each of the top six disciplines, more information and details are provided, while for the smaller disciplines briefer descriptions are given.

    Electrical Engineering

    Electrical engineering is the largest of all engineering disciplines. Of the 1.7 million engineers working with the occupational title of "engineer" in the U.S. in 1998 [13], 629,240 (36.7 percent) were electrical and computer engineers.

    Electrical engineers are concerned with electrical devices and systems and with the use of electrical energy. Virtually every industry utilizes electrical engineers, so employment opportunities are extensive. The work of electrical engineers can be seen in the entertainment systems in our homes, in the computers used by businesses, in numerically-controlled machines used by manufacturing companies, and in the early warning systems used by the federal government to ensure our national security.

    An outstanding source of information about electrical engineering careers is the "IEEE Careers for Electrical Engineers & Computer Scientists" web page created by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation:


    The IEEE is organized into the following 36 technical societies. (See IEEE web page at <www.ieee.org>)

    Technical Societies of the IEEE

    Aerospace and electronic systems

    Antennas and propagation

    Broadcast technology

    Circuits and systems


    Electromagnetic compatibility

    Engineering in medicine and biology

    Components, packaging, and manufacturing technology


    Control systems

    Consumer electronics


    Dielectrics and electrical insulation

    Electron devices

    Engineering management

    Industrial electronics

    Geoscience and remote sensing

    Information theory

    Industry applications

    Lasers and electro-optics

    Instrumentation and measurement

    Microwave theory and techniques


    Oceanic engineering

    Nuclear and plasma sciences

    Power engineering

    Power electronics

    Solid state circuits

    Professional communication


    Robotics and automation

    Signal processing

    Social implications of technology

    Systems, man, and cybernetics

    Ultrasonics, ferroelectrics, and frequency control

    Vehicular technology

    The listing of IEEE societies should give you an idea of the scope encompassed by the electrical engineering field. Within electrical engineering programs of study, the above 36 technical areas are generally organized under six primary specialties:

    Computer Engineering**






    [**As explained previously, computer engineering will be discussed later in this section as a separate engineering discipline.]

    Electronics deals with the design of circuits and electric devices to produce, amplify, detect, or rectify electrical signals. Electronics is rapidly changing and becoming increasingly important because of new advances in microelectronics. Our standard of living has significantly improved due to the advent of transistors, semiconductors, and integrated circuits (ICs). Semiconductor products include not just digital ICs but also analog chips, mixed-signal (analog and digital integrated) circuits, and radio-frequency (RF) integrated circuits.

    Communications involves a broad spectrum of applications from consumer entertainment to military radar. Recent advances in personal communication systems (e.g., cellular telephones) and video-conferencing, along with technological advances in lasers and fiber optics, are bringing about a revolution in the communications field, opening up possibilities that were not even dreamed of a few years ago: e.g., on-line video-conferencing, international broadcasting of conferences and tutorials, real-time transfer of huge data files, and transmission of integrated voice/data/ video files. Over the next decade, wireless networks will probably become as large and reliable as existing fiber-optic lines are today.

    Power involves the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power. Power engineers are involved with conventional generation systems such as hydroelectric, steam, and nuclear, as well as alternative generation systems from solar, wind, and fuel cells. Power engineers are employed wherever electrical energy is used to manufacture or produce a product¾ petrochemicals, pulp, paper, textiles, metals, and rubber, for example. As such, power engineers must have in-depth knowledge about transmission lines, electric motors, and generators.

    Controls engineers design systems that control automated operations and processes. Control systems generally compare a measured quantity to a desired standard and make whatever adjustments are needed to bring the measured quantity as close as possible to the desired standard.

    Instrumentation involves the use of electronic devices, particularly transducers, to measure such parameters as pressure, temperature, flow rate, speed, acceleration, voltage, and current. Instrumentation engineers not only conduct such measurements themselves; they also take part in processing, storing, and transmitting the data they collect.

    Mechanical Engineering

    Mechanical engineering, the second largest engineering discipline, is also one of the oldest and perhaps broadest engineering discipline. Mechanical engineers design tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical equipment. They design and develop power-producing machines such as internal combustion engines, steam and gas turbines, and jet and rocket engines. They also design and develop power-using machines such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, robots, machine tools, materials handling systems, and industrial production equipment.

    The work of mechanical engineers varies by industry and function. Specialties include, among others, applied mechanics, design, energy systems, pressure vessels and piping, and heating, refrigeration, and air-conditioning systems. Mechanical engineers also design tools needed by other engineers for their work.

    The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) lists 36 technical divisions.

    Technical Divisions of the ASME

    Applied mechanics

    Internal combustion engines


    Fuels and combustion technologies

    Fluids engineering

    Nuclear engineering

    Heat transfer



    Advanced energy systems

    Aerospace engineering

    Ocean engineering

    Environmental engineering

    Noise control and acoustics

    Rail transportation

    Computers and information in engr

    Solid waste processing

    Information storage and processing


    Materials handling engineering

    Solar energy

    Safety engineering and risk analysis

    Process industries

    Plant engineering and maintenance


    Technology and society


    Nondestructive evaluation engr

    Manufacturing engineering

    Offshore mechanics and arctic engr

    Design engineering

    Pressure vessels and piping

    Fluid power systems

    Electrical and electronic packaging

    Textile engineering

    Dynamic systems and control

    I'm sure this is an overwhelming list, but it is only the "tip of the iceberg." Each of these technical divisions is divided into a number of technical committees. For example, the Advanced Energy Systems Technical Division is organized into eight technical committees, each representing another mechanical engineering field:

    Direct thermal power conversion and thermal management

    Energy systems miniaturization

    Fuel cell power systems

    Heat pumps

    Hydrogen technologies



    Energy systems analysis

    Within mechanical engineering study, these numerous technical fields and subspecialties are generally grouped into three broad areas:


    Structures and motion in mechanical systems


    Energy involves the production and transfer of energy, as well as the conversion of energy from one form to another. Mechanical engineers in this area design and operate power plants, study the economical combustion of fuels, design processes to convert heat energy into mechanical energy, and create ways to put that mechanical energy to work. Mechanical engineers in energy-related fields also design heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems for our homes, offices, commercial buildings, and industrial plants. Some develop equipment and systems for the refrigeration of food and the operation of cold storage facilities; others design "heat exchange" processes and systems to transfer heat from one object to another. Still others specialize in the production of energy from alternative sources such as solar, geothermal, and wind.

    The second major area of mechanical engineering study involves the design of structures and the motion of mechanical systems. Mechanical engineers in these areas contribute to the design of automobiles, trucks, tractors, trains, airplanes, and even interplanetary space vehicles. They design lathes, milling machines, grinders, and drill presses used in the manufacture of goods. They help design the copying machines, faxes, personal computers, and related products that have become staples in our business and home offices. They are involved in the design of the many medical devices, systems, and equipment that help keep us healthy¾ and, in some cases, alive. Indeed, every piece of machinery that touches our lives, directly or indirectly, has been designed by a mechanical engineer.

    Manufacturing, the third area of mechanical engineering study, is the process of converting raw materials into a final product. To take this process from start to finish, a variety of equipment, machinery, and tools is bound to be needed. Designing and building these requisite equipment and machines are what the manufacturing area of mechanical engineering entails. Put simply, mechanical engineers in this area design and manufacture the machines that make machines. They also design manufacturing processes, including automation and robotics, to help make the production of manufactured goods as efficient, cost-effective, and reliable as possible.

    If you are interested in learning more about careers in mechanical engineering, check out the ASME student web site:


    Civil Engineering

    Civil engineering is the third largest and oldest branch of engineering. Major civil engineering projects date back more than 5,000 years. Today, civil engineers plan, design, and supervise the construction of facilities essential to modern life. Projects range from high-rise buildings to mass transit systems, from airports to water treatment plants, from space telescopes to off-shore drilling platforms.

    The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is organized into 15 technical divisions:


    Technical Divisions of ASCE


    Air transport



    Engineering mechanics

    Environmental engineering



    Materials engineering


    Water resources engineering

    Urban transportation

    Waterways, ports, coastal & ocean engineering

    Urban planning and development

    Water resources planning


    Within civil engineering study, these 15 technical areas are generally organized into seven academic specialties:

    Structural engineering

    Transportation engineering

    Environmental engineering

    Water resources engineering

    Geotechnical engineering


    Construction engineering

    Structural engineers design all types of structures: bridges, buildings, dams, tunnels, tanks, power plants, transmission line towers, offshore drilling platforms, and space satellites. Their primary responsibility is to analyze the forces that a structure would encounter and develop a design to withstand those forces. A critical part of this design process involves the selection of structural components, systems, and materials that would provide adequate strength, stability, and durability. Structural dynamics is a specialty within structural engineering that accounts for dynamic forces on structures, such as those resulting from earthquakes.

    Transportation engineers are concerned with the safe and efficient movement of both people and goods. They thus play key roles in the design of highways and streets, harbors and ports, mass transit systems, airports, and railroads. They are also involved in the design of systems to transport goods such as gas, oil, and other commodities.

    Environmental engineers are responsible for controlling, preventing, and eliminating air, water, and land pollution. To these ends, they are typically involved in the design and operation of water distribution systems, waste water treatment facilities, sewage treatment plants, garbage disposal systems, air quality control programs, recycling and reclamation projects, toxic waste cleanup projects, and pesticide control programs.

    Water resources is, by its very title, an engineering specialty focused on water-related problems and issues. The work of engineers in this area includes the operation of water availability and delivery systems, the evaluation of potential new water sources, harbor and river development, flood control, irrigation and drainage projects, coastal protection, and the construction and maintenance of hydroelectric power facilities.

    Geotechnical engineers analyze the properties of soil and rocks over which structures and facilities are built. From the information their analyses yield, geotechnical engineers are able to predict how the ground material would support or otherwise affect the structural integrity of the planned facility. Their work is thus vital to the design and construction of earth structures (dams and levees), foundations of buildings, offshore platforms, tunnels, and dams. Geotechnical engineers also evaluate the settlement of buildings, stability of slopes and fills, seepage of groundwater, and effects of earthquakes.

    Engineers involved in Surveying are responsible for "mapping out" construction sites and their surrounding areas before construction can begin. They locate property lines and determine right-of-ways, while also establishing the alignment and proper placement of the buildings to be constructed. Current surveying practice makes use of modern technology, including satellites, aerial and terrestrial photogrammetry, and computer processing of photographic data.

    Construction engineers use both technical and management skills to plan and build facilities¾ such as buildings, bridges, tunnels, and dams¾ that other engineers and architects designed. They are generally responsible for such projects from start to finish: estimating construction costs, determining equipment and personnel needs, supervising the construction, and, once completed, operating the facility until the client assumes responsibility. Given the breadth of such projects, construction engineers must be knowledgeable about construction methods and equipment, as well as principles of planning, organizing, financing, managing, and operating construction enterprises.

    Computer Engineering

    Unlike the three previous engineering disciplines we have discussed¾ electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering¾ computer engineering is the newest and most rapidly growing engineering field. Already fourth largest in terms of B.S. degrees conferred as recently as 1998/99 (see table on page 57), computer engineering may soon surpass all other disciplines because of the needs its graduates meet in a world that has become "computer-centered." The U.S Department of Labor already has projected that computer engineering will be one of the three fastest growing occupations through the year 2006 [11]. The money will be good too, as the average starting salary for 1998/99 graduates in computer engineering was $45,666 [12].

    Computer engineering, which had its beginnings as a specialty or option within electrical engineering, and continues to rely on much of the same basic knowledge that the EE curriculum teaches, developed into a discipline of its own because of the growing need for specialized training in computer technology. To respond to this need, computer specialists in electrical engineering had to step up their research and course development, which increasingly brought them into contact with computer scientists. Today, although computer engineering and computer science remain separate disciplines, the work of computer engineers and computer scientists is often inseparable¾ or, more accurately, interdependent. One writer from IEEE aptly explains the relationship between computer engineering and computer science in terms of a "continuum" [13]:

    At one pole is computer science, primarily concerned with theory, design, and implementation of software. It is a true engineering discipline, even though the product is an intangible¾ a computer program. At the other pole is computer engineering, primarily concerned with firmware (the microcode that controls processors) and hardware (the processors themselves, as well as entire computers). It is not possible, however, to draw a clear line between the two disciplines; many practitioners function to at least some extent as both computer engineers and computer scientists.

    While explaining the overlapping nature of the work of computer engineers and scientists, the passage also points out the major difference between them. That is, computer engineers focus more on computer hardware; computer scientists focus more on computer software.

    I assume that most of you are already somewhat familiar with these terms. Given their importance in this discussion, however, we'll digress briefly to clarify them. "Hardware" refers to the machine itself: the chips, circuit boards, networks, devices, and other physical components of a computer. "Software" refers to the programs that tell the computer what to do and how to do it. A software program is literally a set of instructions, rules, parameters, and other guidelines, encoded in a special "language" that the hardware can read and then execute. A computer therefore needs both hardware and software, developed in tandem, in order to perform a given function.

    As hardware specialists, computer engineers are concerned with the design, construction, assessment, and operation of the essential components noted above, plus numerous peripheral devices. One important category of peripherals is storage devices, such as magnetic disks and tapes, optical disks, RAM, ROM disk arrays, and even floppy disks. Other important categories of peripherals concern "output" (e.g., printers and plotters, visual displays, speech and sound hardware, and modems) and "input" (e.g., readers and scanners, keyboards, mouse devices, and speech input systems).

    As noted above, however, the work of computer engineers and computer scientists typically involves much crossover. That is, for any given design project, the computer engineer's ability to deliver the appropriate hardware depends on her understanding of the computer scientist's software requirements. As a result, she often participates in the development of the software¾ and may even create software of her own to support the computer scientist's program. Similarly, the computer scientist's ability to deliver a viable software program depends on his knowledge of hardware. He thus plays a critical role in facilitating the computer engineer's design and development of the necessary physical components, systems, and peripheral devices.

    The computer engineer's role in developing hardware for computer applications is one of but a variety of jobs that computer engineers do. Some work on the design of computer architecture in order to produce faster, more efficient computer systems. Others work on the design and development of electronic systems that enhance the ability of computers to communicate with other computers. (Did you know, for example, that computer engineers created the devices that made the Internet possible?)

    In sum, the primary technical areas that computer engineers are involved with are:

    Digital systems

    Computer architecture

    Parallel and distributed computing

    Software engineering


    Programming languages


    Operating systems

    Computer networks

    Systems Analyst. Whatever work computer engineers engage in, it is typically generated by some company or government need, which if you recall the engineering design process, leads to a problem definition and specifications. Identifying these needs and initiating design projects to solve them are the responsibility of systems analysts. Comprising another fast growing field of computer technology, systems analysts are charged with planning, developing, and selecting new computer systems, or modifying existing programs to meet the needs of an organization. Although their training is in Management Information Systems (as opposed to engineering or computer science), systems analysts are highly computer-literate specialists who work as corporate "watchdogs" to ensure that their company is realizing the maximum benefits from its investment in equipment, personnel, software, and business practices.

    Computer Scientists. Finally, since computer engineers work so frequently¾ and so closely¾ with computer scientists, a brief overview of that field would provide a fitting conclusion to our discussion of computer engineering. Computer scientists have already been distinguished as the software experts in the general field of computer technology. As software specialists, their work tends to be highly theoretical, involving extensive, complex applications of math and science principles, algorithms, and other computational processes. However, we have also seen that their theoretical work requires a concomitant knowledge of the many physical components, processes, and functional requirements of computers. The Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB) begins its definition of the discipline as one that

    "involves the understanding and design of computers and computational processes . . . The discipline ranges from theoretical studies of algorithms to practical problems of implementation in terms of computational hardware and software."

    The definition continues, but these two statements alone aptly describe the computer science discipline.

    Because computer science joins computer engineering and management information systems as one of the three fastest growing and rapidly evolving fields of the future, it is difficult to present a complete list of computer science specialties. Most we have already covered, such as theory, algorithms, programming methodology, and computer languages. Others include computer architecture, software engineering, artificial intelligence, computer networking and communications, database systems, parallel computation, distributed computation, computer-human interaction, computer graphics, operating systems, and numerical and symbolic computation. (It is interesting to note that many of these areas are the same ones listed above for computer engineering. These shared areas only reinforce the overlap and similarities between computer science and computer engineering.)

    For more information about computer science, visit the CSAB web site at: <www.csab.org>

    Chemical Engineering

    Chemical engineers combine their engineering training with a knowledge of chemistry to transform the laboratory work of chemists into commercial realities. They are most frequently involved in designing and operating chemical production facilities and manufacturing facilities that use chemicals (or chemical processes) in their production of goods.

    The work of chemical engineers can be seen in a wide variety of products that affect our daily lives, including plastics, building materials, food products, pharmaceuticals, synthetic rubber, synthetic fibers, and petroleum products (e.g., shampoos, soaps, cosmetics, shower curtains, and molded bathtubs).

    Chemical engineers also play a major role in keeping our environment clean by creating ways to clean up the problems of the past, prevent pollution in the future, and extend our shrinking natural resources. Many play equally important roles in helping to eliminate world hunger by developing processes to produce fertilizers economically.

    You can learn more about chemical engineering careers by visiting the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) web page at: <www.aiche.org/spins/careers>

    Industrial Engineering

    Industrial engineers determine the most effective ways for an organization to use its various resources¾ people, machines, materials, information, and energy¾ to make a process or product. Their work does not stop there, however, for they also design and manage the quality control programs that monitor the production process at every step. They also may be involved in facilities and plant design, along with plant management and production engineering.

    These multiple responsibilities of an industrial engineer require knowledge not only of engineering fundamentals, but also of computer technology and management practices. At first glance, the industrial engineer might be seen as the engineering equivalent of a systems analyst¾ except that the industrial engineer plays many more roles and has a much wider window of career opportunities.

    Perhaps the single most distinguishing characteristic of industrial engineers is their involvement with the human and organizational aspects of systems design. Indeed, the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) describes industrial engineering as "The People-Oriented Engineering Profession" (see IIE web page at: <www.iienet.org>).

    Sixty percent of industrial engineers are employed by manufacturing companies, but industrial engineers can be found in every kind of institution (e.g., financial, medical, agricultural, governmental) and commercial field (e.g., wholesale and retail trade, transportation, construction, entertainment, etc.).

    Given its breadth of functions in so many areas, industrial engineering has been particularly impacted by recent advances in computer technology, automation of manufacturing systems, developments in artificial intelligence and database systems, management practices (as reflected by the "quality movement"), and the increased emphasis on strategic planning.

    Overview of Other Engineering Disciplines

    The following sections provide an overview of the more specialized, non-traditional engineering disciplines.

    Aerospace Engineering. Aerospace engineers design, develop, test, and help manufacture commercial and military aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. They also may develop new technologies in commercial aviation, defense systems, and space exploration. In this work, they tend to focus on one type of aerospace product such as commercial transports, helicopters, spacecraft, or rockets. Specialties within aerospace engineer-ing include aerodynamics, propulsion, thermodynamics, structures, celestial mechanics, acoustics, and guidance and control systems.

    Materials Engineering/Metallurgical Engineering. Materials engineers are generally responsible for improving the strength, corrosion resistance, fatigue resistance, and other characteristics of frequently used materials. They are also involved in selecting materials with desirable mechanical, electrical, magnetic, chemical, and heat transfer properties that meet special performance requirements. Examples are graphite golf club shafts that are light but stiff, ceramic tiles on the Space Shuttle that protect it from burning up during reentry into the atmosphere, and the alloy turbine blades in a jet engine.

    Metallurgical engineers deal specifically with metals in one of the three main branches of metallurgy¾ extractive, physical, and mechanical. Extractive metallurgists are concerned with removing metals from ores, and refining and alloying them to obtain useful metal. Physical metallurgists study the nature, structure, and physical properties of metals and their alloys, and design methods for processing them into final products. Mechanical metallurgists develop and improve metal-working processes such as casting, forging, rolling, and drawing.

    Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering. Bioengineering is a wide-ranging field, alternatively referred to as biomedical engineering, which was created some 30 years ago by the merging interests of engineering and the biological/medical sciences. Bioengineers work closely with health professionals in the design of diagnostic and therapeutic devices for clinical use, the design of prosthetic devices, and the development of biologically compatible materials. Pacemakers, blood analyzers, cochlear implants, medical imaging, laser surgery, prosthetic implants, and life support systems are just a few of the many products and processes that have resulted from the team efforts of bioengineers and health professionals.

    Architectural Engineering. Architectural engineers work closely with architects on the design of buildings. Whereas the architect focuses primarily on space utilization and aesthetics, the architectural engineer is concerned with safety, cost, and sound construction methods.

    Ocean Engineering/Naval Architecture. Ocean engineers are involved in the design of offshore drilling platforms, harbor facilities, breakwaters, and underwater machines. Naval architects are involved in the design of ships and other seagoing vessels.

    Ceramic Engineering. Ceramic engineers direct processes that convert nonmetallic minerals, clay, or silicates into ceramic products. Ceramic engineers work on products as diverse as glassware, semiconductors, automobile and aircraft engine components, fiber-optic phone lines, tiles on space shuttles, solar panels, and electric power line insulators.

    Systems Engineering. Systems engineers are involved with the overall design, development, and operation of large, complex systems. Their focus is not so much on the individual components that comprise such systems; rather, they are responsible for the integration of each component into a complete, functioning "whole." Predicting and overseeing the behavior of large-scale systems often involves knowledge of advanced mathematical and computer-based techniques, such as linear programming, queuing theory, and simulation.

    Agricultural Engineering. Agricultural engineers are involved in every aspect of food production, processing, marketing, and distribution. Agricultural engineers design and develop agricultural equipment, food processing equipment, and farm structures. Major technical areas of agricultural engineering include food processing, information and electrical technologies, power and machinery, structures, soil and water, forestry, bioengineering, and aqua culture. With their technological knowledge and innovations, agricultural engineers have literally revolutionized the farming industry, enabling farmers today to produce approximately ten times more than what they could just 100 years ago.

    Petroleum Engineering. Petroleum engineers work in all capacities related to petroleum (gas and oil) and its byproducts. These include designing processes, equipment, and systems for locating new sources of oil and gas; sustaining the flow of extant sources; removing, transporting, and storing oil and gas; and refining them into useful products.

    Mining Engineering/Geological Engineering. The work of mining and geological engineers is similar to that of petroleum engineers. The main difference is the target of their efforts. That is, mining and geological engineers are involved in all aspects of discovering, removing, and processing minerals from the earth. The mining engineer designs the mine layout, supervises its construction, and devises systems to transport minerals to processing plants. The mining engineer also devises plans to return the area to its natural state after extracting the minerals.

    Nuclear Engineering. Nuclear engineers are involved in the design, construction, and operation of nuclear power plants for power generation, propulsion of nuclear submarines, and space power systems. Nuclear engineers are also involved in processes for handling nuclear fuels, safely disposing radioactive wastes, and using radioactive isotopes for medical purposes.

    Manufacturing Engineering. Manufacturing engineers are involved in all aspects of manufacturing a product. These include studying the behavior and properties of required materials, designing appropriate systems and equipment, and managing the overall manufacturing process.

    2.7 Engineering Job Functions

    Another way to understand the engineering profession is to examine engineers from the perspective of the work they do or the job functions they perform. For example, an electrical engineer could also be referred to as a design engineer, a test engineer, or a development engineer¾ depending on the nature of his or her work.

    Following is a description of the nine main engineering job functions.


    The analytical engineer is primarily involved in the mathematical modeling of physical problems. Using the principles of mathematics, physics, and engineering science¾ and making extensive use of engineering applications software¾ the analytical engineer plays a critical role in the initial stage of a design project, providing information and answers to questions that are easy and inexpensive to obtain. Once the project moves from the conceptual, theoretical stage to the actual fabrication and implementation stage, changes tend to be time-consuming and costly.


    The design engineer converts concepts and information into detailed plans and specifications that dictate the development and manufacture of a product. Recognizing that many designs are possible, the design engineer must consider such factors as production cost, availability of materials, ease of production, and performance requirements. Creativity and innovation, along with an analytic mind and attention to detail, are key qualifications for a design engineer.


    The test engineer is responsible for developing and conducting tests to verify that a selected design or new product meets all specifications. Depending on the product, tests may be required for such factors as structural integrity, performance, or reliability¾ all of which must be performed under all expected environmental conditions. Test engineers also conduct quality control checks on existing products.


    The development engineer, as the title indicates, is involved in the development of products, systems, or processes. The context in which such "development" occurs, however, can vary considerably. Working on a specific design project, the development engineer acts as a kind of "intermediary" between the design and test engineers. He helps the design engineer to formulate as many designs as possible that meet all specifications and accommodate any constraints. Once a design is selected, the development engineer oversees its fabrication¾ usually in the form of a prototype or model. The results of his collaboration with the design engineer and subsequent supervision of the prototype's fabrication are bound to affect the kind and amount of testing the test engineer will then need to conduct.

    In a more general context, the development engineer is instrumental in turning concepts into actual products or applying new knowledge to improve existing products. In this capacity, he is the "D" in "R&D," which, as you probably know, stands for the Research and Development arm of many companies. Here, the development engineer is responsible for determining how to actualize or apply what the researcher discovers in the laboratory, typically by designing, fabricating, and testing prototypes or experimental models.


    The sales engineer is the liaison person between the company and the customer. In this role, the sales engineer must be technically proficient in order to understand the product itself and the customer's needs. That means she must be able to explain the product in detail: how it operates, what functions it can perform, and why it will satisfy the customer's requirements. She also needs to maintain a professional working relationship as long as the customer is using her company's products. She must be able to field questions about the product, explain its features to new users, and arrange prompt, quality service should the customer experience problems with the product. Obviously, along with solid technical knowledge, the sales engineer must possess strong communication skills and related "people" skills.


    The work of the research engineer is not unlike that of a research scientist in that both are involved in the search for new knowledge. Where they differ is the purposes that motivate their work. Scientific researchers are generally interested in the new knowledge itself: what it teaches or uncovers about natural phenomena. Engineering researchers are interested in ways to apply the knowledge to engineering practices and principles. Research engineers thus explore mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering sciences in search of answers or insights that will contribute to the advancement of engineering.

    Given the nature and demands of their work, research engineers usually need to have an advanced degree in their field. Indeed, most positions available in engineering research require a Ph.D.


    If you are successful as an engineer and have strong leadership skills, within a few years of graduation you could very well move into management. Opportunities exist primarily in two areas: line management and project management.

    In a company, the technical staff is generally grouped into an engineering "line organization." At the base of this "line" are units of ten to 15 engineers, who are managed by a unit supervisor. At the next level up the line, these units report to a group manager. This organizational line continues up to department managers, a chief engineer or engineering vice president, and finally the president. Often the president of a technical company is an engineer who worked his or her way up through the line organization.


    Project management is a little different, as the personnel are organized according to a specific project or assignment. At the head of each project is a project manager. For a small project, one manager is usually sufficient to oversee the entire project; for a larger project, the project manager is assisted by a professional staff, which can range from one to several hundred people. The overall responsibility of the project manager and staff is to see that the project is completed successfully, on time, and within budget.


    The work of the consulting engineer differs from that of all other engineers in that a consulting engineer performs services for a client on a contractual basis. Some consulting engineers are self-employed, while others work for consulting firms that "hire out" their engineers to companies that either lack the expertise the consulting engineer can provide or want an outside evaluation of their organization's performance. Depending on the client's specific needs, the consulting engineer's work can vary considerably. Investigations and analyses; preplanning, design and design implementation; research and development; construction management; and recommendations regarding engineering-related problems are just a few examples.

    The time a consulting engineer puts into each assignment also can vary. Sometimes the work can be done in a day; other times it can require weeks, months, or even years to complete. Last, engineering consulting is increasingly becoming a global enterprise. Both the public and private sectors of developing nations have growing technological needs and so turn to U.S. consulting firms for technical assistance.

    If the diversity of work and opportunity to travel catch your interest, a career in engineering consulting could be for you. For more information about this field, visit the American Consulting Engineers Council's web site at: <www.acec.org>


    The engineering professor has three primary areas of responsibility: teaching, research, and service. Teaching includes not only classroom instruction, but also course and curriculum development, laboratory development, and the supervision of student projects or theses. Research involves the pursuit of new knowledge, which is then disseminated throughout the professional engineering community by papers published in engineering journals, presentations at scholarly meetings, textbooks, and software. The research demands of the engineering educator also include success in generating funds to support research projects, as well as participation in professional societies. "Service" is a catch-all term that refers to the many other functions expected of engineering professors. These include such activities as community involvement, participation in faculty governance, public service, and consulting.

    The Ph.D. degree in engineering is virtually mandatory to qualify for a full-time position on an engineering faculty at a four-year institution, while an M.S. degree is generally sufficient for a teaching position at a community college. More information about academic careers in engineering can be found in Reference 14.

    2.8 Employment Opportunities

    When you graduate in engineering, you will face a number of choices. The first will be whether you want to continue your education full time or seek work as a practicing engineer. If you decide to continue your education, you next need to decide whether you want to pursue your M.S. degree in engineering or do graduate work in another field, such as business administration, law, or medicine. Opportunities for graduate study will be discussed in Chapter 6.

    If you decide to find a full-time engineering position, many other opportunities and choices will await you. The field of engineering practice is so vast and the job opportunities so varied, you may well need to devote a substantial amount of time to understand fully the opportunities and areas of practice available to you.

    Rather than waiting until you graduate to learn about the many opportunities that engineering has to offer, you should make this an objective early on in your engineering studies. Besides saving time and energy when you launch your job search later, knowing NOW about the many areas in which engineers are needed and the diverse opportunities that await you will be a strong incentive for you to complete your engineering studies.

    Let's start, then, with a "big picture" view of the major areas in which most engineers work. The table below, which lists these areas, along with numbers and percentages tabulated for 1997, provides this view.


    Employment of Engineers - 1997 [15]

    Employment Area






    Federal Government



    State/Local Government



    Educational Institutions









    As you can see, the first area, "Business/Industry," is clearly the largest, employing almost 80 percent of engineers. You should know, however, that "industry" is a blanket term for two distinct categories: (1) manufacturing; and (2) non-manufacturing (service). Manufacturing is involved in converting raw materials into products, while non-manufacturing concerns the delivery of services. Government, the next highest area, employing 14 percent of engineers, has needs for engineers at the local, state, and federal levels. Following business, industry, and government comes educational institutions, which employ a large number of engineers, both as engineering professors and as researchers in university-operated research laboratories. Finally, there is a small but significant area of self-employed engineers, most of whom are consulting engineers.

    Organization of Industry in the United States

    If almost 80 percent of engineers work in the "Business/Industry" area, it is likely that you, too, will find yourself working in this area. Although we briefly mentioned the two categories into which industry is divided (manufacturing and non-manufacturing), we have barely scratched the surface of this huge, complex field. For a more detailed, comprehensive perspective on the many, many diverse fields that comprise U.S. business and industry, The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) [16] is the best resource available.

    Developed and maintained by the U.S. government, the NAICS system dissects the monolithic term "business and industry" into 18,000 subgroups, each identified by a six-digit classification code. It then lists all the products or services that each subgroup provides.

    To give you an idea of how NAICS works, I randomly selected the following ten of the 18,000 industry subgroups in the NAICS classification system:

    211111 Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction

    221112 Fossil-fuel electric power generation

    234120 Bridge and tunnel construction

    325611 Soap and other detergent manufacturing

    334510 Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing

    335311 Power, distribution, and specialty transformer manufacturing

    335921 Fiber-optic cable manufacturing

    336414 Guided missile and space vehicle manufacturing

    513322 Cellular and other wireless telecommunications

    541330 Engineering services

    The first two digits designate a major "Economic Sector," and the third digit designates an "Economic Subsector." For example, all of the industry subgroups above starting with 33 are part of the "Manufacturing" Economic Sector. The two industry subgroups in the list whose first three digits are 335 fall under the "Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing" Economic Subsector. The remaining digits of each six-digit classification code further subdivide the subsectors.

    You can explore the North American Industry Classification System on line at: <www.census.gov> Click on "NAICS," followed by "NAICS Search." Then enter one of two types of keywords:

    1. a product or service (e.g., "fiber optic")
    2. an NAICS classification (e.g., "NAICS 541330")

    Because, as we learned earlier, almost 80 percent of engineers work in business and industry, it would be good to know how many of these engineers work in "manufacturing" and how many work in "service."

    Although we do not have exact figures, it turns out that "manufacturing" and "service" employ pretty much equal numbers of engineers. "Service" is slightly higher, with approximately 54 percent. "Manufacturing," a much more diverse sector than "service" (so much so that NAICS requires both the sector and subsector digits in order to classify a "manufacturing" entry), employs the remaining 46 percent.

    In terms of the industry sectors or subsectors that employ the largest number of engineers, the top seven in each are:


    Sector 21 - Mining

    Sector 22 - Utilities

    Sector 23 - Construction

    Sectors 42 44, and 45 - Wholesale and Retail Trade

    Sector 48 - Transportation

    Sector 51 - Information

    Sector 54 - Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services


    Subsector 324 - Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing

    Subsector 325 - Chemical Manufacturing

    Subsector 327 - Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing

    Subsector 333 - Machinery Manufacturing

    Subsector 334 - Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing

    Subsector 335 - Electronic Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing

    Subsector 336 - Transportation Equipment Manufacturing

    The following sections briefly describe these sectors and subsectors.

    Service Sectors Employing Highest Numbers of Engineers

    Mining. These industries extract naturally occurring mineral solids, such as coal and ores; liquid minerals, such as crude petroleum; and gases, such as natural gas. The term "mining" is used in the broad sense to include quarrying, well operations, beneficiating (e.g., crushing, screening, washing, and flotation), and other preparatory functions customarily done at the mine site.

    Utilities. These industries are engaged in providing electric power, natural gas, steam, water, and sewage removal. Providing electric power includes generation, transmission, and distribution, while natural gas only involves distribution. Supplying steam includes provision and/or distribution; supplying water involves treatment and distribution. Sewage removal includes collection, treatment, and disposal of waste through sewer systems and sewage treatment facilities.

    Construction. These industries cover three broad areas of construction: (1) building construction, such as dwellings, office buildings, commercial buildings, stores, and farm buildings; (2) heavy construction other than buildings, such as highways, streets, bridges, sewers, railroads, irrigation projects, flood control projects, and marine construction; and (3) special trades for heavy construction such as painting, electrical work, plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, roofing, and sheet metal work.

    Trade. Trade encompasses both wholesale and retail trade industries. Wholesale trade includes: (1) merchant wholesalers who take title to the goods they sell; (2) sales branches or offices maintained by manufacturing, refining, or mining enterprises; and (3) agents, merchandise or commodity brokers, and commission merchants. Retail sales includes establishments engaged in selling merchandise for personal or household consumption.

    Transportation. These industries are engaged in transporting passengers and cargo, and support activities related to modes of transportation. The primary modes of transportation are air, rail, water, road, and pipeline. Examples of support activities are arrangement of passenger and freight transportation and maintenance of transportation equipment.

    Information. These industries are engaged in three main processes: (1) producing and distributing information and cultural products; (2) providing the means to transmit or distribute these products, along with data or communications; and (3) processing data. Subsectors under this sector include publishing industries, motion picture and sound recording industries, broadcasting and telecommunications, and information and data processing services.

    Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. This sector includes industries from three large areas, only one of which¾ "Technical Services"¾ applies to engineering. Under "Technical Services," however, NAICS includes a broad, varied list of both engineering and computer services. Engineering services may involve any of the following: provision of advice (i.e., engineering consulting), preparation of feasibility studies, preparation of preliminary plans and designs, provision of technical services during the construction or implementation stages of a project, inspection and evaluation of completed projects, and related services. Computer services are equally varied, including activities such as programming, computer-integrated systems design, data preparation and processing, information retrieval, facilities management, as well as computer leasing, maintenance, and repair.

    Manufacturing Subsectors Employing Highest Numbers of Engineers

    Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing. These industries are involved in the transformation of crude petroleum and coal into usable products. The dominant process is petroleum refining, which separates crude petroleum into its component products through such techniques as cracking and distillation. This subsector also includes industries that produce products such as asphalt coatings and lubricating oils from refined coal and petroleum products.

    Chemical Manufacturing. These industries manufacture three general classes of products: (1) basic chemicals, such as acids, alkalies, salts, and organic chemicals; (2) chemical products to be used in further manufacture, such as synthetic fibers, plastics materials, dry colors, and pigments; and (3) finished chemical products to be used for human consumption, such as drugs, cosmetics, and soaps; or products to be used as materials or supplies in other industries, such as paints, fertilizers, and explosives.

    Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing. These industries transform metal into intermediate or end products using forging, stamping, bending, forming, and machining to shape individual pieces of metal. They also use processes, such as welding and assembling, to join separate parts together. Examples of products include hand tools, kitchen utensils, metal containers, springs, wire, plumbing fixtures, firearms, and ammunition.

    Machinery Manufacturing. These industries design and produce products that require mechanical force to perform work. Examples include heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and commercial refrigeration equipment; metalworking machinery; and engine, turbine, and power transmission equipment.

    Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing. These industries are engaged in the manufacture of computers, computer peripherals, communication equipment, and related electronic equipment. Their manufacturing processes differ fundamentally from those of other machinery and equipment in that the design and use of integrated circuits and the application of highly specialized miniaturization technologies are common elements in the manufacturing processes of computer and electronic products.

    Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing. These industries manufacture products that generate, distribute, and use electrical power. Electric lighting equipment, household appliances, electric motors and generators, batteries, and insulated wire and wiring devices are but a few of the many products that come under this manufacturing subsector.

    Transportation Equipment Manufacturing. These industries produce equipment and machinery needed for transporting people and goods. Their manufacturing processes are similar to those used in most other machinery manufacturing establishments¾ bending, forming, welding, machining, and assembling metal or plastic parts into components and finished products. Evidence of the equipment and machinery manufactured in this subsector can be found in such transportation products as motor vehicles, aircraft, guided missiles and space vehicles, ships, boats, railroad equipment, motorcycles, bicycles, and snowmobiles.

    2.9 Important Fields for the Future

    We are in a period of intense change. Major factors that will impact your future are listed below:

    Major Changes Affecting the Future

    Internationalization of engineering

    The end of the "cold war"

    Advances in computer technology

    Advances in communications

    Increased focus on environment

    Shift to "service" economy

    World population explosion

    Understanding these changes can help you prepare for the engineering fields that will be particularly important and "in demand" in the years ahead. We already read that the U.S. Department of Labor has named computer engineering as one of the three fastest growing occupations in the immediate future. Added to this are the following seven areas of technology that the National Science Foundation has targeted for rapid development [17]:

    Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

    Manufacturing is the foundation of the U.S. economy. There is now an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate the application of new knowledge and advanced technologies to dramatically improve the manufacturing capabilities of U.S. industries. Important technologies include "intelligent" manufacturing, advanced fabrication and processing methods, integrated computer-based tools for product design and manufacturing, systems and processes to prevent pollution and to minimize resource waste, and "total quality management" systems and processes.

    Information and Communication Technologies

    Advances in information and communication technologies are key to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness¾ as well as to our national defense. The transition from analog to digital processing is enabling the U.S. to regain its competitiveness in consumer electronics. A major national goal is to develop the information superhighway into a universally accessible national information infrastructure. Information and communication technologies also will bring about major changes in health care delivery systems, advanced manufacturing technology, civil infrastructure systems, and approaches to learning in engineering education.

    Advanced Materials and Processing

    Improvement in the manufacture and performance of materials will enhance our quality of life, national security, industrial productivity, and economic growth. New materials will be created that feature precisely tailored properties and enhanced performance. Examples of these materials are biodegradable polymers, high-temperature ceramics, and durable materials for artificial limbs and joints.


    Biotechnology is expected to have a profound impact on health care, agriculture, energy, and environmental management. Major areas of activity focus on developing better ways to manufacture and mass-produce pharmaceuticals, better safeguards for the environment (including the eradication of past problems), and better means of improving, restoring, and preserving human health.

    Civil Infrastructure Systems

    Our civil engineering infrastructure¾ consisting of roads, bridges, rail networks, sewage treatment plants, deep-water ports, and municipal water systems¾ is both deteriorating and inadequate to meet growing demands. Rebuilding and expanding this infrastructure will involve new designs, more durable materials, network systems with better controls and communications, and improved management processes.

    Improved Health Care Delivery

    There is a critical national need to contain the costs of health care, while also improving the quality of and access to health care. Engineering will help meet this need by developing new ways to increase productivity in hospitals, new technologies for the delivery of care outside of hospitals, improved materials for use in implants or external devices to increase longevity, and improved information and communication systems to expedite access to health care and increase patients' independence.

    Advanced Environmental Technologies

    Our nation's industrial development and economic growth will require solutions to extremely complex environmental problems, such as finding new ways to manage natural resources, while stepping up the production of goods and services. Engineers will play important roles in creating technologies and processes that will remediate existing problems and prevent future problems. One example of such technologies is environmentally sound extraction/production systems that minimize or prevent waste and contamination. Engineers also will be involved in promoting a better understanding of the relationships between human needs and the environment.

    2.10 Engineering as a Profession

    When you receive your B.S. degree in engineering, you will join the engineering profession. Engineering may be considered a profession insofar as it meets the following characteristics of a learned professional group [18]:


    • Knowledge and skill in specialized fields above that of the general public
    • A desire for public service and a willingness to share discoveries for the benefit of others
    • Exercise of discretion and judgment
    • Establishment of a relation of confidence between the engineer and client or employer
    • Self-imposed (i.e., by the profession) standards for qualifications
    • Acceptance of overall and specific codes of conduct
    • Formation of professional groups and participation in advancing professional ideals and knowledge
    • Recognition by law as an identifiable body of knowledge

    As an engineering professional, you will have certain rights and privileges, as well as certain responsibilities and obligations. As described above, you will be responsible for serving the public, sharing your discoveries for the benefit of others, exercising discretion and judgment, maintaining confidentiality with clients and employers, and accepting specific codes of conduct.

    As an engineering professional, you will have the legal right to represent yourself using the title of engineer. You will be eligible to participate in professional organizations. And you will have the right to seek registration as a Professional Engineer.

    Professional Registration

    You can formalize your status as a professional by seeking registration as a Professional Engineer (P.E.). Professional registration is an impressive credential, and you will find the title P.E. proudly displayed on the business cards of engineers who have acquired that status. For most engineers, professional registration is optional. However, in certain fields of work that involve public safety, professional registration may be mandatory. Approximately 30 percent of all practicing engineers are registered. The percentage is much higher for civil engineers because of the nature of their work.

    Professional registration is handled by the individual states, each of which has a registration board. Although the requirements and procedures differ somewhat from state to state, they are generally fairly uniform due to the efforts of the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES). For details about the process of becoming a registered Professional Engineer, visit the NCEES web page: <www.ncees.org>

    State boards are responsible for evaluating the education and experience of applicants for registration, administering an examination to those applicants who meet the minimum requirements, and granting registration to those who pass the examination.

    Although registration laws vary, most boards require four steps:

    1. Graduation from a four-year engineering program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
    2. Passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination
    3. Completing four years of acceptable engineering practice
    4. Passing the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination

    Once you complete these four steps, you will become licensed as a Professional Engineer in the state in which you wish to practice, and will be certified to use the prestigious "P.E." designation after your name. Most states provide for reciprocal licensure, so that once you become licensed in one state, you can become licensed in other states without further examination.

    The Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. The Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE) is administered each year in April and October. The FE exam is an eight-hour multiple-choice exam. The four-hour morning session is common to all engineering disciplines and is comprised of 120 one-point questions covering the following topics:

    Mathematics (20%)

    Chemistry (9%)

    Basic engineering sciences (57%)

    Engineering economics (4%)

    Computers (6%)

    Ethics (4%)

    The four-hour afternoon exam is comprised of 60 two-point questions and covers one of six engineering disciplines (electrical, mechanical, civil, industrial, chemical, general) chosen by you.

    The FE exam can be taken prior to graduation in engineering, ideally sometime in your senior year, or soon after you graduate. This is the time when you have the best command of engineering fundamentals. Once you have passed this exam and graduated, you are designated as an Intern-Engineer or Engineer-in-Training.

    The Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam. After four years of acceptable experience as an Intern Engineer or Engineer-in-Training, you will be eligible to take the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam (PE Exam). Offered in April and October, the PE Exam is an eight-hour exam that contains both multiple-choice and essay questions.

    Professional Societies

    Each of the engineering disciplines described in Section 2.6 has a professional society that serves the technical and professional needs of engineers and engineering students in that discipline. These societies are usually organized on both national and local levels, and most support the establishment of student chapters on university campuses. The societies publish technical journals and magazines, organize technical conferences, sponsor short courses for professional development, develop codes and ethical standards, and oversee the accreditation of engineering programs in their discipline.

    The benefits of getting actively involved in the student chapter corresponding to your engineering discipline will be discussed in Chapter 5. In the meantime, you can gain valuable information about the various engineering disciplines by exploring the web pages or contacting the societies listed below.

    American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE)

    130 Holiday Court, Suite 100

    Annapolis, Maryland 21404

    Telephone: (410) 266-3311

    Internet address: <www.aaee.net>

    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

    1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 500

    Reston, Virginia 20191-4344

    Telephone: (800) 639-2422

    Internet address: <www.aiaa.org>

    American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)

    Three Park Avenue

    New York, New York 10016-5591

    Telephone: (800) 242-4363

    Internet address: <www.aiche.org>

    American Nuclear Society (ANS)

    555 North Kensington Avenue

    La Grange Park, Illinois 60525

    Telephone: (800) 323-3044

    Internet address: <www.ans.org>

    American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE)

    2950 Niles Road

    St. Joseph, Michigan 49085-9659

    Telephone: (616) 429-0300

    Internet address: <www.asae.org>

    American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

    1801 Alexander Bell Drive

    Reston, Virginia 20191-4400

    Telephone: (800) 548-2723

    Internet address: <www.asce.org>

    American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

    Three Park Avenue

    New York, New York 10016-5990

    Telephone: (800) 843-2763

    Internet address: <www.asme.org>

    The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

    445 Hoes Lane, P.O. Box 1331

    Piscataway, New Jersey 08855-1331

    Telephone: (800) 678-4333

    Internet address: <www.ieee.org>


    Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE)

    25 Technology Park/Atlanta

    Norcross, Georgia 30092

    Telephone: (800) 494-0460

    Internet address: <www.iienet.org>

    Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)

    One SME Drive, P.O. Box 930

    Dearborn, Michigan 48121-0930

    Telephone: (800) 733-4SME

    Internet address: <www.sme.org>

    Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME-AIME)

    8307 Shaffer Parkway, P.O. Box 625002

    Littleton, Colorado 80162-5002

    Telephone: (800) 763-3132

    Internet address: <www.smenet.org>

    Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME)

    601 Pavonia Avenue

    Jersey City, New Jersey 07306

    Telephone: (800) 798-2188

    Internet address: <www.sname.org>

    Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)

    222 Palisades Creek Drive, P. O. Box 833836

    Richardson, Texas 75083-3863

    Telephone: (800) 456-6836

    Internet address: <www.spe.org>

    The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS)

    184 Thorn Hill Road

    Warrendale, Pennsylvania 15086

    Telephone: (800) 759-4867

    Internet address: <www.tms.org>


    In this chapter you were introduced to the engineering profession¾ past, present, and future. You were encouraged to take every opportunity to learn as much as you can about engineering. This will be a lifelong process, but it has already begun.

    First, we helped you develop an articulate answer to a question you are likely to be asked frequently: "What is engineering?" You learned that, at its core, engineering is the process of developing a product or process that meets a customer need or perceived opportunity.

    Next, we gave you a view of the past by presenting the 20 Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century. Reading about these not only provided an interesting retrospective of the engineering field; hopefully, it also served as an incentive to you as a new engineering student. For the achievements of the 21st century are bound to be even more spectacular than the accomplishments of the 20th century. And you may very well be responsible for one of the "Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 21st Century." In any event, whether you look backward to the past or forward to the future, you can see what an important and exciting profession you will be joining.

    We then discussed the many rewards and opportunities that will be yours if you are successful in graduating in engineering. By developing individual "top ten" lists of these rewards and opportunities, starting with a discussion of "Ray's Top Ten" list, you should have a clear picture of how an engineering degree will greatly enhance the quality of your life¾ as well as the lives of others.

    Next, to flesh out your understanding of the engineering profession, you saw how engineers can be categorized according to their academic discipline and job function, each of which we studied in some detail.

    You then learned about the employment opportunities that will await you upon graduation. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) was used to give you a feel for the enormous economic engine that your engineering education is preparing you to be part of. We paid particular attention to the industry sectors that employ the largest numbers of engineers, and discussed the technical fields that are expected to grow rapidly in the future. You may want to begin preparing yourself today for a career in one of these "hot" fields of the future.

    Finally, you learned that engineering is a profession that you will enter when you graduate. We discussed the requirements that define a "profession," including the rights and privileges that come with responsibilities and obligations. Among the rights you will be accorded is to become licensed as a registered Professional Engineer (P.E.). You will also have the opportunity to participate in the engineering society appropriate to your academic discipline, both while you are in school and throughout your engineering career.


    1. "1998 ABET Accreditation Yearbook," Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., Baltimore, MD, 1998.
    2. Collins, James C. and Porras, Jerry I., "A Theory of Evolution," Audacity: The Magazine of Business Experience, Vol. 4, No. 2, Winter, 1996.
    3. Kyle, Chester R., Racing with the Sun: The 1990 World Solar Challenge, Society of Automotive Engineers, Warrendale, PA, 1991.
    4. King, Richard and King, Melissa, Sunracying, Human Resource Development Press, Amherst, MA, 1993.
    5. Tuckey, Bill, Sunraycer, Chevron Publishing Group Limited, P.O. Box 206, Hornsby, NSW, Australia, 1989.
    6. Landels, John G., Engineering in the Ancient World, University of California Press, 1981.
    7. 1998-99 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bulletin 2500, U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Available from: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Publications Sales Center, P.O. Box 2145, Chicago, IL 60690)
    8. "1999/2000 Almanac Issue," The Chronicle of Higher Education, Volume XLVI, Number 1, Washington, D.C., August 27, 1999.
    9. "Building A Better Brain," Life Magazine, p. 62, July, 1994.
    10. "Salary Survey: A Study of 1998-1999 Beginning Offers," Volume 38, Issue 4, National Association of Colleges and Employers, 62 Highland Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18017, September, 1999.
    11. Lumsdaine, Edward, Lumsdaine, Monika, and Shelnutt, J. William, Creative Problem Solving and Engineering Design, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1999.
    12. "Engineering and Technology Degrees 1999," Engineering Workforce Commission of the American Association of Engineering Societies, Washington, D.C., 1999.
    13. "Occupational Employment Statistics: 1998 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates - Professional, Paraprofessional, and Technical Occupations," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Available at: www.bls.gov/oesnl/oes_prof.htm).
    14. Landis, R. B., "An Academic Career: It Could Be for You," American Society for Engineering Education, Washington, D.C., 1989.
    15. "Characteristics of Scientists and Engineers in the United States: 1997," Table E-2, National Science Foundation, SESTAT Database (Available on line at: <srsstats.sbe.nsf.gov>).
    16. North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) - United States, 1997, Office of Budget Management, 1998, (Available from National Technical Information Service, telephone: 800-553-6847).
    17. "The Long View," National Science Foundation Publication 93-154, Arlington, VA, 1993.
    18. Beakley, G. C., Evans, D. L., and Keats, J. B., Engineering: An Introduction to a Creative Profession, 5th Edition, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1986.



    1. Review the definitions of engineering on the IEEE Spectrum web page (the URL is given in Section 2.1). Combine the best ideas from these definitions, write out your own definition of "engineering," and memorize it. Ask people you come in contact with whether they know what engineering is. If they say, "No," then recite your definition to them.
    2. Review the National Engineers Week web page (<www.eweek.org>) and answer the following questions:

    1. Who are the sponsors of National Engineers Week?
    2. What is the purpose of National Engineers Week?
    3. What are some of the major activities scheduled for the next National Engineers Week celebration?
    4. What are some of the products available to help promote National Engineers Week?

    1. Write a one-page paper about the influences (teachers, parents, TV, etc.) that led you to choose engineering as your major.
    2. Pick one of the engineering guidance web sites listed at the end of Section 2.1. Explore the web site to learn as much about engineering as you can from it. Write a one-page paper summarizing what you learned.
    3. Write a list of specifications for a motorized wheel chair that could be used on a sandy beach. Include performance specifications, economic specifications, and scheduling specifications.
    4. Review the list of needed products at the end of Section 2.3. Add five additional needed products that you think would sell if developed into actual products.
    5. Pick one of the items from Problem 6 and write a set of design specifications for the proposed product.
    6. Pick one of the 20 Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century. Write a one-page paper describing the impact of that engineering achievement on the quality of your life.
    7. Create a list of activities you can do that will increase your understanding of engineering careers. Develop a plan for implementing three of these activities.
    8. Add ten or more additional items to the list of rewards and opportunities of an engineering career presented in Section 2.5. Pick your top ten from the total list and rank them in order of importance.
    9. Write a three-page paper on "Why I Want to be an Engineer" by expanding on your top four items from Problem 10 and explaining why each is important to you personally.
    10. Have you ever had a job you didn't like? Describe the job. What didnít you like about it? If that job played any role in your subsequent decision to major in engineering, explain what that role was.
    11. Read a biography of one of the famous people listed in Section 2.5 who were educated as an engineer. Make a list of the ways their engineering education supported their achievements.
    12. Write down five non-engineering careers that you might be interested in. Discuss how obtaining your B.S. degree in engineering could help you pursue each of those careers.
    13. What is the most challenging problem you have ever tackled in your life? Were you able to succeed at solving the problem? Did you enjoy the experience? Write a two-page essay that addresses these questions.
    14. Answer the following questions related to making money:

    1. What is the legal "minimum wage" (per hour) in the U.S.?
    2. What is the highest hourly wage you have ever made?
    3. What hourly wage would correspond to the average starting annual salary for engineering graduates in 1998/99 ($43,135)?
    4. What is the hourly wage of an engineering executive making $250,000 a year?

    1. As indicated in Section 2.5, engineering graduates make up only 5.3 percent of all college graduates. Go to your career center and find out how many employers interview on campus annually. What percentage of those employers interview engineering majors only? What percentage interview business majors only? What percentage interview all other majors? What is the significance of your findings?
    2. Find out how the following things work (if you don't already know):

    1. DVD player
    2. Radar gun
    3. Microwave oven
    4. Solar cell
    5. Digital display

    Prepare a three-minute oral presentation about one of the items that you will give at the next meeting of your Intro to Engineering course.

    1. Go to the National Engineers Week web page (<www.eweek.org>) and click on "The Creative Engineer." There you will find eight elements of creativity:
    2. challenging connecting

      visualizing collaborating

      harmonizing improvising

      reorienting synthesizing

      Pick one of these elements. Look up the definition of the term in the dictionary, study the example on the National Engineers Week web page, and conduct further research on the element. Write a one-page paper explaining why this "element of creativity" is important in engineering work.

    3. Go to Professor John Lienhard's The Engines of Our Ingenuity web page: <www.uh.edu/engines> Pick three of the more than 1,500 episodes you will find there. Study those three. Write a two-page paper on why you picked the ones you did and what you learned from studying them.

    1. In Section 2.6, you learned that engineering disciplines can be divided into two categories: (1) the six largest disciplines (electrical, mechanical, civil, computer, chemical, and industrial); (2) a much larger number of smaller, more specialized disciplines. Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of selecting your major in one or the other of these categories.
    2. Which of the engineering disciplines listed in Section 2.6 are offered by your university? Find out how many students graduate annually from your university in each of these disciplines.
    3. Pick one of the engineering disciplines listed in Section 2.6. Visit the web page of the professional society corresponding to that discipline and take note of any information that applies specifically to engineering students. Share what you learned with your classmates in your next Introduction to Engineering class.
    4. Pick one of the engineering disciplines listed in Section 2.6. Write a three-page paper describing that discipline.
    5. Pick one of the technical divisions or societies of either the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), or the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) listed in Section 2.6 that you would like to know more about. Research the division or society and write a one-page paper describing it.
    6. Which of the civil engineering specialties described in Section 2.6 would provide you the greatest opportunity to benefit society? Why?
    7. Go to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics web-based "1998-99 Occupational Outlook Handbook" (<www.bls.gov/search/oco_s.asp>) Enter "computer engineering" and read what it says about the job outlook for "Computer Scientists, Computer Engineers, and Systems Analysts." Write a summary of the job outlook in these three areas.
    8. Go to the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) "careers" web page: <www.aiche.org/spins/careers> Click on "Job Descrip-tions," and read about the ones listed there. Which one appeals to you the most? Prepare a two-minute talk describing its appeal to your Introduction to Engineering classmates.
    9. Interview a practicing engineer. Find out the answers to the following questions:

    1. What engineering discipline did he or she graduate in?
    2. To what extent do the knowledge and principles of that discipline apply in his or her current job?
    3. What industry sector does he or she work in?
    4. What percentage of his or her time is spent in the various engineering job functions (design, test, development, management, etc.)?

    1. Develop a list of attributes that would be desirable for each of the engineering job functions described in Section 2.7. Which of these job functions appeals most to you? Be ready to explain your reasons in a class discussion when your Intro to Engineering course next meets.
    2. Familiarize yourself with the NAICS system by doing the following exercise. Begin by accessing the Internet. Then proceed as directed by the steps below:

    1. Go to <www.census.gov>
    2. Click on "NAICS"
    3. Click on "NAICS Search"
    4. Enter keyword "NAICS 334"
    5. Browse through all the products listed under NAICS 3345
    6. Find the products listed under NAICS 334510 and print them out

    1. Pick one of the products listed under NAICS 334510 from Problem 31 and research what companies manufacture that product. Contact that company and investigate how they use engineers in the design, manufacture, test, and marketing of that product. Write a summary of what you learned.
    2. Learn about the "Engineering Services" industries by following the steps outlined in Problem 31 and entering the keyword "NAICS 541330." How many entries did you find? Would you be interested in working in this industry? Why or why not?
    3. Obtain a list of employers that conduct on-campus interviews of engineering graduates through your career center. Try to identify which industry sector each employer belongs in, based on those listed in Section 2.8. Do some of the employers fit into more than one industry sector?
    4. Identify the two or three engineering disciplines that you think would be most closely associated with each of the seven "Service" Sectors and "Manufacturing" Subsectors described in Section 2.8.
    5. Make a list of ten products that would be manufactured by each of the seven "Manufacturing" Subsectors listed in Section 2.8.
    6. Pick one of the important fields for the future described in Section 2.9. After researching this field, write a three-page paper that first describes the field in detail and then discusses future employment opportunities that the field will offer.
    7. Explain how each of the major factors listed in Section 2.9 will impact your future. What effect will each have on the engineering job market? (Will it increase or decrease the number of jobs? In which disciplines? Will it change the nature of current jobs?)
    8. Make a list of the rights and privileges you will have when you join the engineering profession.
    9. Make a list of the responsibilities and obligations you will incur when you join the engineering profession.
    10. Obtain information about the process of becoming a registered Professional Engineer in your state. How do the requirements and procedures differ from those presented in Section 2.10? What engineering disciplines are licensed in your state?
    11. Set a personal goal of passing the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE) before or soon after you graduate. Develop a set of strategies that will ensure that you are well prepared to pass the exam when you take it.

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