Engineers are integral to most aspects of modern life. Engineers build bridges, develop software, formulate chemicals goods, and work on oil rigs. They design software, skyscrapers, circuit boards, and machinery. With so much work done under the umbrella term “engineer”, it can begin to lose its meaning. What makes someone an engineer, and why should engineers lead your product development cycle?
At its core, to be an engineer is to be a problem solver. Engineers use their knowledge of science and mathematics to solve problems in their fields. Engineers can be trained in academic settings or in industry. Both are valid tracks and bring useful, unique perspectives to a project.
Trained to solve problems…
Generally, engineers are trained to be analytical. Most of university engineering education is about solving mathematical problems related to the field. For example, a mechanical engineering student might be asked to solve for the angular velocity of linkage member. An electrical engineering student might be asked to solve for the power consumption of an element in a circuit.
One common criticism to this kind of training is that it’s too formulated to be useful. Textbook problems are carefully constructed to be solvable, and it’s a rare occasion that a problem like that presents itself in the real world. However, this training does two important things for the engineer. First, the problems- though carefully constructed and rudimentary – build the engineer’s intuition about the system. Second, these textbook exercises train engineers to solve problems in a regimented way. After a few years of training, engineering students are accustomed to asking the same questions- “What do I know?”, “What do I not know?”, and “How do my knowns and unknowns relate to each other?”.
Engineers are integral to product design because to design a product is to solve a problem and engineers are problem solvers. Great products are inspired by problems encountered in every day life. And, over the course of any product’s development cycle, numerous problems need to be solved to complete the product. These problems typically don’t present themselves like the neat textbook problems found in engineering school, but they are likely related to the principles and systems studied by an engineer. Engineers bring their skills and intuition to the development cycle along with their analytic method of identifying unknowns and physical relationships.
Diverse Disciplines come together
At Emergnt, we modeled our business to bring together as many different engineering disciplines as possible. That’s because modern products are becoming increasingly complex and bring together different kinds of systems. Our engineering services include…
Mechanical Engineering, which relates to the analysis and design of physical objects. This can include static objects and objects with moving parts. Among other things, mechanical engineers are taught to think about the forces on and within the object and the effects of those forces. Mechanical engineers also understand how objects are manufactured and can be assembled. A good mechanical engineer can design parts and assemblies to solve their physical problems and be manufactured in the real world.
Electrical Engineering, which relates to the analysis and design of electrical and electronic systems. Electrical engineers are trained to look at circuits and understand how different components respond to voltage and current. Electrical engineers design systems which manipulate power and digital information. A good electrical engineer also has the ability to prototype their hardware and circuit designs.
Software Engineering, which relates to the understanding and development of computer programs. Software engineers are skilled at breaking down information tasks into steps which a computer can be programmed to carry out. A good software engineer is also skilled in writing various kinds of code. Our software engineers are skilled in both developing firmware and applications.
Materials Engineering, which relates to the understanding of materials. Materials engineers understand materials from an atomic, molecular, and manufacturing perspective. They know how different materials interact with each other and respond to external stimuli. A good materials engineer can select materials and grades to solve the problems they face.
A product design expert, Jeremy cultivated his skills working in manufacturing and rapid prototyping facilities. His design experience ranges from consumer products to government contracting, and he is known for end-to-end support on every project.
M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology.