What’s Engineering? A Temporary Overview

When Apollo 11 set sail on its journey to the moon, it eternally modified what many individuals believed to be doable. What many individuals do not know is simply how essentially the Apollo missions modified the world. Not in a philosophical sense, however a literal one. Within the growth and analysis portion of this mission, many issues we nonetheless use as we speak got here to fruition. From vacuum-sealed meals, to the dustbuster, these packages result in so many technological advances—true feats of fascinating engineering. Merely put, the Apollo program led many to know even higher how science and engineering contact each side of our lives. 

Engineering: The Definition

Engineering is definitely a phrase most individuals have heard of earlier than, however have you ever really ever questioned what it means to be an engineer? Most individuals image brainy people working behind the scenes on planes and trains, however there’s a lot extra to this self-discipline than that. Within the easiest phrases, engineering is the act of utilizing the scientific technique to resolve real-world issues, construct sensible machines and instruments, and make the world a greater place. 

Certainly, we owe just about all of our infrastructures to the work of engineers all through the centuries. From the traditional Greek mathematical genius Archimedes, to artists-engineers like Leonardo Da Vinci and visionary Nikola Tesla (I suppose we should additionally point out Elon Musk), engineers assist form the world as we all know it in a wide range of methods. 

This is a quote that just about encapsulates the spirit of engineering, from the creator of Dilbert, Scott Adams,Regular individuals consider that if it ain’t broke, do not repair it. Engineers consider that if it ain’t broke, it does not have sufficient options but.” Adams is aware of that engineers have a look at the world with curiosity, and love to resolve seemingly unsolvable issues. 

How Many Kinds of Engineering Are There?

There are various numerous sorts and subtypes of engineering, however listed below are essentially the most fundamental sorts summarized.

Mechanical Engineering:

Mechanical engineers at work
Supply: industryview/iStock

Engineers on this area are positively the type of people that like taking issues aside, studying how they work, placing them again collectively, and troubleshooting any issues that will come up. As such, they take pleasure in designing and constructing machines that perform for particular functions.

At present, the most important and arguably essentially the most complicated machine ever constructed is named the Giant Hadron Collider. Positioned in Geneva, it’s the largest and strongest particle accelerator on the planet. It is chargeable for the invention of the lengthy elusive Higgs boson particle.

In accordance with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for a mechanical engineer in 2019 was round $88,000 a 12 months. 

Civil Engineering: 

For the reason that starting of historical past, people have engaged in civil engineering (it is believed to be the oldest kind of engineering). Merely put, civil engineering is the act of creating and sustaining buildings, roads, bridges, and dams. You already know your fancy rest room? Yeah-those are fairly new within the grand scheme of issues. Effectively, they would not exist with out civil engineers who designed not solely sewage programs, however water filtration programs. With out these people, the world would look nearer to the world of Westeros than the current (move the chamber pot, please). 


Different noteworthy feats of civil engineering embrace the pyramids at Giza, the Hoover Dam, the Panama Canal, the Channel Tunnel between England and France, the Burj Khalifa—the highest constructing on the planet, and town you might be residing in. One other very fascinating but controversial feat of civil engineering is the Three Gorges Dam in China, which, when full, can really gradual the velocity of Earth’s rotation (though solely by 0.06 microseconds).

In accordance with the BLS, in 2019, the median wage for a civil engineer was round $87,000 a 12 months.

Structural Engineering: 

Structural engineering and civil engineering kind of go hand-in-hand. Structural engineers have a look at issues civil engineers create, and see whether or not their designs and ideas are sensible, and might be constructed safely. Additionally they oversee the development itself to verify issues like bridges, energy vegetation, skyscrapers, giant buildings, dams, and even properties are structurally sound.

The BLS doesn’t separate out the salaries of structural engineers, however they’ll anticipate to be paid across the similar as civil engineers, with a median wage of $87,000 a 12 months.

Chemical Engineering: 

If you’re concerned about each engineering and chemistry, that is the right area for you! It is at present essentially the most in-demand of all of the engineering fields — largely due to advances in rechargeable batteries. It is a race to the highest for giant engineering firms seeking to flip these developments into practical transportation prototypes. 

Chemical engineers apply the rules of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to resolve issues that contain the manufacturing or use of chemical compounds, gas, medicine, meals, and plenty of different merchandise. They design processes and gear for large-scale manufacturing, plan and take a look at manufacturing strategies and byproducts therapy, and direct facility operations.

In accordance with the BLS, in 2019 the median wage for chemical engineers was virtually $109,000. The best salaries are in petroleum merchandise manufacturing and analysis and growth. Not dangerous, eh?

Petroleum Engineering:

Petroleum Engineering
Supply: industryview/iStock

Petroleum engineering, as you would possibly be capable to guess, entails the design and growth of strategies for extracting oil and fuel from deposits beneath the Earth’s floor. Petroleum engineers additionally discover new methods to extract oil and fuel from older wells. You may think this business goes by the wayside, given the push towards sustainable and clear types of vitality, however petroleum merchandise are prone to be with us for a fairly some time nonetheless. 

Imagine it or not, petroleum engineering is persistently ranked because the top-paying engineering function. In accordance with the BLS, in 2019, the median wage for a petroleum engineer was round $137,700 per 12 months., with engineers in administration positions incomes a median of $172,000. 

Electrical Engineering: 

Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineer at work Supply: Depositphotos

Electrical energy powers our telephones, TVs, properties, places of work, and it just about makes the fashionable world go ‘spherical. With out it, the world would revert again to the darkish ages. Electrical engineers design, develop, take a look at, and supervise the manufacture {of electrical} gear, akin to electrical motors, radar and navigation programs, communications programs, or energy era gear. Electrical engineers additionally design {the electrical} programs of vehicles and plane.

They’re additionally chargeable for designing and creating digital gear, together with broadcast and communications programs, akin to moveable music gamers and World Positioning System (GPS) units. Many additionally work in areas carefully associated to laptop {hardware}.

In accordance with the BLS, in 2019, the median wage for {an electrical} engineer was round $89,500 per 12 months. The bottom 10 p.c earned lower than $63,020, and the best 10 p.c earned greater than $155,880. The best-paying jobs have been within the area of analysis and growth.

Industrial Engineering: 

Industrial engineering is all about optimization: Can we design one thing that’s extra cost-efficient, takes much less time to construct with much less sources, manpower, and vitality, however nonetheless as much as the requirements of high quality one thing that value extra could be? 

Additionally they clear up technical issues with telephones, planes, automobiles, computer systems, and different issues we cope with in our day by day life.

In accordance with the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for an industrial engineer as of 2019 was round $88,000 per 12 months. The bottom 10 p.c earned lower than $57,290, and the best 10 p.c earned greater than $134,070. The best-paying jobs have been within the area {of professional}, scientific, and technical companies.

Aerospace Engineering: 

The final launch of a Saturn IB (AS-210)
The ultimate launch of a Saturn IB (AS-210) from pad 39B at KSC on July twenty fourth, 1975 Supply: NASA

Aerospace engineering, in any other case often known as aeronautical engineering or astronautical engineering—might be some of the thrilling branches of engineering, being that it’s concerned in designing and constructing units that would permit people to depart the planet and go seeking one other dwelling.

Whether or not we migrate to the close by planet of Mars, determine a method to decide on the Moon, or depart this photo voltaic system fully seeking one other planet, aerospace engineers shall be chargeable for serving to develop the spaceships of the long run. 

Aerospace engineers are additionally chargeable for serving to design plane, missiles, spacecraft, and nationwide protection programs. Ever heard the time period, “It is not rocket science?” Effectively, on this case, it sort of is… The 2 disciplines are very related. Moreover, aeronautical engineers — individuals who work with airplanes and different propulsion programs — are an essential a part of the sphere. 

In accordance with the BLS, the median annual wage for aerospace engineers was $116,500 in Might 2019. The bottom 10 p.c earned lower than $72,450, and the best 10 p.c earned greater than $166,620, with analysis and growth being the highest-paid area.

Biomedical Engineering: 

Biomedical engineering is an thrilling area that mixes engineering with biology — combining engineering rules with medical and organic sciences to design and create gear, units, laptop programs, and software program utilized in healthcare. For instance, we are able to thank biomedical engineering for thus many breakthroughs: synthetic organs, kidney dialysis, robotic devices for non-intrusive surgical procedures, synthetic limb replacements, pacemakers, dentures, and a lot extra. 

There are various totally different job alternatives out there, however in keeping with the BLS biomedical engineers made a median wage of $91,000 in 2019. The bottom 10 p.c earned lower than $55,280, and the best 10 p.c earned greater than $148,210.

Environmental Engineering: 

This subset of engineering focuses on methods by which we are able to defend the Earth and Earth’s biodiversity from air pollution, and total enhance the well being and prolong the longevity of each the surroundings and all residing issues on the planet. 

There’s some overlap with civil engineering right here, as environmental engineers additionally assist construct sewage programs, give attention to water filtration programs, irrigation, and different types of enhancing the issues we take without any consideration — like clear water and indoor plumbing. Environmental engineers use the rules of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop options to environmental issues. They work to enhance recycling, waste disposal, public well being, and water and air air pollution management. Additionally they tackle international points, akin to unsafe ingesting water, local weather change, and environmental sustainability.

In 2019, in keeping with the BLS, environmental engineers made a median wage of roughly $89,000. The bottom 10 p.c earned lower than $54,330, and the best 10 p.c earned greater than $142,070. The best paid jobs tended to be for the federal authorities.

Nuclear Engineering:

If you are interested in particle physics and engineering, welcome to the sphere of nuclear engineering! Nuclear engineers analysis and develop the processes, devices, and programs used to derive advantages from nuclear vitality and radiation. Many of those engineers discover industrial and medical makes use of for radioactive supplies—for instance, in gear utilized in medical analysis and therapy. Many others specialize within the growth of nuclear energy sources for ships or spacecraft.

Large Hadron Collider at CERN
The Giant Hadron Collider at CERN Supply: Maximilien Brice, CERN

So far as pay goes, it may well fluctuate wildly primarily based on what particular job you may have within the business. The median pay in 2019, in keeping with the BLS, was round $113,000. The bottom 10 p.c earned lower than $71,860, and the best 10 p.c earned greater than $179,430. The best salaries have been in engineering companies.

Scientists vs Engineers:

You may not bear in mind, however there’s all the time been a little bit of a pleasant rivalry between scientists and engineers. You would possibly suppose this odd, since engineering and science are so intrinsically interlinked, however alas, it is a factor. 

So, what is the distinction between the 2? I feel Einstein summarizes it fairly eloquently: 

“Scientists examine that which already is; engineers create that which has by no means been.”

Scientists do analysis, experimentation, differentiate between theories and hypotheses, analyze information, and a number of different issues. All of that are essential facets of constructing a scientific breakthrough. 

Engineers, however, provide you with sensible purposes for these scientific breakthroughs. They construct prototypes and machines, carry out experiments, tinker with present expertise to enhance it, and different issues extra particular to totally different engineering fields.

So, there may be fairly a little bit of overlap clearly. Nonetheless, what it mainly boils all the way down to is, engineering is the act of making issues, whereas science is the act of observing and explaining nature. Each fields are essential for nearly every little thing about trendy life.

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