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What is Engineering?

By the Link Engineer Educator Exchange

Engineering is the process of designing the human-made world.


Engineering is the systematic application of knowledge and experience to solve problems and protect and improve lives. It takes a thought, or an abstract idea, and translates it into reality.  Engineering helped create almost every human-made object that we interact with on a daily basis. Everything from mobile phones, coffee cups, and athletic shoes to skyscrapers, national weather forecasts, and the Internet exists in large part due to the work of engineers.


Engineering is not a field of science; nor is it simply the application of science and math. It has its own history, its own unique body of knowledge, and is much more than its many workforce disciplines.

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Engineers use knowledge and creativity to find solutions to society’s problems.


They identify problems and use systematic approaches like the engineering design process to solve them.


Most engineers do not literally build the things we use. Using strong understanding of math,science, and other disciplines, they develop plans and directions for how things should be constructed. They conduct experiments and build and test prototypes to determine if ideas are feasible.


Engineers also design processes like those used in manufacturing to create chemicals and drugs. They develop the procedures for putting components together on an assembly line or preparing and packaging food products.


Engineers collaborate with professionals in many different fields, including scientists, builders of devices, social scientists, business people who market and sell products, and the wide variety of technicians and technologists who maintain and repair things.

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Engineers always look for ways to improve things.


Most of the things that make our lives safer, more enjoyable, and more productive are products of engineering. The ability to transform ideas into real world technologies through a practical and cost-effective approach is what distinguishes engineers from others.

The word “engineer” comes from the Medieval Latin verb “ingeniare,” meaning to design or devise. Humans have been devising clever inventions for thousands of years.

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