Why I want to be an engineer…
So why do I want to become an engineer? Money? Problem solving? Sense of success? Sounds cool? Team work? Watching people admire and benefit from something that I have designed? I think the truth is that it’s a bit of everything.
The first thing to realise is that engineering doesn’t just mean designing engines or seeing how high you can build a tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows. Engineering is the branch of science that looks at design and structure from the molecular level. You could be designing the next drug to help prevent Alzheimer’s or the next rover destined for Mars; it’s not all about bridges!
So what qualities do you need? Well you will always be working in a team so without good teamwork you won’t get anywhere. Maths is actually pretty important too – you don’t want to start building a bridge that doesn’t meet in the middle (you laugh but this has actually happened!). You need to be good at problem solving – your design might work but does it meet the safety requirements? The material might be the best for the job but what if it’s too heavy or too expensive?
I appreciate I still haven’t told you why I want to become an engineer. Yes, the money is good – on average a graduate engineer would get a starting salary of £25,000 – but there is more to it than that. You get to work as part of a team and more importantly engineers get to travel. The brilliance of engineering is that schools, bridges, hospitals, stations and engines are needed all over the world, meaning that you can essentially go anywhere. You could be drilling in the Arctic or building water treatment facilities in the remotest parts of Africa.
Engineers also play a vital role in natural disaster relief. They travel to places that have suffered devastating consequences from earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions – it’s an opportunity to be able to use your skills to change the lives of some of the most unfortunate people on the planet.
It also lets you dream big – super big. Without engineering there would never have been rockets, people on the moon, space probes and no International Space Station. Tim Peake’s journey to the ISS really shows how multi-disciplined engineering is; it’s an opportunity for physicists, chemists, biologists, cosmologists and engineers to work together to reach a common goal.
For me however, the best thing about engineering is that it will always be different. Each project will require a different set of skills, give me the opportunity to meet new people and be part of the future. As an engineer, I will work with talented people in various working environments. Just image how exciting it would be!
Chloe Liang, Y12, St Francis’ College, Letchworth