The School of Engineering
Why study engineering
What is engineering
The term "engineering" does not come from the word engine, as many people think. Neither is an Engineer the person who repairs your faulty goods. The true origin of "Engineering" goes back to the roman era and is linked to the Latin word for "ingenuity". An engineer is by definition a technical creator who improves products or solutions by solving sometimes complex technological problems in order to facilitate further the life of people.
Engineering is the profession of or work performed by an engineer. Engineering involves the knowledge of mathematical and natural sciences (biological and physical) gained by study, experience, and practice. This knowledge is then applied with judgement, rigour and creativity to develop new or develop better ways to utilize the materials, technologies and the forces of nature for the benefit of society.
How engineers work
Engineers often apply the concept of modularity for good engineering design.
A module is the smallest logical unit of a product. Modules can generally be bundled in larger groups to create a new bigger product. For example, if you look at the music business, a song would be a module and an album would be a group of modules.
A modular design is one where the engineer breaks a big problem into a set of smaller problems that can be solved independently and separately. Each module is small and therefore it is easier to build and test.
Once two or more modules have been successfully implemented and tested, they can be bundled together and tested as a whole against expectations. Modules are added one after the other until the final desired product is implemented and fully working.
Why do engineers do it that way? Modular design is a layered approach, which minimizes the chances of not achieving anything. It is much easier to build simple things than large complicated ones. Furthermore, all modules that have already been implemented can be re-used later in other future project or product developments. That's the way engineers build their own capability and experience.
Now an important matter is how engineers actually solve or crack each module and how they define the plan for the modular design of the next project. The answer is simple.
Engineers use a technique called the engineering design process. In broad terms, there are 7 steps:
- Identify the need or problem (i.e. find the module)
- Research the need or problem (especially if the engineer has no known solutions)
- Develop possible practical solutions (convert knowledge and understanding into a conceptual practical implementation)
- Construct a prototype (implement the conceptual solution)
- Test or Evaluate the Solutions (investigate the response of the module to different scenario)
- Validate the final design (verify that the module meets the desired final specifications)
- Communicate/present the solution
Obviously some of these tasks may have to be repeated iteratively until successful completion is achieved.
This approach applies equally well to hardware, software or mixed designs. It is also relevant in many other non-engineering professions where achievements require good, critical, lateral and creative thinking in order to find solutions to complex problems or issues.
Engineers have significantly higher starting salaries than many other graduates with bachelor's degrees in other fields. Once adequately qualified, the long-term career prospect of an engineer is excellent and unemployment is very rare.
Women in engineering
Engineering is an exciting and safe option for a good future. It is only natural that women should join the pool of creative talent that Engineering represents in society. We are committed to promoting and supporting women in engineering careers.