• Question: hi matt i was asking what kind of engineer does a person does when you can build some and then you can take it apart Example: computer

    Asked by maverick to Ant, Dan, Matt, Mike, Steph on 16 Mar 2012. This question was also asked by spawn2012.
    • Photo: Dan Veal

      Dan Veal answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      I’ll give you my American perspective, but if you study engineering in the US these are the main categories:

      — Mechanical engineering (mechanisms, power plant heating/cooling cycles, performance, design,)
      — Civil engineering (close to architecture, designing buildings, roads, bridges, dams, airports)
      — Electrical engineering (designing electronics, making hardware -the physical stuff things are made of- talk to the software – the programs that run them)
      — Chemical engineering (power plans, chemical plants, sewage, water systems, undersea pipelines, oil companies)
      — Environmental engineering (very chemistry intensive, but more to do with environement, global warming, how clean or dirty the exhaust from cars and power stations is, also water systems, etc)
      — Industrial engineering (a mixture of lots of things, deals with efficiency in factories, how to build things in China and assemble them in Taiwan then ship them to the UK to sell, etc)

      That’s a very basic list, in real life you end up doing bits and pieces of all of them to some degree. Which one do you think fits you? Maybe mechanical, or electrical, or civil?

    • Photo: Matt Maddock

      Matt Maddock answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      Ha! Good question – I always liked taking things part as much as putting them together as well! I used to like finding a broken thing (like a computer CD drive, or a broken video player (as your teacher) and taking to pieces to see how it worked. The best bit was if I could take it apart and then put it back together again like you’d never know!

      Most types of engineer will do a bit of everything, including taking things apart – but especially those who work with building machines and maintaining things. Mechanical, Industrial or Electrical (see Dan’s excellent list) are probably your best bet.

      What sorts of things do you want to work with?

    • Photo: Mike Salter

      Mike Salter answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      I remember having a technology lesson at school and my physics teacher was covering because my normal teacher was away. The school were throwing out some old printers, he got them out of the skip and let the class gradually take them apart and he explained how each bit worked as we pulled it out! Possibly the best lesson ever!