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Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering
4

Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

(OP)
Hi everyone, I am Gian. I'm a second year high school student, and planning on taking engineering major when I've graduated. My counselor teacher asked me to make this SWOT analysis on engineering jobs, and I've decided to go to engineering forums to find out from the real engineers. Can you guys help me out?

1. What's the strength on being an engineer to you? What makes it more preferable to you than the others?
2. What's the weakness?
3. What are the opportunities (chances to be successful) we could get by being an engineer?
4. What are the threats? What are the downside, or risky things about being an engineer?

Oh yeah, If I'm planning to invent or develop a new kind of transportation, which engineering major should I go for? Automotive?

Thank you so much for your help. Engineer Cheers.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

i understand why you've done this, but student posts are not allowed.

maybe its ESL, or maybe i aim low, but aiming "to invent or develop a new kind of transportation" is certainly ambitious.

personally i'd try to put some of my own words to the questions and then ask (face to face if possible, as local as possible) an engineer. i mean, you should have some thoughts of your own in response to all four questions.

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

2
While this is a student, it appears that he (or she) has come to Eng-Tips because most of the rest of us are real engineers and thus we're the audience that he (or she) is looking for. I'll try to respond in that manner.

1) For one thing you tend to better understand how the world around you and stuff that's in it works. This is no small thing either since many people are ignorant of what it really takes to produce even something as simple as a loaf of bread, something that I'm very familiar with having spent 14+ years designing commercial bakery equipement.

2) See number 1. There's a bit of a loss-of-innocence as it were since you DO tend to know how stuff works and so some of the mystery is lost. And then there's this problem with getting on an airplane since you know better than the people around you exactly what could go wrong at any moment winky smile And lets not forget that some will look at you as a nerd, and if and when you get married, your spouse may tend to get upset if it turns out that you CAN'T actually fix everything that breaks around the house.

3) The greatest is seeing something built and working that did NOT exist before you conceived it or helped to bring to fruition. That is a very satisfying experience. And besides, engineering tends to pay well. Now you're not necessarily going to get rich, unless you manage to invent the next iPad or some other thing that changes the world, but it reliably puts food on the table and provides support for a family.

4) The biggest threat is obsolescence, not necessarily of what you've learned or are capable of doing, but that the rest of the world moves in a different direction so you must be prepared to move with it when it makes sense. I had to do tht myself 33+ years ago when I left a traditional mechanical engineering role and moved into computer software. It may be hard for a young person to conceive of time before there was a computer in every home and on every desk or for that matter, in your pocket, but there was. I risked a lot, giving up a good job, moving my family from one side of the country to the other and starting over at 33 years old with 3 kids and a wife,, but in the end it was the best thing that I could have done, but it was still a big risk. While the fundamentals of engineering don't change the application does and so you have to be able to either keep up or know when it's time to steer another course altogether.

And one last thing, don't become so obsessed with technology that you miss what else is out there in the world, like art, books, music and just being with people and seeing new places.

I'm sure that you have seen this already but this new Apple advert says alot of things that you should listen to very carefully as this if absolutely what life is all about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiyIcz7wUH0

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat

Sounds like you're suited for a mlitary career.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

nah ... business ! (typical MBA stuff)

in my day all it was was me saying to myself ... "i want to be an aeronautical engineer" ... we didn't have "aerospace" back then !
and then "make it so" (ok, you got me; i didn't actually think that expression (which comes more a much later era) but that was the sentiment).

none of this business BS ...

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Search dilbert.com for topics 1 thru 4. smile

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

I can relate to JohnRBaker's comment 2) about flying on aircraft. I have been in aviation 40 years and it puzzled my family members so that they once asked me why I watch plane crash investigations and read NTSB accident reports even though I have to fly on aircraft quite often. I replied to them that when I am on the aircraft, there is nothing I can do to change what happens to the aircraft and I accept that. But if I can learn something from studying the investigations of accidents, maybe I can learn something from what happened to others. Perhaps I will learn something that will allow me to insure my designs support the prevention of accidents if possible, mitigate suffering from accidents if they occur anyway and increase the chances of survival for the passengers in all cases where survival was possible.

But yea, I do think about what could happen. I always keep it to myself so I don't frighten other passengers though!

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

You're thinking ahead. That is smart, ambitious, excellent thinking - I'm impressed.

Quote:

I'm planning to invent or develop a new kind of transportation, which engineering major should I go for?

I am an engineer. Some pay me because they think I am a good one. I never look for "new" methods. I always look for accepted methods. IEEE papers are my friends.

You want/like new, out-of-the-box, consider Theoretical Physics - possibly a phd (non-teaching I hope). That is where a lot of the really new stuff starts.

ice

Harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

If you want to develop a new form of transportation why study an old one?

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

If you want to develop a new form of transportation why study an old one?

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Question debodine: When you're sitting on a plane, have you ever had to explain to someone why is it that forward of the wings, on say a 737 or 757, that there are windows that seem to be missing?

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

NO, it's a bit more hairy than that.

Look at this picture of a Boeing 737 and consider where the engines are located. Now look at the 'missing' windows. Does anything come to mind?



Perhaps a cutaway of where certain moving parts of the engine are located might help you figure out why there are NO windows at those particular locations along the fuselage.



Next time you get on a commercial aircraft of this configuration, look for yourself.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Just by chance could there be a large chunk of thick metal in there ?
Maybe called an anti intrusion plate?
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

I think we are getting away from the OPs subject.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

I'd never voluntarily sit in the compressor blade shrapnel plane.
Survivors ooze out of the tail cone.
I hate MD80s for other reasons; the ventilation is terrible, and the fuselages buckle even when they don't crash.

Gian, the best part of being an engineer is that you learn how stuff works.
Gian, thw worst part of being an engineer is that you learn how stuff works.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

i don't think it's rotor burst ... a piece of Al skin isn't going to stop a blade.

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Great that you're trying to make an informed decision. Go in with eyes wide open- find out what engineers actually do.

My opinion: if you understand what engineers do, and are still hesitant to pursue it as a career, then don't do it.

If you're not certain it's for you, you're probably going to be lousy at it. And if you're not going to be in the top 10% of your peers in your chosen profession, at least in school, you're going to have a tough time.

At present, stats show that most engineering grads do something other than engineering for a living. And they're not all senior management, patent lawyers or something else glamorous. Not all of them left the profession by choice- most failed to gain entry in the first place. There was a time when we could barely train enough engineers to satisfy the labour force demand for engineers' services. Those days are long, long gone. There's no shortage. But there's a glut of fresh grads with all sorts of training, not just engineers, so that's not a particularly important deciding factor.

SWOT analysis for an engineering education?

Strengths: it's a practical profession, and you don't need a PhD to be taken seriously. Go to a co-op university so you get some job experience, and be in the top 10% or even top 20% of your class, work hard and have a good attitude, and there's STILL a good chance that you'll be able to find a decent-paying job after only 4 years of uni. It's the only profession you can enter with a Bachelor's and nothing more. That's not true for law, medicine etc.

Weaknesses: it's been commoditized by too much competition on a man-hours rather than capabilities basis, and we've become satisfied as a profession to merely bill by the hour rather than demanding a piece of the value our engineering gives to our clients. Whereas we used to out-earn lawyers and doctors and accountants in the 1950s, in Canada we barely keep pace with teachers on a median salary basis adjusted for vacation etc. The other regulated professions have left us in the dust in terms of compensation. For most, it's a profession offering a really low risk to reward ratio.

Opportunities: it makes you appear to be qualified for lots of things other than engineering, apparently. It doesn't really, but shhh- don't tell anybody! And if you LOVE it, the satisfaction of seeing your own imagination in built form is worth any amount of money. But to be fair, doing what you love is its real reward- it's nothing particularly special with respect to engineering except perhaps for the size and coolness factor of the toys.

Threats: global competition. It's not just manufacturing that can be out-sourced.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Gian11, not direct answer but to try and make up for my off topic comments...

From what I've seen being good at Math & Science in school is a necessary but insufficient prerequisite for going on to having a really satisfying career as an engineer. Many of the folks on here that complain the most seem to be people that kind of fell into engineering because they were good at math & science but don't really have that much of an interest in or passion for engineering as such.

There are exceptions, and not everyone who drifted into engineering based on being good at math & science hates it but based on multiple anecdotes it's a hypothesis I have.

So, do you have an interest in engineering - maybe you don't see it in those terms but are you interested in how things work? Do you at least occasionally take things apart to see how the function? Or perhaps you're fascinated by planes or cars or some such and their technicalities. Or perhaps you've enjoyed playing with lego and the like. Or setting up PA equipment or fiddling with some programming ...

When looking at education and career decisions you need to balance following something you enjoy with earning enough to meet your desired lifestyle requirements. Don't pick something you aren't interested in at all or even actively hate just because it offers big $. Think twice before 'following your dream' if it's going to land you on welfare.

Obviously you probably do not know enough about the field to know if you'll actually really like it, and vice versa, but do you research to get an idea what it's like and consider the points I and others have made.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

i appreciate all the helpful comments, but i still think talking to an engineer is better (yes, i am olde school).

working in an engineering office during school breaks is an excellent way to see the business.

as someone else posted, read Dilbert ... for a jaded view on life as an engineer.

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Quote (rb1957)


i don't think it's rotor burst ... a piece of Al skin isn't going to stop a blade.

But the several layers of Kevlar underneath the Al skin should.

DISCLOSURE: I worked 11 years for McDonnell Douglas and while I didn't actually work in any of the aircraft divisions, I was in the engineering software group so we got to know a lot of the people who did and a couple even transferred over from Douglas Commercial (as in DC, like DC-8 and DC-10) and they worked for me for a few years. It was talking with them that you learned all the dark secrets of what had to be done to keep a plane in the air even when things don't always go to plan winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Hyperloop would probably qualify as a new type of transportation.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

JohnRBaker, I have never worked directly for an aircraft manufacturer so I don't have the inside knowledge you gained during your tenure. I do know that on the model (737-800) you show in your photo that there are conditioned air ducts in those locations because I did a design change to some 737-800 aircraft in the GOL fleet. To be accurate, because we engineers like accuracy, that specific aircraft was not in the GOL sub-fleet for which I created a design change. However in reviewing the Boeing data for the 737-800 series, I verified those are duct locations.

So while I cannot confirm your inside knowledge, I can confirm that at least on that aircraft model ducts do exist at those locations and passenger seats are located inboard of those ducts. And to answer your original question, so far I have not had any passengers ask me that specific question. I have had them ask me other types of questions, usually resulting from bumps or noises relating to flap/slat or landing gear extension/retraction and also spoiler deployment because those things can be either seen or easily felt throughout the aircraft. In the past couple of decades the questions usually go into the domain of, "Why are these seats so uncomfortable??" so I don't reveal my industry affiliation very often any more. clown

And since I have gone SO far off topic, I will bore you with one anecdote about bumps and noises on the aircraft. The first time I flew on a military aircraft, it was a KC-135A with the old water injected engines (J-57 engines as I recall). After takeoff, at about 110 seconds when the water was expended and that massive extra thrust disappeared (water expands about 1600 times when vaporized in the engine), the deceleration was so strong I believed we were falling out of the sky. Fortunately I did not scream (though I wanted to) nor did I foul my flight suit (although I almost did that as well). I did see that several of my maintenance team mates who had flown before were watching my face and snickering.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering


1.strength - You could look "less" stupid than the average guy - and yes you will be loaded with substantial knowledge of many things that are worthless in real life.

2. weakness? - you're tied into little details and fail to see the more important things in life - you don't read about philosophy, anthropology, psychology, etc... you're not an interesting person, you're not social. Lots of engineers are "dead bees" who tend to be cocky and think they know it all because they understand the first law of thermodynamics.

3. opportunities - very limited, you're not in the money, see, if you want to build a house, you look for an architect, not for an engineer, the engineer is the poor parent of any industry, you're always in dark and dirty places. In the example of a building, the architect gets all the credit for the building looks, grand entrance, marble finishes or whatever, but the engineer is not credited for a great energy efficient cooling and heating system and so on - on the other hand, if it smells bad, it is too hot or too cold, you're the first one to be blamed - You only get feed-back when things go wrong.

4. threats? From experience, more chances to end up in a divorce than average, because you tend to put work in front of family.

I'd take a trade that involves understanding of real life - lawyer, doctor, public service of any kind. Anything that deals with the public and interaction with people from all walks of life.

Not very optimistic, is it?

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

That's like taking off from John Wayne Airport here in Orange County (CA). About 30 second after takeoff, when the plane is starting to pass over Newport Beach, one of the richest communities in the area, the engines automatically throttle-back so as to reduce the noise footprint on the ground. Most of the time the pilot will warn people that this will happen and sometimes they even explain why, but when they don't you can look around and spot those people for whom this is their first experience with this sort of thing winky smile

As for the noises when in flight, yea, those 757's have to have the highest-pitch sounds when deploying the flaps. It really surprised me the first time I flew in one. What I really loved were the 'flapping' wings on the old Boeing 707. 747's do it also, but I don't think it's as noticable.

As for the duct work in the 737-800, you may be right, but I only think that accounts for the second missing window from the front, as that only occurs on one side of the aircraft, while the first window is missing from both sides and they also line up perfectly with the main fan blades, the big ones you see in the engine's intake. The rest of the blades are internal to the engine itself and if one lets loose, while it will do some significant damage to the engines, they will probably not be thrown radially outward as the body of the engine itself will contain them. However, that first set of high-bypass fan-blades are inside only a much lighter-weight shroud.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

don't you just hate those low noise climb-outs ? ... the poor plane feels like it's hanging in space, labouring for altitude.
but they do reduce (somewhat) th enoise on the ground, and not just around weathy communities; i thought most airports had those climb profiles, 'cept maybe take-offs over water.

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

I very seldom experience those throttle-backs at any other airport and I fly a lot (I've got nearly 3.4 million miles with American Airlines alone).

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

we must fly to different airports !

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Strengths - Learn "critical thinking" (see posts responding to your questions)
Weakness - Easily distracted (see posts responding to your questions)
Opportunities - May work on cool projects (see posts responding to your questions)
Threats - Tend to be defensive and offended by opposing views (see posts responding to your questions)

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Strengths: to get through the eng school curriculum, you will need to develop some form of discipline that results in better critical thinking methods and your analytical abilities improve. Once you get an engineering job, it can continue to be intersting if you continue to look past the conventional wisdom and existing designs and consider what could be improved.

Weakness: You are no longer impressed by "magical thinking" and you are less able to join the crowd of lemmings without reservations. Being analytical is not always appreciated in all situations, as some situations demand going with the flow. Also, you quickly lose your ability to spell.

Opportunities: better paying jobs and a lower unemployment rate than most workers.

threats: the primary employer class has a direct ability to influence leglislation that allows importing of foreign workers to lower your salary prospects . remember, the USSC has offically ruled that money = free speech.

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad "

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

I understand they're making great strides in Quantum Teleportation nowadays.

That could certainly help Atlanta traffic.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

John R Baker: perhaps it's rotational inertia. The missing windows are near people's heads. The spinning blades of the turbine, should they come loose and get flung radially outward, could cause someone to have a very bad headache.

Anyhoo.

Strength: the knowledge (coupled with your apparent energy) to make a difference. The ability to beat your own path.

Weakness: the potential to become stuck in the quagmire of industry, assimilating to the status quo. There are so many manufacturers looking to just support their sacred cow product, and there isn't much investment in R&D these days. It's not like back in the 60s-70s when NASA was the epitome of R&D. Neil D. Tyson said it best... something about how we've lost the drive to go to the moon. Too complacent with cranking out the same old, tired widgets. We've lost our love of being scientists.

Opportunity: the ability to lead the industry into the future, aligned with your fresh vision. You'll have plenty of time to be mentored, just don't lose yourself in the process. You must be the Picard to the industry Borg. There are four lights! Make it so.

Weakness: There are a lot of nay-sayers. A lot of people who have fallen into the rut, and want the misery of your company. They want you to believe there are 3 (or was it 5?) lights. Actually, Davefitz made a great point on this one too... you won't always be able to do what you feel is right thanks to regulatory inefficiency or someone else's greed.

My recommendation: go Mechanical Engineering. You'll have an intro to the other disciplines, depending on curriculum. With the time you have remaining in high school, and your first two years of college, you have plenty of time to decide where you want to focus. In a MechE curriculum, you should have opportunity to take technical electives which help you focus your Junior and Senor year. At least, that's how it was for me.

I wouldn't get discouraged by anyone who steers you in the direction of conformance. Remember: every 'accepted method' was at one point a 'new method.' I think what you'll find in life, generally, is people are resistant to change... even if that change is positive.

Experience: accumulated knowledge over time.

Talent: the ability to use experience.

Which is more valuable?

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

what profession would you want to be if you were stranded on a deserted planet glasses

Have Fun!

James A. Pike
www.xl4sim.com
www.erieztechnologies.com

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

1. Strength: knowledge, discipline, perserverance, inventiveness
2. Weakness: developing blinders to new innovations with time
3. Opportunities: At moment excellent with the right choice of engineering discipline. potential for carreer advancement
4. Threats: Economic uncertainty, outsourcing, pidgeon holing, potential for civil and criminal action, poor corporate management

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

(OP)
Hello everyone,

I really appreciate all the helpful replies, they really helped me a lot!
First, I apologize for making a "student" post, because frankly there aren't many engineers in where I live. Apologies..

I see that engineers nowadays have lots of competitions going on, so-so salaries, but honestly, yes, I do love engineering. I am the type of guy who doesn't get fascinated by those "magical" looking things easily, because I'm sure there are logical and scientific explanations about them. So I rarely get fascinated by the magical looking things, but I do admire the people that created the magical looking things.

Just like how the Discovery Science commercial breaks would say..
It's not about what, who, when,why,where..
it's all about "HOW"

That statement has always been in my mind.

Instead of just being amazed by the technologies we see like other people,
I always want to know how the things work themselves. Innovative technologies make me want to create my own technology, a technology that would change the world in a positive way.

to KENAT : I am good in Maths and Science, and Physics has always been my favorite subject in Science classes. Last semester I got a 3.3 GPA (89 converted to GPA scale), now I am aiming for 3.7. So yeah, I guess I am one of the guys that have good grades in Maths and Science, plus have high interest on engineering.

and about being blamed or disappointed if I mess things up one day, thats fine by me, because people learn from mistakes. I'll just do my best, and keep improving myself.

about social life, you guys are right. I've seen many engineers that spend most of their time in the office, or lab. But I'll try my best to keep my social life going. Just gotta be more open to the outside world.

Thank you so much everyone! Your answers have helped me A LOT!

Much Appreciation.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Engineers will always be needed. Not always true of a history major or musician. Not saying those are bad choinces, but in general, not always needed.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

What profession would you want to be on a deserted planet? Think you'd be way better off with farmer than with engineer- unless you want to live off the leftovers of the previous civilization.

RE: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat in Engineering

Quote (Enginerd9)


John R Baker: perhaps it's rotational inertia. The missing windows are near people's heads. The spinning blades of the turbine, should they come loose and get flung radially outward, could cause someone to have a very bad headache.

That was EXACTLY the point I was trying to make (go back to my replies on 21 Jan 14 19:45 and 22 Jan 14 12:08).

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

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