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Old Apr 18, 2013, 11:55 AM   #26
balamw
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The essence of being an engineer, in my experience, is (1) identifying the problem, which in and of itself is usually half or more of the battle, and (2) coming up with the best solution to the problem.
See, there's your problem.

The way I describe the second aspect engineering you mention above is to come up with a solution that is just barely good enough to solve the problem. (With margin of course).



(Of course that depends on how you define "best". Sometimes the "best" solution has the cheapest recurring cost, sometimes it's the lowest NRE, sometimes, it's time to availability and sometimes, but not usually, it's the one that has the ultimate performance.)

B
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 12:36 PM   #27
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(Of course that depends on how you define "best". Sometimes the "best" solution has the cheapest recurring cost, sometimes it's the lowest NRE, sometimes, it's time to availability and sometimes, but not usually, it's the one that has the ultimate performance.)

B
I'm an EE, and my boss would always like to tell clients "you can have it cheap, you can have it small, you can have it quickly. Pick two, because you can't have all three."

Back to the original topic, even if you don't use all of the advanced math you've learned on a daily basis (and this varies wildly based on discipline, specific job, etc.), that math is the base upon which everything else stands. If you don't understand the math, you won't understand the engineering concepts later.
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 12:44 PM   #28
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I'm a mechanical engineer. I don't use calculus in my job, but I use dozens of equations that were derived by using higher-level math like calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, etc. Knowing how these equations were derived helps you understand what's going on in the problem you're solving. Without understanding, you're not really an engineer; more of a test-taker.

If calculus and complex algebra are eating your lunch, you should know that in your engineering studies those are like learning your ABC's - the real "meat" of the math you'll learn goes well beyond those classes.

The essence of being an engineer, in my experience, is (1) identifying the problem, which in and of itself is usually half or more of the battle, and (2) coming up with the best solution to the problem.



How is engineering "competitive?" I've been doing it for years, I'm really good at it, and I've never won any trophies or medals.
I mean it's a competitive job market.
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 01:07 PM   #29
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An engineering degree requires a lot of math, but depending on what field you enter, you may or may not use a whole lot of complex math. I'm not an engineer, but I work in an A/E (Architectural/Engineering) department.

I certainly don't want to knock what the EE's and ME's do, but all of the complex maths have already been figured out. Their design mainly consists of the application of tabulated knowledge (based on complex math) with respect to building codes.

For instance a 10x8 duct can only carry so many cfm of air. You can only have a certain number of electrical outlets on a 2-conductor, 12ga copper/ 20A circuit. Thermodynamics, calculus and other complex calculations go into creating reference material, but no engineer has to calculate this anymore, they just look it up.

An mechanical engineer still has to calculate the total volume of air for a given space and an electrical engineer still has to calculate total loads, but most of the day-to-day calculations they perform aren't difficult.

The real work they do doesn't come from the cookie-cutter stuff, but from when stuff doesn't work right and ideas have to be reworked to solve problems.
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 01:15 PM   #30
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Do you use a lot of complex math (not necessarily complex numbers) like high levels of calculus or logic? All the stuff that's taught in college, some of which I hear is used by some professions, others - just a waste of time, effort, and $. My math skills aren't the sharpest and I still have no idea what I want to do yet, but I'd like to do some form of engineering. I haven't touched calculus yet nor am I really on track for it. Anything is appreciated.
Well calculus is a cornerstone for engineering. In fact, pretty much every engineering class is a different application of physics and calculus
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 02:00 PM   #31
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The real work they do doesn't come from the cookie-cutter stuff, but from when stuff doesn't work right and ideas have to be reworked to solve problems.
This is a key bit of information. It is usually where the fun is too (at least for me in analogous situations in my field).
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 02:42 PM   #32
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It pays well, it's challenging, and it's competitive
It doesn't pay that well. Personally I think engineering is an undervalued profession, especially here in the US.

Math usage varies among specialization and companies. I'm an electrical engineer specializing in power, which is full of complex numbers and calculus but most calculations are done for you via simulations or software or institutionally embedded via design standards. The most I ever really have to calculate is an equipment rating. But you have to have a working knowledge of math models applied to what you're designing. I might not have to calculate an inductive kick voltage but I have to understand it or I might end up destroying equipment.

Keyword IMO is models. Technical engineers really don't care about math as much as how math can be used to describe real world phenomena. On that note, so do I-bankers but they get paid 10 x more.
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 04:35 PM   #33
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I mean it's a competitive job market.
What exactly do you mean by this? That it's hard for engineers to find jobs? Because if that's your thinking, you couldn't be more wrong. Besides, why on Earth would you use THAT as a reason to enter a career field?

Employers can't find enough qualified engineers to fill the jobs they have. Lately I'm averaging about nine or ten calls a week from recruiters.

Now if you mean it's a competitive labor market from the employer's perspective, I might agree with you.
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 08:48 PM   #34
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It doesn't pay that well. Personally I think engineering is an undervalued profession, especially here in the US.

Math usage varies among specialization and companies. I'm an electrical engineer specializing in power, which is full of complex numbers and calculus but most calculations are done for you via simulations or software or institutionally embedded via design standards. The most I ever really have to calculate is an equipment rating. But you have to have a working knowledge of math models applied to what you're designing. I might not have to calculate an inductive kick voltage but I have to understand it or I might end up destroying equipment.

Keyword IMO is models. Technical engineers really don't care about math as much as how math can be used to describe real world phenomena. On that note, so do I-bankers but they get paid 10 x more.
That's a lot of math... My cousin is an investment banker. Difficult major too.

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What exactly do you mean by this? That it's hard for engineers to find jobs? Because if that's your thinking, you couldn't be more wrong. Besides, why on Earth would you use THAT as a reason to enter a career field?

Employers can't find enough qualified engineers to fill the jobs they have. Lately I'm averaging about nine or ten calls a week from recruiters.

Now if you mean it's a competitive labor market from the employer's perspective, I might agree with you.
That (bold).
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 09:08 PM   #35
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That's a lot of math... My cousin is an investment banker. Difficult major too.
I knew they taught phlebotomy, but I didn't realize you could major in it.
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 09:10 PM   #36
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I knew they taught phlebotomy, but I didn't realize you could major in it.
Finance?
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 09:14 PM   #37
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Finance?
I guess you don't always get my humor.
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Old Apr 19, 2013, 04:50 AM   #38
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Do you use a lot of complex math (not necessarily complex numbers) like high levels of calculus or logic? All the stuff that's taught in college, some of which I hear is used by some professions, others - just a waste of time, effort, and $. My math skills aren't the sharpest and I still have no idea what I want to do yet, but I'd like to do some form of engineering. I haven't touched calculus yet nor am I really on track for it. Anything is appreciated.
yes. good understanding of calculus is imperative to succeed in engineering (and also complex numbers...). you can't avoid it if this is what you want to do with your life.
i can comfort you that 99% of the time, your use of calculus will be realistic (if that's the word). meaning, even in college or university you will use it to really calculate stuff rather than proving statements and the likes (you won't be asked to prove Guass's theorem, but you will have to know how to use it, practically).

be aware, however, that this does not mean you can skip on understanding the "why" and "for what" that are behind calculus, as there are some things (read: tools) you will have to use certain proofs before you can use them, and more often than so, putting the effort in proving something that enables you to use a certain theorem can be a real life saver.
for example, you can use Green's theorem to simplify certain calculations, but first you need to prove that whatever it is "qualifies" the use of said theorem.
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Old May 6, 2013, 09:50 PM   #39
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Math is required but not a essential, you can be good at other aspect, go for software engineer, that's the best job according Forbes http://www.forbes.com/pictures/efkk4...ware-engineer/
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Old May 7, 2013, 08:31 AM   #40
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I rarely have to use math as a comp science engineer.

We have people with phd's that supply all the brains of the outfit.

They usually provide us with the equations and we just code them up.
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Old May 7, 2013, 12:01 PM   #41
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I rarely have to use math as a comp science engineer.

We have people with phd's that supply all the brains of the outfit.

They usually provide us with the equations and we just code them up.
I'm not sure being a coder (specifically coding someone else's design) is really engineering.
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Old May 7, 2013, 12:31 PM   #42
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I'm not sure being a coder (specifically coding someone else's design) is really engineering.
Then you don't know what a software engineer does.

You don't 'code someone else's design.'

For instance, say I have to model something like an F-18 in a simulated combat environment. I don't know the physics involved in the effects of altitude, speed, heat, blah blah blah that these sub systems encounter.

I design the architecture and implement my design.

I just use the equations that the phd guys provide me.
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Old May 7, 2013, 12:58 PM   #43
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For instance, say I have to model something like an F-18 in a simulated combat environment. I don't know the physics involved in the effects of altitude, speed, heat, blah blah blah that these sub systems encounter.

I design the architecture and implement my design.

I just use the equations that the phd guys provide me.
This is exactly what I'm talking about. I'm aware of the differences between designers and engineers, and that's what my comment was addressing.
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Old May 7, 2013, 01:08 PM   #44
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This is exactly what I'm talking about. I'm aware of the differences between designers and engineers, and that's what my comment was addressing.
No. I don't think you're aware of what software engineers do.
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Old May 7, 2013, 01:13 PM   #45
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Then you don't know what a software engineer does.

You don't 'code someone else's design.'

For instance, say I have to model something like an F-18 in a simulated combat environment. I don't know the physics involved in the effects of altitude, speed, heat, blah blah blah that these sub systems encounter.

I design the architecture and implement my design.

I just use the equations that the phd guys provide me.
You should. Engineers need to know those variables to design and implement accordingly.

When it comes to the design of a fighter jet, every system has been engineered to meet certain stresses,fluid analysis, vibrations, whatever. If you have no part in that role and merely make a CAD model, that is not engineering imo.
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Old May 7, 2013, 01:21 PM   #46
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You should. Engineers need to know those variables to design and implement accordingly.

If you are just making CAD models, then that is not engineering.
CAD models?

Not sure what CAD models have to do with anything.

Software Engineers don't need to know any variables or equations to program.
(**edited to say - it doesn't mean that we don't have a math background)

I work on a project that simulates a combat environment and allows the USAF, USN, Marines, and a few foreign services to train in tactics that involve electronic warfare principles.

There are SMES (subject matter experts) that give us equations to simulate effects of jamming and counter jamming. There are aerospace guys that give us equations that show us how to model how different sub systems behave under jamming.

I don't have to come up with the equations myself. I do, however, have to code up the environment and implement the models in the real-time simulations.

I think you're confused on what software engineers actually do.

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When it comes to the design of a fighter jet, every system has been engineered to meet certain stresses,fluid analysis, vibrations, whatever. If you have no part in that role and merely make a CAD model, that is not engineering imo.
You don't understand what a software engineer does.
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Old May 7, 2013, 01:25 PM   #47
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Care to elaborate then? When you say model a F18, I think of well modeling an F18 and that requires in most, if not all cases, CAD and then FEA and whatnot built upon preliminary analysis

I guess my question to you is, where does the engineering take place? What analysis do you run on your own?

What you describes sounds like a coding project that does not involve engineering. Can you explain the difference between a software engineer and a coder in your work you described?
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Old May 7, 2013, 01:31 PM   #48
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Care to elaborate then? When you say model a F18, I think of well modeling an F18 and that requires in most, if not all cases, CAD
Sorry.

Using programmer speak (at least how we speak locally).

When I say model a subsystem I'm talking about creating a model (working representation) in a simulated environment.

I have to program that model to behave how a pilot would expect it to behave.

We provide the 'stimulation' of the various sensors etc that military trainers use. By passing data to the trainers e.g. stimulating various instrumentation that a pilot uses they can train in jamming and counter jamming techniques.

Small sample of what I do.
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