a Nobel Prize. But most of the letters were from American engineers who expressed their frustration that U.S. society no longer seems to them to value the study or practice of engineering and the hard sciences.
Readers questioned the sincerity of business leaders' hand-wringing over U.S. engineering skills and training; they said corporate America devalues engineers and doesn't pay them enough to encourage students to pursue these professions. But the heart of the problem, many say, is our culture, which prizes pop celebrities more than people who make contributions to society in less glamorous ways. The readers I heard from think interest in the sciences and engineering won't be revived any time soon. Frankly, I hope they're wrong. Many seem to be implying that the U.S. is exhibiting the classic overconfidence and self-indulgence of a declining empire. Here are
I think engineering is a great field of study. You learn how things actually work and get to make things that are useful.
So what if engineers aren't cool, they are bridges, and bridges while generally not cool are vitally important.
Engineers bridge the gap between scientists and consumers. Scientists ask "how does this work? and delve deep into the fountain of knowledge. Consumers ask "how does this make my life better?" Engineers ask "there's got to be a better way?"
I would highly recommend engineering as a course of study but, and this is a pretty big but, I would not set my job goal to be getting a corporate job.
Big Corporations just want cogs. Colleges even with their general education requirements still overspecialize their students. You need to take over your own education and go where the action is.
I would set my sights on creating my own business. Edison, Ford, Tesla, Gates, Jobs, Grove, Dell all made their money after starting their own businesses. The companies they were working for didn't want to try out their new ideas. Think about that.
If I was starting out in engineering school again, I would take more courses in world history and courses in entrepreneurship, management, marketing and accounting. These are different skills from engineering but not nearly as hard to learn. Accounting is easy after multivariate calculus.
I would network far more then I did. I would get to know as many people in the school, not just the college as possible. I would even set up a database to help me keep track of them all and then keep in touch with as many of them as possible. It's the people stupid.
Corporations want the customer to pay as much as possible and to pay their engineers, the whole staff really, as little as possible. Bypass all that and get paid by the customers. Is it easy, no. But it's better then the alternative.
So go ahead become an engineer, but become your own engineer not someone else's. Be like Edison, Ford, or Gates and disembowel your competition by creating something new that they can't deal with.