What is an Engineer?

What is an engineer?
There are many different types of “Engineer” – Mechanical Engineer, Lead Engineer, Project Engineer, Quality Engineer, Vehicle Engineer, Washing Machine Engineer, Glass Hygiene Engineer……….. I didn’t make the last one up by the way, it was a genuine job advert. For a window cleaner.

And what does an engineer do?
I’ve heard this answered in a number of ways – fix things, cost the project money, prove things can’t be done, cause problems, annoy people, save the project…….

But what makes an engineer? Do you need to have a degree or some sort of “engineering” qualification? Do you need to have a certain amount of experience? It’s a very difficult question.

I used to think that to be an engineer you must have a degree. You must have gone through that pain in 2nd and 3rd year of Uni of engineering maths. Laplace transforms, partial differentiation, integration. If you haven’t gone through that pain then you aren’t an engineer! It wound be up that people who hadn’t gone through this had engineer in their job title.

However, I think differently now. Being an engineer, in my opinion, is a way of thinking, an approach to problem solving. The best engineers, in whatever line of work they are in, take a methodical, measured approach to problem solving. It’s not a qualification, it’s a mind set. A style of working rather than passing an exam. You know deep down whether you are a real engineer or not. If people don’t perceive you as an engineer, then you are probably not one.

So as long as that Window Cleaner tackles the windows in a structured manner, and approaches problematic windows in a methodical way, then I’m happy to call him a Glass Hygiene Engineer!

Let me know your thoughts, or get in touch to hear how Alan Kelly Projects can assist your project by applying an engineering mindset to your problem.