What I Wish People Knew About Engineers

Coming up, I’m starting a new, six-part series about what I wish people knew about engineers. This is inspired by assumptions I’ve encountered at conventions, committees, church, and anywhere else I’ve spent time interacting with non-engineers; there are a plethora of times I’d love to sit people down to a nice half-hour conversation on why I can’t just pull a solution or assessment out of thin air or meet the newest expectations.

I want to start off by saying that everyone’s experiences are different–and I’d love to hear your comparison and thoughts in comments. This is my list of slowly-accruing pet peeves, and while it’s imperfect, I’m hope it will help non-engineers understand us a little better.

What I wish people knew about engineers:

  1. We can be distinct from scientists.
  2. We are not omniscient.
  3. We are invisibly vital to society.
  4. We have social skills, and we party, too! (Most of us.)
  5. We are not necessarily math whizzes.
  6. Math is a language–and it has dialects we don’t all speak.

Coming up first (soon after my lab coat arrives): the difference between engineers and scientists.