Where is engineering going?

After reading eng-tip fora with attention I can summarise three major conclusions about contemporary engineering:

  • Use and abuse of computers
Twenty years ago, most problems were broken down into small problems that could be solved using simple formulas. Nowadays we totally depend on computerized solutions. While this gives you a global vision of the system, it usually divorces the engineer from the solution process. Despite I have got an MSc in Computer Modelling, I am also a part-time student of IT engineering and I am mad about computing I must confess that because of the fast-life of consultancy projects we tend to use the software as a black box. Limitations of the model are not fully known and we end up with a fake sense of confidence.

  • Engineers became tools
Engineering has lost its reputation as a profession long ago. In a customer oriented industry, when our customers have the wrong idea about how long things will take, consultancy firms commoditize their engineers to cut down costs.

  • Young engineers reinvent the wheel
It is said that young engineers like me seem to reinvent the wheel rather than follow what was done by the old fellows of the place. That is a bit true. In the end, you get what you pay for. Decades ago engineering was a well paid job that attracted the best and brightest minds to the field. But things have changed, most of the old engineers moved to finance, business, sailing and such. The experienced and qualified engineers were displaced and only the low cost fresh graduates remained in the companies without anyone to use as a mentor.

Nobody can predict exactly where engineering is going in the next years but the best way to predict our future is to build it.