More than mere engineers

We have entered a new era that is changing the role of the engineer on the job and the engineer’s relationship to society. To be successful in the new era of engineering we are going to need to be more than mere engineers. That will be true whether we are a student, a fresh graduate or a senior engineer. The inmediate changes are:

- Eco-responsiblity: Core design specifications will soon require to minimize environmental impact and carbon footprint.
- Information Technologies (IT): Many new software projects may consider using open source software. The Internet also broadens the scale of engineering collaboration. We now have instant access to the thoughts, insights, and feedback of other engineers.
Numerical methods will be unified: finite difference & finite element methods and solid & fluid mechanics. Also the differences between civil, mechanical, computational engineering and physics will fade.
- Communication: The impact as an engineer will increasingly depend on the ability to communicate, collaborate, and participate across the organizations and communities, not just within the engineering department. It is our duty to make the effort to have a continuous dialog with the shareholders of our projects.
- Business skills: Engineering increasingly requires more direct involvement with every aspect of business, including finance, sales and marketing, channels, customer support, and competitive analysis. For example, the most common undergraduate degree for CEOs of Fortune 500 companies is not marketing, sales or finance—it’s engineering, with 20% of all CEOs being engineers; and the richest man in the world -Carlos Slim- got a degree in civil engineering.
- Political action: Engineers are beginning to realize how important it can be to educate and influence those who make public policy decisions (nuclear energy, floods, climate change, data security, etc...) about technology.

Society keeps changing, so society’s needs are changing and enginering should change as well.