Engineering

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Articles on Engineering:
   Major in Engineering
   A future in Engineering
   Engineering Major...A Closer Look
   Explore a Major in Engineering
   Engineering! Wait…What Is That Exactly?

Major in Engineering

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“If you are God, your work is to create out of nothing. If you are not God, but like God—that is, if you are human—your work is to take what God has made and shape and use it to make him look great.” ~John Piper

Advances in engineering are happening every day. Imagine the mass production of cell-sized robots. Contemplate a newly discovered bionic mushroom that generates electricity. Or try to conceive of a recently developed window coating made to save consumers millions in air conditioning expense. These headlines surround us and stem from the complex discipline known as engineering. Part empirical evidence, part innovation, engineering is the creative and artful application of science and math to solve problems common to humanity. Engineering, as a major, is fascinated with the design, building, testing, maintaining and operation of engines, machines, structures and materials. An engineering major constantly asks the question “how does it work?” and jumps quickly to the question “how can it be improved?” Engineering majors are excited about connecting scientific discoveries to practical applications.

In addition to having a strong “math mind,” an engineering major frequently shows a natural curiosity about the world and possess an attentive eye for detail.  Often, they are the individuals who enjoy “tinkering” in the lab, garage or shop. They are strong problem-solvers whose logical reasoning and keen technical skills enable them to solve real life problems. Other necessary traits of an engineering major include good communication skills and the ability to collaborate and work as part of a team. It is also helpful to have a persevering, adaptable attitude and to possess strong leadership skills.

The classes you will take as an engineering major totally depend upon what specialization you choose. There are several overarching branches of engineering and literally hundreds of subcategories, making it a diverse educational area. In general, an engineering major can expect to take plenty of upper level science and math including several semesters of calculus. Other classes in this rigorous major may include:

  • Differential Equations
  • Probability
  • Statistics
  • Data Analysis
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science and/or Computer Programming

Finding your exact area of engineering interest may be challenging and require some investigation and trial and error learning. Are you wired for biomedical or biotechnological engineering? What is the difference between astronautical or aeronautical engineering? How is environmental engineering unique from geotechnical engineering? Are you more drawn to automotive or robotics engineering? There is obviously an expansive range of careers that fall under the central umbrella of engineering. Understanding some of the general subcategories is a helpful place to start:

  • Civil Engineers are the structure experts who focus on dams, bridges, stadiums and buildings of all kinds
  • Chemical Engineers create functional substances and products out of raw materials.
  • Electrical Engineers work with electrical systems like generators, engines and pylons.
  • Mechanical Engineers deal with machines, tools and apparatus that use heat and mechanical power, including vehicles and engines.
  • Industrial Engineers focus on solving problems within a business setting (factory or otherwise) and are interested in processes and systems running smoothly.

If God has given you a resourceful, problem-solving mind, drawn to anything from rollercoaster design to construction trends to the creation of health-monitoring biosensors then maybe His intention is that you pursue a major in engineering. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)