Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why I decided to become an Engineer, or Why do I do what I do

When I was going to school, I would ask other students occasionally why they chose Engineering. Often times the answer was "My father or mother is an engineer, so that's why I decided to be an engineer". Occasionally, I would get a "I liked to take things apart so I figured ...>Engineer". Rarely I would get a "I don't know, someone said I should be".

While there is no right or wrong answer, doing it just because someone told you to just doesn't seem quite right. Doing it because you look up to someone is a pretty cool way to get into it, although without that curious nature I think you're pretty limited. I'm sure there are tons of awesome engineers who are engineers just because someone they looked up to is an engineer. And I'm sure people look up to them even now (which is pretty cool). If I were to pick a reason someone should become an Engineer I would have to go with the second choice personally. If you have a curious nature and like to look at how things work, thats headed in the right direction for what I think makes a Rockstar Engineer.

But this post is about why I decided to become an engineer, so I'll tell you (by the way, if you are an engineer, or well anything, tell me about what made you decide that career choice!). Way back when, I moved to Albuquerque to work on Flight Simulators for Lockheed Martin, it was a pretty cool job, but I was hired as a Tech, and thus was supposed to do "tech" stuff. This meant only hardware, even if I looked at the software and found a problem I wasn't allowed to fix it. A "degreed" engineer was supposed to fix it. I really loved how you could control something physical with software (re: I/O and robots, and lots of embedded stuff). I decided going back to school was the only way I would get to play with that stuff professionally. Back I went.

A number of years later (working full time and occasional semesters of full time) I managed to get my Computer Engineering degree from UNM. Just having that piece of paper opens a lot more doors I think. However, if you don't have a curious nature and want to learn more and more. You'll start running into more and more doors closing as time goes on. Just having a piece of paper might get you to an open door and talking to someone (especially in the early days of your degree), but if you're not constantly bettering yourself, and pushing yourself to learn more, you'll find you're falling behind.

Why do you do what you do?

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