February 19-24 is National Engineers Week, and it’s a great time to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world. This unique, week-long event helps increase public dialogue about the need for engineers and bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents.
As the world is in the midst of another industrial revolution, the demand for engineers is consistently increasing.
The world is made up of hardware. Smartphones. Planes. Cars. TVs. Laptops. Tablets. Switches. Routers. Scanners. Drones. 3-D printers. Robots. Manufacturing equipment. Someone needs to design these things, someone needs to build these machines. Someone needs to figure out the circuitry, the storage, the wiring, the plastic, the glass, the packaging, the portability and how the data gets in and how the data gets out. This is what engineers do. They build hardware. They build every single device we use, from remote controls to bullet trains.
The world is made up of software. What runs on all the devices engineers have designed and created? Software. Things are no longer inanimate. They have life, they think, they move, they detect. These devices respond to our requests and do our bidding. They go higher into the sky and dive deeper into the ocean. They talk to each other, they avoid other things, and they learn. Every bit of hardware needs software to tell it what to do. Who designs and develops this software? Engineers.
The world is getting older. Within the next two decades, more than 20% of our population will be over retirement age. U.S. life expectancy at birth was 39 years in 1900, 49 years in 1900, 68 years in 1950 and 79 years today. These people will need care. They will need pharmaceuticals. They will need new body parts. They will need machines to help their hearts beat and their lungs breathe. They will need assistance walking and eating. Engineers will make these things.
The world is getting bigger. Today the world’s population is 7.1 billion people. In the next 30 years, the population is expected to increase to 9.6 billion. The population of the United States will rise to 438 million in 2050, from 318 million in 2014. More people will require more roads, more bridges, more tunnels, better transportation systems, higher buildings, comfortable homes, safer cars, faster planes, and better infrastructure. Engineers will also make these things.
The world is getting more competitive. Worldwide deaths from battle have plunged from 300 per 100,000 people during World War II to fewer than one in the 21st century. Most countries have realized the benefit of peace. So they’re investing in education. They’re building better products, and they’re searching for smart people, like engineers, to help them do this. Unfortunately, war is never out of the question. So the world’s largest militaries continue to invest in weapons, ships, planes and tanks to defend their people and keep peace through strength. Their armies look for engineers to help make these weapons and build their camps. Hopefully, these engineers will never have to put their minds to the task of killing others. But their services are valuable to the people they protect.
Finally, the world needs more entrepreneurs. Being an engineer means you’re technical. But if you’ve got other skills, like analytical, marketing, communications, sales, finance or legal you can build off your engineering background to run companies, motivate teams, educate groups and lead the effort to innovate and make the world a better place. Look around at the CEO’s of our most exciting new startups, the investors in our greatest companies, the partners of our smartest law firms, the business owners who make up the backbone of our country’s economy and you’ll find engineers who have the ability to manage other technical people because they are technical themselves.
Article originally published by Gene Marks for Huffington Post
How To Get Involved
The National Society of Professional Engineers initiated Engineers Week in 1951, and the engineering community has since celebrated the profession through a combination of local and national programs. DiscoverE encourages the engineering community to get involved by helping kids and adults discover engineering by visiting a classroom or after-school group or by bringing students to your workplace. The engineering community is also encouraged to celebrate the engineering profession and spreading the word about National Engineers Week by talking to your friends and colleagues or by posting to social media.