Roymech engineering encyclopedia

Roymech Engineering Encyclopedia

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What is an Engineer...?

There are many definitions of what is an engineer, but too many people nowadays claim to be one!

Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are professionals who invent, design, analyze, build and test machines, complex systems, structures and materials to fulfill functional objectives and requirements while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety and cost.

British school children in the 1950s were brought up with stirring tales of "the Victorian Engineers", chief among whom were Brunel, Stephenson, Telford, and their contemporaries. In the UK, "engineering" has more recently been erroneously styled as an industrial sector consisting of employers and employees loosely termed "engineers" who include tradespeople. However, knowledgeable practitioners reserve the term "engineer" to describe a university-educated professional of ingenuity represented by the Chartered (or Incorporated) Engineer qualifications (although i do not believe that you need a degree to be an Engineer, like my Dad, a Tool Maker, a brilliant Engineer). A large proportion of the UK public incorrectly thinks of "engineers" as skilled tradespeople or even semi-skilled tradespeople with a high school education. Also, many UK skilled and semi-skilled tradespeople falsely style themselves as "engineers". This has created confusion in the eyes of some members of the public in understanding what professional engineers actually do, from fixing car engines, television sets and refrigerators (technicians, handymen) to designing and managing the development of aircraft, spacecraft, power stations, infrastructure and other complex technological systems (engineers).