What is Engineering?

In a nutshell, engineers solve problems or recognize opportunities to develop new or better products, processes and systems.  Examples include buildings and bridges, high-tech running shoes and sports equipment, washing machines, space shuttles, ipads, computers, cell phones, DVDs, oil refineries, planes, trains and automobiles, traffic patterns, MRI's, automatic doors, packaging, fabric and textiles, nuclear power plants, environmental solution, quality control and reliability, strawberry harvesting machines, artificial organs and limbs, "lasers" (Thanks, Dr. Evil) and even those annoying but very effective high-strength bags that potato chips come in.

How Does Engineering Differ from Engineering Technology and Science? 

  • Science deals with the discovery of knowledge and the understanding of phenomena around us.
  • Engineering uses the findings of scientists to solve practical problems and develop new and better things of the future.  Engineers design and analyze products, devices and systems.
  • Engineering Technology focuses on the operation, maintenance and repair of existing engineered devices and systems.
  • Engineering and Engineering Technology sound similar, and  engineers and technologists/technicians often work together on teams. However, there are subtle but important differences.
  • A baseline engineering technology degree is a two-year Associate's of Applied Science (AAS).  This is typically earned at a community or technical college.  The mathematics required is algebra and trigonometry-based.  Applied Science can be pursued to the Bachelor's and higher levels as well.  Most credits from an AAS degree are not college transferable except to an applied science (technology) BS degree.
  • The baseline engineering degree is a four-year Bachelor's of Science degree (BS, BSE).  The math required is Calculus-based.  Engineering can also be pursued beyond the bachelor's level in graduate school (MS, PhD).  Engineering salaries are typically substantially higher than engineering technology salaries.  Potential for promotion, leadership or management is typically higher as well.
  • Either Associate of Applied Science or Bachelor of Science degrees can be accredited by ABET, but are not necessarily so.
  • Professional licensure as a Practicing Engineer is granted by each state.  It is an advanced credential for an engineer.