I saw the need for a whole generation of engineers to see engineering in a new way, acquire new skills and greatly improve their performance and career prospects, even to understand why they are so important and critical for the future of people everywhere, even the planet.
So many engineers, when I approached them for interviews, told me “I hardly do any real engineering, these days. Why are you talking to me?” Part of the reason for this book is to help engineers understand that all that other stuff that they do, that they think is not real engineering, is real engineering as well. The other stuff is all bout technical collaboration, and that usually takes much more time than the “real engineering” bits like technical problem solving, design and calculations. It’s just that they don’t have words to describe it: they need a new language. The book provides that.
Most of all, I think the profession as a whole needs to recognise that there is such a thing as “engineering practice” that involves special knowledge that has to be learned and passed on from one generation to the next. This used to happen by chance: some engineers learned it and others gave up in frustration. We can’t afford to let it happen by chance in future.
I wanted to understand what distinguishes truly expert engineers, people recognised by their peers as outstanding. This book presents some of that understanding, as best as I can represent it, in a way that young engineers can become an expert much more quickly. We know now that anyone with enough determination can become an expert in any field they want to. This book will help anyone who wants to become an expert engineer.
Finally, it is critical that engineers be able to explain more clearly why what they do is valuable for everybody. That understanding seems to have been lost at every level of the profession. This book provides some answers.