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Engineering in Society: Why Engineers are Important in the Modern World
Engineers are curious-minded people focused on solving problems and finding solutions to the world’s most complex challenges. Furthermore, we owe most of today’s technological advancements and comforts to the ingenuity of engineers.
Not to mention that they made things more fun for themselves as well. A career in engineering is a lot more fun today than it used to be 50 years ago. With today’s available materials and technology, engineers are free to work on complex issues such as disaster recovery, poverty, overcrowding of cities, and more.
So, if you’re still wondering why we need engineers in a world where the technology is already advanced enough to start thinking for itself, we have a few thoughts that may tickle your mind.
If nothing else, engineers are a fantastic example of why we should never stop learning. These people are curious by nature, but if they want to stay at the top of their game, they must be always a few steps ahead.
And, with new devices and systems popping up all over the world, it takes a special dedication to continuous learning and skill-sharpening. For instance, just to become a Professional Engineer, in the field they chose, one needs to invest extra effort in study and practice (like attending a PE review course).
As a PE, you prove your commitment to high ethical standards and your knowledge level, which opens new doors for your career. This is why many engineers are quick to take the PE exam as soon as they leave academia. It’s a way to further your career and become more trustworthy to companies and people who may have interesting projects to offer.
In summary, when it comes to learning, engineers are the role model to follow. If we stay curious and open our minds to new information and possibilities, we have the chance to make the world a better place.
Protecting the Environment
Currently, we are facing one of the biggest challenges of modern times: climate change. Our way of living is under threat from Mother Nature, and it’s partially our fault. The accelerated development of human civilization in the last couple hundred years added to the natural changes of the climate and is slowly but surely making the world uninhabitable.
Sadly, current political and economical interests don’t allow room for change, but environmental and energy engineers have the tools to fight for everyone’s rights.
The field of energy development is currently working hard at creating ecologically friendly energy sources that can replace the ones based on fuel and carbon. In addition, engineers also try to create new technologies that detect high-levels of pollution and convey the information to decision-makers.
This led to the creation of non-polluting energy sources such as alternative fuels based on hydrogen, fuel cells, and others. Even more, we now have several reliable air, soil, and groundwater restoration systems that may convey results in the future.
In addition, there are entire teams dedicated to identifying and eliminating pathogens that can be found in the soil and drinking water of developing nations. These pathogens can cause serious illnesses that may have the capacity to decimate entire populations.
In summary, we desperately need engineers interested in solving problems that affect the environment. If they manage to tackle the problem of pollution in the air, soil, and groundwater, human civilization can improve and continue to develop without conflict or violence.
Access to Advanced Communication Systems
Even though most western civilization is heavily connected to the Internet (who hasn’t got a phone, a laptop, and a Smart TV these days?), there are still large areas of the world where access is limited or non-existent.
This means large masses of people don’t have access to life-altering technologies that could help them get better jobs and improve their living conditions. It also means that health professionals, scientists, and decision-makers don’t have access to the latest discoveries in their fields, which hinders the overall development of the nation.
To make things worse, some leaders of developed countries take advantage of the situation and push complex problems such as recycling dangerous materials or massive deforestation (to name a few) onto the shoulders of impoverished nations.
As the gap in access to the Internet is starting to close (thanks to ingenious engineers), these situations are easier to identify and bring under the public eye. And, with solutions like the Starling network developed by SpaceX, there is a chance that everyone will be connected in the near future.
However, without the work of dedicated professional engineers, the Starlink network of satellites wouldn’t have been possible (even though they are prone to ruin stargazing for everyone).
Better Food for Everyone
While it’s hard to believe (from a westerner’s point of view), 1 in 9 people doesn’t get enough to eat. And, according to the 2019 World Hunger Map, there are many areas that battle with the problem of limited access to quality food.
There are many reasons for this lack of food (low soil fertility, overpopulation, primitive farming methods, no clean water supplies, and so on) but engineering innovations can help improve the situation.
Engineers in various fields are the ones who managed to develop crops, fruits, and vegetables that grow even in less fertile areas and are more resistant to diseases and other attackers. Even more, engineers also helped create solutions for reducing the use of pesticides without affecting the quantity of food produced. They also helped develop machines used in farming and harvesting.
In addition, as the population increases, we will need to find ways to produce more food without having access to more land. This means new equipment using eco-friendly energy sources that won’t drain the environmental resources.
In the end, it’s important to understand that our world was built with the hard work of engineers. Of course, many of today’s discoveries, treatments, and processing methodologies are administered and used by other types of specialists. But they couldn’t be doing their jobs without the machines and technologies that engineers developed.
And we are not done! We have more problems to solve and new challenges to discover. So yes, the modern world couldn’t live or continue to develop without the curiosity and ingeniosity of engineers!
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes