Recognising the engineer

Recognising the engineerLast week’s letter from Steve Smith is ‘the sort of viewpoint that undervalues engineers’. At least that’s one opinion. Read on for more Mistakes can be costly… Who does Steve Smith think he’s kidding. If an engineer makes a mistake, dozens of people will die. Think Chernobyl, think Airbus, think of Air Traffic control systems. When we see drive-by-wire, will you drive one if it wasn’t designed or tested by a real engineer ? At the one off level, think about pacemakers, think about drug delivery systems My favourite aphorism (non-Chinese this time) What is the difference between Doctors and Engineers ? Doctors kill in ones. Steve Taylor More than a phone at risk If ever a letter highlighted the problem of the perceived role of the engineer in today’s society it must be that of Steve Smith. His analysis appears to neglect the work of engineers working in aerospace, medical electronics, the nuclear industry and many other areas when he suggests that the worst penalty for failure for an engineer’s mistake is to be left with a dysfunctional mobile phone! Phillip E. Beeson BEng. Viewpoint is very ‘naive’ Referencing Steve Smith’s letter and his comments regarding the consequences of various professions. He regarded the consequences of poor performance of doctors, architects and lawyers to be far more severe that that of engineers because ‘….an engineer makes a mistake your mobile phone might not work properly or a PCB may need a few wire links on it.’ This is an extremely naive viewpoint, as consequences are far more severe. Examples: 1) Engineers designing flight control centres. A mistake could cost dearly, if Steve Smith’s measure is in human lives. 2) Faults on control systems on petroleum plants cause explosions, again with potential human lives being lost. 3) Design of electronic medical equipment in ICU. It is this sort of viewpoint that undervalues Engineers and therefore their status. I agree with another letter from Simon Porter – STOP WHINING!! Take responsibility for your career and prospects, don’t abdicate responsibility to others. If an employer does not pay you enough, find another that will pay more and assess the risks of moving jobs, the associated job security.
Gary Friend B.Sc. C.Eng. M.I.E.E.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *