What is an Engineer?

What is Engineering--and how does it differ from related fields?


(4-year degree)

Engineering Technologist

(4-year degree)

Engineering Technician

(2-year degree)

"Engineering is the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of humankind."

--Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, ABET

"Engineering Technology is that part of the technological field which requires the application of scientific and engineering knowledge and methods combined with technical skills in support of engineering activities; it lies in . . . between the craftsman and engineering at the end . . . closest to the engineer."

-- An Introduction to Engineering , Oakes, et.al.

"The Engineering Technician is involved in the detailed functions of operating and maintaining equipment, the preparation of design drawings and with data collection."

-- Careers in Engineering and Technology , Beakley, et.al.

The baccalaureate degree in engineering is required for entry into industry, and the master's degree (a total of five years of college) is preferred for many types of work . Engineers tend to work in positions towards the research end of the product development spectrum as shown below. Engineering Technologists tend to work closer to the Field Service end. The technician's education typically requires two full years of collegiate-level study . Generally, this work is taken in a technical institute or community college and leads to an associate degree in technology.
Product Design
Product Development
One finds Engineers and Engineering Technologists working in positions all along the product development spectrum as shown above. However:

Engineers tend to work towards this end, and


                                                                 Technologists tend to work towards this end