This being the second edition, I haven’t gotten much feedback on the format yet, so I plan on going the course and assuming that at least I’m giving myself an outlet. In that vein, I have selected a topic that builds off of the last one to provide continuity. As previously discussed, if others have ideas, I’m glad to listen and incorporate the topic as appropriate.
Time for reflection. Since the last newsletter, technically I’ve been in business for a month, but realistically, it’s my down time and I’ve been realistically in business for about a week. There’s no actual progress to report, but some hopeful motions have been made, and I’m starting to get used to the concept of working for myself. I’m already not sure I could ever go back to a 9-5 style job at this point. Going back to the skydiving analogy (you’ll have to read the last newsletter to be in the know) at this point the pilot chute has opened. My path is stabilizing, and there’s every indication that the main chute will deploy, but when, how fast, and the condition of the main canopy is unknown.
So on to the good stuff!
The subject is really a follow-up on the last subject of being an engineer. We’ve all heard of the Scientific Method, and in many ways, it’s used to define what a scientist does. As previously discussed, coming across the definition of what an engineer does is much more complex. So how can there be an analogous process for an engineer?
“Analogous” may be a little too extreme. We require more “flexibility” than a scientist in approach, as our end goals are often squishy, so it’s never really clear when we’re “done”. Let’s start with the scientific method as defined by Merriam-Webster:
principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses
Perhaps we need to break it down a little more systematically. I’m sure we’ve all seen some version of this in high school science.
Of course the example is in jest, but in all reality, it’s a very sound system for gaining core knowledge. And it is incredibly important that someone do this work so we can understand the world around us. But it’s not the job of engineers. Engineers need to let the scientists do their work and understand the successes and failures of their experiments so they can extrapolate the experience into other areas. Engineers are “reprocessors” of scientific knowledge, not creators of it.
So how do we modify that for engineering? It’s surprisingly similar:
Now, this is just my interpretation of the process, and it is far from set in stone. Every time I revisit this subject, I change my mind a little bit. This could almost be a yearly segment and look different every time. But much like the engineering method in general, I will continue to iterate it until I run out of resources, but since those resources are at my disposal, they will not be exhausted until I stop thinking, which hopefully is very far in the future.
This particular word jumble is credited to something I wrote eight years ago sitting on a plane in a notebook on my way to a power plant. I just recently unearthed this “gem” which goes to show I’ve always had a penchant for making up sayings (thought I didn’t know it at the time). I also found a poem in the same notebook about the trials and tribulations of flying. I will not bore you with that (unless someone asks).
You can have your cake and eat it too, as long as you’re willing to learn how to bake and put in the effort.