Engineering is a gnarly profession

People don’t understand what engineers do.  Say “engineer” and a layperson thinks:

  • Nerds
  • Nerds with pocket protectors (I haven’t worn mine in years!)
  • Nerds with pocket protectors and electrical tape holding their eyeglasses together (… decades!)

Sophisticated laypersons think “Dilbert!” while feigning their understanding of the humor.

My pastor has dropped a few hints that he thinks of engineers as head-down, straight-line, boxes-and-arrows, divide-and-conquer, by the numbers, by the book folks, about as far from the intuitive, creative, holistic, expressive class as you can get.

He’s wrong!  Engineering is a gnarly profession.  Great engineers wade through the amazingly complex interactions of the natural world, package this science into useful technologies, match these technologies to ill-defined and unruly problems and create a new layer of interactions to explore with every decision they make.  They keep track of the whole while they are inventing or wiring together the parts.  They do all this in the face of lots of uncertainty and “I need it now”, “It costs what?” and “I changed my mind” pressures, while patiently explaining their rationale to folks who gave up on math at fractions and long division.

If you can read this, THANK AN ENGINEER!  Or one of those software geeks!  🙂

The Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) is an enabler for engineers to keep track of the whole while inventing or connecting together the parts. Start your free trial of DDSF by contacting the Decision Driven® Solutions team at or

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
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