19th Century Electrical Engineer Girl Essay

The history of women in engineering predates the development of the profession of engineering. Before engineering was recognized as a formal profession, women with engineering skills often sought recognition as inventors, such as Hypatia of Alexandria (350 or 370–415 AD), who is credited with the invention of the hydrometer. In the 19th century, women who performed engineering work often had academic training in mathematics or science. Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) was privately schooled in mathematics before beginning her collaboration with Charles Babbage on his analytical engine that would earn her the designation of the "first computer programmer." Hertha Marks Ayrton (1854–1923), a British engineer and inventor studied mathematics at Cambridge in the 1880s. Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu (1887–1973) is one of the first female engineers in Europe. In the early years of the twentieth century, a few women were admitted to engineering programs, but they were generally looked upon as curiosities by their male counterparts.

Alice Perry was the first woman in Europe to graduate with a degree in engineering in 1906 from Queen's College, Galway.[1]Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu, a Romanian engineer graduated from the Technical University of Berlin in 1912.[2] The entry of the United States into World War II created a serious shortage of engineering talent as men were drafted into the armed forces. The GE on-the-job engineering training for women with degrees in mathematics and physics, and the Curtiss-Wright Engineering Program had "Curtiss-Wright Cadettes"[3][verification needed] ("Engineering Cadettes", e.g., Rosella Fenton).[4] The company partnered with Cornell, Penn State, Purdue, the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas, RPI, and Iowa State University to create an engineering curriculum that eventually enrolled over 600 women. The course lasted ten months and focused primarily on aircraft design and production.[3]

Kathleen McNulty (1921–2006), was selected to be one of the original programmers of the ENIAC. Georgia Tech began to admit women engineering students in 1952. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had graduated its first female student, Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911) in 1873. The École Polytechnique in Paris first began to admit women students in 1972. The number of BA/BS degrees in engineering awarded to women in the U.S. increased by 45 percent between 1980 and 1994. However, from 1984–1994, the number of women graduating with a BA/BS degree in computer science decreased by 23 percent.


Although the terms engineer and engineering date from the Middle Ages, they acquired their current meaning and usage only recently in the nineteenth century. Briefly, an engineer is one who uses the principles of engineering – namely acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge – in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes. Some of the major branches of the engineering profession include civil engineering, military engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, computer engineering, and biomedical engineering.[5]


Before engineering was recognized as a formal profession, women with engineering skills often sought recognition as inventors. One of the earliest women inventors was Hypatia of Alexandria (350? 370?–415), who is credited with the invention of the hydrometer. Tabitha Babbit (1784–1853?) was an American toolmaker who invented the first circular saw. Sarah Guppy (1770–1852) was an Englishwoman who patented a design for bridge foundations. Mary Dixon Kies (1752–1837) was the first American woman to receive a patent for her method of weaving straw in 1809.[6]

19th century: entry into technical professions[edit]

With the coming of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, new technology-based occupations opened up for both men and women. Sarah Bagley (1806–?) is remembered not only for her efforts to improved working conditions for women mill workers in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1830s and 1840s, but also for being one of the earliest women to work as a telegraph operator. Mathilde Fibiger (1830–1872), a Danish novelist and advocate of women's rights, became a telegraph operator for the Danish State Telegraph system in the 1860s.

Engineering began to be taught as a formal academic discipline in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The École Polytechnique in France was established in 1794 to teach military and civil engineering; West Point Military Academy in the United States established a program modeled after the École Polytechnique in 1819. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) began to teach civil engineering in 1828. However, none of these institutions admitted women as students at the time of their founding.[7]

In the 19th century, women who performed engineering work often had academic training in mathematics or science. Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), Lord Byron's daughter, was privately schooled in mathematics before beginning the collaboration with Charles Babbage on his analytical engine that would earn her the designation of the "first computer programmer." Hertha Marks Ayrton (1854–1923), a British engineer and inventor who helped develop electric arc lighting, studied mathematics at Cambridge in 1880, but was denied a degree, as women were only granted certificates of completion at the time. Similarly, Mary Engle Pennington (1872–1952), an American chemist and refrigeration engineer, completed the requirements for a BS degree in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in 1892, but was given a certificate of proficiency instead. Rita de Moraes Sarmento (1872–1931) was the first woman to obtain an Engineering degree from the Technical University of Porto, in Portugal. She obtained this degree in 1894, which means she may have been the first formally recognised female engineer in Europe. Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu (1887–1973) is one of the first formally recognised female engineers in Europe. Due to prejudices against women in the sciences, she was rejected by the School of Bridges and Roads in Bucharest, Romania. However, in 1909, she was accepted at the Royal Academy of Technology in Berlin. She graduated from the university in 1912, with a degree in engineering, specialising in chemistry, possibly becoming one of the first women engineers in the world. Other women in engineering in the same time period include three Danish women: Agnes Klingberg, Betzy Meyer, and Julie Arenholt, who graduated in 1897 and 1901 from 'Polyteknisk Læreanstalt', today known as the Danish Technical University.[8] The first female engineering graduate in Britain was Alice Perry who graduated from Queen's College, Galway in 1906.

Women without formal engineering degrees were also integral to great 19th century civil engineering feats. Emily Warren Roebling is recognized as managing the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, and was the first person to cross the bridge at its opening ceremony in 1883.[9] Roebling's husband, Washington Roebling, worked as the chief engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge project until he fell ill of decompression sickness. Upon her husband's illness, Emily Warren Roebling assumed her husband's duties at the project site, and taught herself about material properties, cable construction, calculating catenary curves, and the like.[9]

20th century: entry into engineering programs[edit]

In the early years of the twentieth century, a few women were admitted to engineering programs, but they were generally looked upon as curiosities by their male counterparts. Nora Stanton Blatch Barney (1883–1971), daughter of Harriot Stanton Blatch and granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was the first woman to receive a degree in civil engineering from Cornell University in 1905. In the same year, she was accepted as a junior member of the American Society of Civil Engineers; however, twelve years later, after having worked as an engineer, architect, and engineering inspector, her request for an upgrade to associate membership was denied. Olive Dennis (1885–1957), who became the second woman to graduate from Cornell with a civil engineering degree in 1920, was initially hired by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as a draftsman; however, she later became the first person to claim the title of Service Engineer when this title was created.

Alice Perry was the first woman in Europe to graduate with a degree in engineering in 1908 from Queen's College, Galway.[1]Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu, a Romanian engineer graduated from the Technical University of Berlin in 1912.[2]

Edith Clarke, the inventor of the graphical calculator, was the first woman to earn a degree in MIT's electrical engineering department in 1918.[10] Clarke also became the first woman admitted to the American Institution of Electrical Engineers, the precursor to the IEEE. She taught at the University of Texas Austin, where she was the only woman faculty member in the engineering department.

World War II engineering programs for women[edit]

The entry of the United States into World War II created a serious shortage of engineering talent as men were drafted into the armed forces at the same time that industry ramped up production of armaments, battleships, and airplanes. The U.S. Office of Education initiated a series of courses in science and engineering that were open to women as well as men.

Private programs for women included GE on-the-job engineering training for women with degrees in mathematics and physics, and the Curtiss-Wright Engineering Program had "Curtiss-Wright Cadettes"[3][verification needed] ("Engineering Cadettes", e.g., Rosella Fenton).[4] The company partnered with Cornell, Penn State, Purdue, the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas, RPI, and Iowa State University to create an engineering curriculum that eventually enrolled over 600 women. The course lasted ten months and focused primarily on aircraft design and production.[3]

Thelma Estrin (1924–2014 ), who would later become a pioneer[specify] in the fields of computer science and biomedical engineering, took a 1942 three-month engineering assistant course at Stevens Institute of Technology and earned University of Wisconsin BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees.[dubious– discuss]

Through an accelerated program brought on by the war, Lois Graham (1925-2013) graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1946[11] and was the first woman in the United States to receive a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology (M.S. ME ’49, Ph.D. ’59).[12]

Postwar era[edit]

In 1943, the United States Army authorized a secret project at the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering to develop an electronic computer to compute artillery firing tables for the Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory. The project, which came to be known as ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, was completed in 1946.

Previous to the development of the ENIAC, the U.S. Army had employed women trained in mathematics to calculate artillery trajectories, at first using mechanical desk calculators and later the differential analyzer developed by Vannevar Bush, at the Moore School. In 1945, one of these "computers", Kathleen McNulty (1921–2006), was selected to be one of the original programmers of the ENIAC, together with Frances Spence (1922– ), Betty Holberton (1917–2001), Marlyn Wescoff, Ruth Lichterman (1924–1986), and Betty Jean Jennings (1924–2011). McNulty, Holberton, and Jennings would later work on the UNIVAC, the first commercial computer developed by the Remington Rand Corporation in the early 1950s.

In 1946, Hattie Scott Peterson gained a degree in civil engineering, believed to be the first African-American woman to do so.[13]

Resistance to coeducation in engineering schools, 1950s–1970s[edit]

The Cold War and the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union created additional demands for trained engineering talent in the 1950s and 1960s. Many engineering schools in the U.S. that had previously admitted only male students began to tentatively adopt coeducation. After 116 years as an all-male institution, RPI began to admit small numbers of female students in the 1940s. Georgia Tech began to admit women engineering students in 1952, but only in programs not available in other state universities. It would be 1968 before women were admitted to all courses offered by Georgia Tech.[14][15]

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had graduated its first female student, Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911) in 1873; she later became an instructor at MIT. However, until the 1960s, MIT enrolled few female engineering students, due in part to a lack of housing for women students. After the completion of the first women's dormitory on campus, McCormick Hall, in 1964, the number of women enrolled increased greatly. Influenced in part by the second wave feminism movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, female faculty members at MIT, including Mildred Dresselhaus and Sheila Widnall, began to actively promote the cause of women's engineering education.[16]

The École Polytechnique in Paris first began to admit women students in 1972.

Margaret Hamilton is also notable for her contributions to computer and aerospace engineering in the 1970s. Hamilton, the director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory at the time, is famous for her work in writing the on-board guidance code for the Apollo 11 mission.[17]


As more engineering programs were opened to women, the number of women enrolled in engineering programs increased dramatically. The number of BA/BS degrees in engineering awarded to women in the U.S. increased by 45 percent between 1980 and 1994. However, during the period of 1984–1994, the number of women graduating with a BA/BS degree in computer science decreased by 23 percent (from 37 percent of graduates in 1984 to 28 percent in 1994). This phenomenon became known as "The incredible shrinking pipeline," from the title of a 1997 paper on the subject by Dr. Tracy Camp, a professor in the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at the Colorado School of Mines.[18]

Some of the reasons for the decline cited in the paper included:

  • The development of computer games designed and marketed for males only;
  • A perception that computer science was the domain of "hacker/nerd/antisocial" personality types;
  • Gender discrimination in computing;
  • Lack of role models at the university level.[19]


United States[edit]

According to studies by the National Science Foundation, the percentage of BA/BS degrees in engineering awarded to women in the U.S. increased steadily from 0.4 percent in 1966 to a peak of 20.9 percent in 2002, and then dropped off slightly to 18.5 percent in 2008. However, the trend identified in "The incredible shrinking pipeline" has continued; the percentage of BA/BS degrees in mathematics and computer science awarded to women peaked in 1985 at 39.5 percent, and declined steadily to 25.3 percent in 2008.

The percentage of master's degrees in engineering awarded to women increased steadily from 0.6 percent in 1966 to 22.9 percent in 2008. The percentage of doctoral degrees in engineering awarded to women during the same period increased from 0.3 percent to 21.5 percent.[20]


Only 9.6% of engineers in Australia are women, and the rate of women in engineering degree courses has remained around 14% since the 1990s.[21]

United Kingdom[edit]

The percentage of female engineering graduates rose from 7 percent in 1984 to 15 percent in 2007.[22] The proportion of engineers in industry who are women is, on the other hand, still very low at around 6% – the lowest percentage in the EU.

Initiatives to promote engineering to women[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Women in engineering
  • List of prizes, medals, and awards for women in engineering
  • Category:Women in technology
  • Women in computing
  • Women in science
  • Women in the workforce
  • Joyce Currie Little, "The Role of Women in the History of Computing." Proceedings, Women and Technology: Historical, Societal, and Professional Perspectives. IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, New Brunswick, NJ, July 1999, 202–05.


  1. ^ abIrish Architectural Archive. "PERRY, ALICE JACQUELINE". Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720-1940. Irish Architectural Archive. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  2. ^ abCociuban, Anca. "Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu – First female engineer in the world". Amazing Romanians. Archived from the original on 8 February 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  3. ^ abcdBix, Amy Sue, "'Engineeresses' Invade Campus: Four decades of debate over technical coeducation." IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, Vol. 19 Nr. 1 (Spring 2000), 21.
  4. ^ ab"In Memoriam: Pilot and Physics Teacher". The Penn Stater. July–August 2013.  
  5. ^"What is engineering and what do engineers do?". National Academy of Engineering website FAQ. Retrieved 2011-08-21. 
  6. ^Stanley, Autumn, Mothers and Daughters of Invention: Notes for a Revised History of Invention (Metuchen, NJ and London: Scarecrow Press, 1993).
  7. ^John H. Lienhard. "No. 1107: Engineering Education". Engines of our Ingenuity. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  8. ^"De første kvindelige ingeniører Agnes og Betzy - to pionerer". Danish Society of Engineers, IDA website. Retrieved 2014-11-13. 
  9. ^ abhttp://www.asce.org/templates/person-bio-detail.aspx?id=11203
  10. ^http://www.engineergirl.org/Engineers/HistoricalEngineers/4399.aspx
  11. ^"Lois Graham, Engineering Education Leader". Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  12. ^"In Memoriam – Lois Graham (M.S. ME '49, Ph.D. '59) – IIT Armour College of Engineering | IIT Armour College of Engineering | Illinois Institute of Technology". engineering.iit.edu. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  13. ^"Hattie Peterson (1913-1993)". Library.ca.gov. California State Library. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  14. ^Terraso, David (2003-03-21). "Georgia Tech Celebrates 50 Years of Women". Georgia Institute of Technology News Room. Archived from the original on 2006-09-24. Retrieved 2006-11-13. 
  15. ^Cuneo, Joshua (2003-04-11). "Female faculty, staff offer professional perspectives". Archived from the original on January 10, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  16. ^Bix, "'Engineeresses' Invade Campus," 25-6.
  17. ^https://medium.com/@verne/margaret-hamilton-the-engineer-who-took-the-apollo-to-the-moon-7d550c73d3fa#.i1blqgw5r
  18. ^Camp, Tracy, "The Incredible Shrinking Pipeline", Communications of the ACM, Vol. 40 Nr. 10 (October 1997), 103–110.
  19. ^Camp, T., and Gurer, D., "Women in Computer Science: Where Have We Been and Where are We Going?" Proceedings, Women and Technology: Historical, Societal, and Professional Perspectives. IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, New Brunswick, NJ, July 1999, 242–3.
  20. ^"S&E Degrees: 1966–2008". National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Science Foundation. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  21. ^http://www.robogals.org/about/the-case-for-robogals
  22. ^"WISE Excellence Awards 2007". Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bix, Amy Sue. Girls Coming to Tech!: A History of American Engineering Education for Women (MIT Press, 2014)
Audodidact computer programmer Jeri Ellsworth at a 2009 Bay Area "Maker Faire" conference.

For other uses, see Engineer (disambiguation).

Kitty Joyner, an American engineer, in 1952


Activity sectors

Applied Science
CompetenciesMathematics, Science, Design, Analysis, Critical Thinking, Engineering Ethics, Project Management, Engineering Economics, Creativity, Problem solving

Education required

Engineering education

Fields of

Research and Development, Industry, Business

Related jobs

Scientist, Architect, Project Manager, Inventor, Astronaut

Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are people who invent, design, analyse, build and test machines, systems, structures and materials to fulfill objectives and requirements while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost.[1][2] The word engineer (Latiningeniator[3]) is derived from the Latin words ingeniare ("to contrive, devise") and ingenium ("cleverness").[4][5] The foundational qualifications of an engineer typically include a 4-year bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline, or in some jurisdictions, a master's degree in an engineering discipline plus 4–6 years of peer-reviewed professional practice (culminating in a project report or thesis) and passage of engineering board examinations.

The work of engineers forms the link between scientific discoveries and their subsequent applications to human and business needs and quality of life.[1]


In 1961 , the Conference of Engineering Societies of Western Europe and the United States of America defined "professional engineer" as follows:[6]

A professional engineer is competent by virtue of his/her fundamental education and training to apply the scientific method and outlook to the analysis and solution of engineering problems. He/she is able to assume personal responsibility for the development and application of engineering science and knowledge, notably in research, design, construction, manufacturing, superintending, managing and in the education of the engineer. His/her work is predominantly intellectual and varied and not of a routine mental or physical character. It requires the exercise of original thought and judgement and the ability to supervise the technical and administrative work of others. His/her education will have been such as to make him/her capable of closely and continuously following progress in his/her branch of engineering science by consulting newly published works on a worldwide basis, assimilating such information and applying it independently. He/she is thus placed in a position to make contributions to the development of engineering science or its applications. His/her education and training will have been such that he/she will have acquired a broad and general appreciation of the engineering sciences as well as thorough insight into the special features of his/her own branch. In due time he/she will be able to give authoritative technical advice and to assume responsibility for the direction of important tasks in his/her branch.

Roles and expertise[edit]


Engineers develop new technological solutions. During the engineering design process, the responsibilities of the engineer may include defining problems, conducting and narrowing research, analyzing criteria, finding and analyzing solutions, and making decisions. Much of an engineer's time is spent on researching, locating, applying, and transferring information.[7] Indeed, research suggests engineers spend 56% of their time engaged in various information behaviours, including 14% actively searching for information.[8]

Engineers must weigh different design choices on their merits and choose the solution that best matches the requirements and needs. Their crucial and unique task is to identify, understand, and interpret the constraints on a design in order to produce a successful result.


Engineers apply techniques of engineering analysis in testing, production, or maintenance. Analytical engineers may supervise production in factories and elsewhere, determine the causes of a process failure, and test output to maintain quality. They also estimate the time and cost required to complete projects. Supervisory engineers are responsible for major components or entire projects. Engineering analysis involves the application of scientific analytic principles and processes to reveal the properties and state of the system, device or mechanism under study. Engineering analysis proceeds by separating the engineering design into the mechanisms of operation or failure, analyzing or estimating each component of the operation or failure mechanism in isolation, and recombining the components. They may analyze risk.[9][10][11][12]

Many engineers use computers to produce and analyze designs, to simulate and test how a machine, structure, or system operates, to generate specifications for parts, to monitor the quality of products, and to control the efficiency of processes.

Specialization and management[edit]

Most engineers specialize in one or more engineering disciplines.[1] Numerous specialties are recognized by professional societies, and each of the major branches of engineering has numerous subdivisions. Civil engineering, for example, includes structural and transportation engineering and materials engineering include ceramic, metallurgical, and polymer engineering. Mechanical engineering cuts across just about every discipline since its core essence is applied physics. Engineers also may specialize in one industry, such as motor vehicles, or in one type of technology, such as turbines or semiconductor materials.[1]

Several recent studies have investigated how engineers spend their time; that is, the work tasks they perform and how their time is distributed among these. Research[8][13] suggests that there are several key themes present in engineers’ work: (1) technical work (i.e., the application of science to product development); (2) social work (i.e., interactive communication between people); (3) computer-based work; (4) information behaviours. Amongst other more detailed findings, a recent work sampling study[13] found that engineers spend 62.92% of their time engaged in technical work, 40.37% in social work, and 49.66% in computer-based work. Furthermore, there was considerable overlap between these different types of work, with engineers spending 24.96% of their time engaged in technical and social work, 37.97% in technical and non-social, 15.42% in non-technical and social, and 21.66% in non-technical and non-social.

Engineering is also an information-intensive field, with research finding that engineers spend 55.8% of their time engaged in various different information behaviours, including 14.2% actively seeking information from other people (7.8%) and information repositories such as documents and databases (6.4%).[8]

The time engineers spend engaged in such activities is also reflected in the competencies required in engineering roles. In addition to engineers’ core technical competence, research has also demonstrated the critical nature of their personal attributes, project management skills, and cognitive abilities to success in the role.[14]

Types of engineers[edit]

Main article: List of engineering branches

There are many branches of engineering, each of which specializes in specific technologies and products. Typically engineers will have deep knowledge in one area and basic knowledge in related areas. For example, mechanical engineering curricula typically includes introductory courses in electrical engineering, computer science, materials science, metallurgy, mathematics, and software engineering.

When developing a product, engineers typically work in interdisciplinary teams. For example, when building robots an engineering team will typically have at least three types of engineers. A mechanical engineer would design the body and actuators. An electrical engineer would design the power systems, sensors, electronics, embedded software in electronics, and control circuitry. Finally, a software engineer would develop the software that makes the robot behave properly. Engineers that aspire to management engage in further study in business administration, project management and organizational or business psychology. Often engineers move up the management hierarchy from managing projects, functional departments, divisions and eventually CEO's of a multi-national corporation.

BranchFocusRelated SciencesProducts
Aerospace EngineeringFocuses on the development of aircraft and spacecraft.Aeronautics, Astrodynamics, Astronautics, Avionics, Control Engineering, Fluid mechanics, Kinematics, Materials Science, ThermodynamicsAircraft, Robotics, Spacecraft, Trajectories
Architectural Engineering & Building engineeringFocuses on building and construction.Architecture, architectural technologyBuildings and bridges
Biomedical EngineeringFocuses on closing the gap between engineering and medicine to advance various health care treatments.Biology, Physics, Chemistry, MedicineProstheses, Medical Devices, Regenerative Tissue Growth, Various Safety Mechanisms, Genetic Engineering
Chemical EngineeringFocuses on the manufacturing of chemicals and chemical production processes.Chemistry, Thermodynamics, Process Engineering, Nanotechnology, Biology, MedicineChemicals, Petroleum, Medicines, Raw Materials, Food & Drink, Genetic Engineering
Civil EngineeringFocuses on the construction of large systems, structures, and environmental systems.Statics, Fluid Mechanics, Soil Mechanics, Structural Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Environmental EngineeringRoads, Bridges, Dams, Buildings, Structural system, Foundation (engineering), Earthworks (engineering), Waste management, Water treatment
Computer EngineeringFocuses on the design and development of Computer Hardware & Software SystemsComputer Science, Mathematics, Electrical EngineeringMicroprocessors, Microcontrollers, Operating Systems, Embedded Systems
Electrical EngineeringFocuses on application of Electricity, Electronics, and ElectromagnetismMathematics, Probability and statistics, Engineering Ethics, Engineering economics, Materials science, Physics, Network analysis, Electromagnetism, Linear system, Electronics, Electric power, Logic, Computer Science, Data transmission, Systems engineering, Control engineering, Signal processingElectricity generation and Equipment, Robotics, Control system, Computer, Home appliances, Consumer electronics, Avionics, Hybrid vehicle, Spacecraft, Unmanned aerial vehicle, Optoelectronics, Embedded systems
Industrial EngineeringFocuses on the design, optimization, and operation of production, logistics, and service systems and processes.Operations Research, Engineering Statistics, Applied Probability and Stochastic Processes, Methods Engineering, Production Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Systems Engineering, Logistics Engineering, ErgonomicsQuality Control Systems, Manufacturing Systems, Warehousing Systems, Supply Chains, Logistics Networks, Queueing Systems, Business Process Management
Mechatronics EngineeringFocuses on the technology and controlling all the industrial fieldProcess Control, AutomationRobotics, Controllers, CNC
Mechanical EngineeringFocuses on the development and operation of Energy Systems, Transport Systems, Manufacturing Systems, Machines and Control Systems.Dynamics, Kinematics, Statics, Fluid Mechanics, Materials Science, Metallurgy, Strength of Materials, Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, Mechanics, Mechatronics, Manufacturing Engineering, Control EngineeringCars, Airplanes, Machines, Power Generation, Spacecraft, Buildings, Consumer Goods, Manufacturing, HVAC
Metallurgical Engineering/Materials EngineeringFocuses on extraction of metals from its ores and development of new materialsMaterial Science, Thermodynamics, Extraction of Metals, Physical Metallurgy, Mechanical Metallurgy, Nuclear Materials, Steel TechnologyIron, Steel, Polymers, Ceramics, Metals
Software EngineeringFocuses on the design & development of Software SystemsComputer Science, Information theory, Systems Engineering, Formal languageApps, Websites, Operating Systems, Embedded Systems


Main article: Engineering ethics

Engineers have obligations to the public, their clients, employers, and the profession. Many engineering societies have established codes of practice and codes of ethics to guide members and inform the public at large. Each engineering discipline and professional society maintains a code of ethics, which the members pledge to uphold. Depending on their specializations, engineers may also be governed by specific statute, whistleblowing, product liability laws, and often the principles of business ethics.[15][16][17]

Some graduates of engineering programs in North America may be recognized by the Iron Ring or Engineer's Ring, a ring made of iron or stainless steel that is worn on the little finger of the dominant hand. This tradition began in 1925 in Canada with The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, where the ring serves as a symbol and reminder of the engineer's obligations to the engineering profession. In 1972, the practice was adopted by several colleges in the United States including members of the Order of the Engineer.


Main article: Engineering education

Most engineering programs involve a concentration of study in an engineering specialty, along with courses in both mathematics and the physical and life sciences. Many programs also include courses in general engineering and applied accounting. A design course, often accompanied by a computer or laboratory class or both, is part of the curriculum of most programs. Often, general courses not directly related to engineering, such as those in the social sciences or humanities, also are required.

Accreditation is the process by which engineering programs are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. The Washington Accord serves as an international accreditation agreement for academic engineering degrees, recognizing the substantial equivalency in the standards set by many major national engineering bodies. In the United States, post-secondary degree programs in engineering are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.


Main article: Regulation and licensure in engineering

In many countries, engineering tasks such as the design of bridges, electric power plants, industrial equipment, machine design and chemical plants, must be approved by a licensed professional engineer. Most commonly titled Professional Engineer is a license to practice and is indicated with the use of post-nominal letters; PE or P.Eng. These are common in North America, as is European Engineer (EUR ING) in Europe. The practice of engineering in the UK is not a regulated profession but the control of the titles of Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Incorporated Engineer (IEng) is regulated. These titles are protected by law and are subject to strict requirements defined by the Engineering Council UK. The title CEng is in use in much of the Commonwealth.

Many skilled / semi-skilled trades and engineering technicians in the UK call themselves engineers. A growing movement in the UK is to legally protect the title 'Engineer' so that only professional engineers can use it; a petition[18] was started to further this cause.

In the United States, licensure is generally attainable through combination of education, pre-examination (Fundamentals of Engineering exam), examination (Professional Engineering Exam),[19] and engineering experience (typically in the area of 5+ years). Each state tests and licenses Professional Engineers. Currently, most states do not license by specific engineering discipline, but rather provide generalized licensure, and trust engineers to use professional judgment regarding their individual competencies; this is the favoured approach of the professional societies. Despite this, however, at least one of the examinations required by most states is actually focused on a particular discipline; candidates for licensure typically choose the category of examination which comes closest to their respective expertise.

In Canada, engineering is a self regulated profession. The profession in each province is governed by its own engineering association. For instance, in the Province of British Columbia an engineering graduate with four or more years of post graduate experience in an engineering-related field and passing exams in ethics and law will need to be registered by the Association for Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (APEGBC)[20] in order to become a Professional Engineer and be granted the professional designation of P.Eng allowing one to practice engineering.

In Continental Europe, Latin America, Turkey and elsewhere the title is limited by law to people with an engineering degree and the use of the title by others is illegal. In Italy, the title is limited to people who both hold an engineering degree and have passed a professional qualification examination (Esame di Stato). In Portugal, professional engineer titles and accredited engineering degrees are regulated and certified by the Ordem dos Engenheiros. In the Czech Republic, the title "engineer" (Ing.) is given to people with a (masters) degree in chemistry, technology or economics for historical and traditional reasons. In Greece, the academic title of "Diploma Engineer" is awarded after completion of the five-year engineering study course and the title of "Certified Engineer" is awarded after completion of the four-year course of engineering studies at a Technological Educational Institute (TEI).


The perception and definition of the term 'engineer' varies across countries and continents.


British school children in the 1950s were brought up with stirring tales of "the Victorian Engineers", chief amongst whom were Brunel, Stephenson, Telford, and their contemporaries. In the UK, "engineering" has more recently been styled as an industry sector consisting of employers and employees loosely termed "engineers" who included semi-skilled trades. However, the 21st-century view, especially amongst the more educated members of society, is to reserve the term Engineer to describe a university-educated practitioner of ingenuity represented by the Chartered (or Incorporated) Engineer qualifications. However, a large proportion of the UK public still thinks of "Engineers" as skilled trades or even semi-skilled tradespeople with a high school education. And UK skilled and semi-skilled trades style themselves as "Engineers". This has created confusion in the eyes of the public to understand what professional engineers actually do from fixing car engines, TVs, fridges to designing and managing the development of aircraft, space craft, power stations, infrastructure, and other complex technological systems.


In France, the term 'ingénieur" (engineer) is not a protected title and can be used by anyone, even by those who do not possess an academic degree.

However, the title "Ingénieur Diplomé" (Graduate Engineer) is an official academic title that is protected by the government and is associated with the "Diplôme d'Ingénieur", which is one of the most prestigious academic degrees in France. Anyone misusing this title in France can be fined a large sum and jailed, as it is reserved for graduates of French engineering grandes écoles that provide highly intensive training in science and engineering. Among such institutions, the most renown (and hardest to gain admission) are Ecole Centrale Paris (Centrale), Ecole des Mines de Paris (Mines Paristech), Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers, Ecole Polytechnique, and Ecole des Ponts ParisTech. Engineering schools which were created during the French revolution have a special reputation among the French people, as they helped to make the transition from a mostly agricultural country of late 18th century to the industrially developed France of the 19th century. A great part of 19th century France's economic wealth and industrial prowess was created by engineers that have graduated from Ecole Centrale Paris, Ecole des Mines de Paris, or Ecole Polytechnique. This was also the case after the WWII when France had to be rebuilt.

Before the "réforme René Haby" in the 70's, it was very difficult to be admitted to such schools, and the French ingénieurs were commonly perceived as the nation's elite (hence the term "faire les Grandes Écoles" in language of older people). However, after the Haby reform and a string of further reforms (Modernization plans of French universities), several engineering schools were created which can be accessed with relatively lower competition, and this reputation as being part of the French elite now applies to those from 'top' engineering schools for engineers, École Nationale d'Administration (ENA) for managers or politicians and École Normale Supérieure (ENS) for researchers in science and humanities. Engineers are less highlighted in current French economy as industry provides less than a quarter of the GDP.

North America[edit]

In the US and Canada, engineering is a regulated profession whose practice and practitioners are licensed and governed by law. Licensed professional engineers in Canada and the USA are referred to as P.Eng (Canada) and PE (USA). A 2002 study by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers revealed that engineers are the third most respected professionals behind doctors and pharmacists.[21]

In Ontario, and all other Canadian provinces, the "title" Engineer is protected by law and any non-licensed individual or company using the title is committing a legal offense, and can get fined.[22] Companies usually prefer not to use the title except for license holders because of liability reasons, for instance, if the company filed a lawsuit and the judge, investigators, or lawyers found that the company is using the word engineer for non licensed employees this could be used by opponents to hinder the company's efforts.

Asia and Africa[edit]

In the Indian subcontinent, Russia, Middle East, Africa, and China, engineering is one of the most sought after undergraduate courses, inviting thousands of applicants to show their ability in highly competitive entrance examinations.

In Egypt, the educational system makes engineering the second-most-respected profession in the country (after medicine); engineering colleges at Egyptian universities require extremely high marks on the General Certificate of Secondary Education (Arabic: الثانوية العامة‎ al-Thānawiyyah al-`Āmmah)—on the order of 97 or 98%—and are thus considered (along with the colleges of medicine, natural science, and pharmacy) to be among the "pinnacle colleges" (كليات القمةkullīyāt al-qimmah).

In the Philippines and Filipino communities overseas, engineers who are either Filipino or not, especially those who also profess other jobs at the same time, are addressed and introduced as Engineer, rather than Sir/Madam in speech or Mr./Mrs./Ms. (G./Gng./Bb. in Filipino) before surnames. That word is used either in itself or before the given name or surname.

Corporate culture[edit]

In companies and other organizations, there is sometimes a tendency to undervalue people with advanced technological and scientific skills compared to celebrities, fashion practitioners, entertainers, and managers. In his book, The Mythical Man-Month,[23] Fred Brooks Jr says that managers think of senior people as "too valuable" for technical tasks and that management jobs carry higher prestige. He tells how some laboratories, such as Bell Labs, abolish all job titles to overcome this problem: a professional employee is a "member of the technical staff." IBM maintain a dual ladder of advancement; the corresponding managerial and engineering or scientific rungs are equivalent. Brooks recommends that structures need to be changed; the boss must give a great deal of attention to keeping his managers and his technical people as interchangeable as their talents allow.

See also[edit]

Look up engineer in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Engineers.


  1. ^ abcdBureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor (2006). "Engineers". Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition. Retrieved 2006-09-21. 
  2. ^National Society of Professional Engineers (2006). "Frequently Asked Questions About Engineering". Archived from the original on 2006-05-22. Retrieved 2006-09-21.  "Science is knowledge based on our observed facts and tested truths arranged in an orderly system that can be validated and communicated to other people. Engineering is the creative application of scientific principles used to plan, build, direct, guide, manage, or work on systems to maintain and improve our daily lives."
  3. ^"The Term 'Architect' in the Middle Ages". JSTOR 2856447. 
  4. ^Oxford Concise Dictionary, 1995
  5. ^"engineer". Oxford Dictionaries. April 2010. Oxford Dictionaries. April 2010. Oxford University Press. 22 October 2011
  6. ^Steen Hyldgaard Christensen, Christelle Didier, Andrew Jamison, Martin Meganck, Carl Mitcham, and Byron Newberry Springer. Engineering Identities, Epistemologies and Values: Engineering Education and Practice in Context, Volume 2, p. 170, at Google Books
  7. ^A. Eide, R. Jenison, L. Mashaw, L. Northup. Engineering: Fundamentals and Problem Solving. New York City: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.,2002
  8. ^ abcRobinson, M. A. (2010). "An empirical analysis of engineers' information behaviors". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 61 (4): 640–658. doi:10.1002/asi.21290. 
  9. ^Baecher, G.B.; Pate, E.M.; de Neufville, R. (1979). "Risk of dam failure in benefit/cost analysis". Water Resources Research. 16 (3): 449–456. Bibcode:1980WRR....16..449B. doi:10.1029/wr016i003p00449. 
  10. ^Hartford, D.N.D. and Baecher, G.B. (2004) Risk and Uncertainty in Dam Safety. Thomas Telford
  11. ^International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) (2003) Risk Assessment in Dam Safety Management. ICOLD, Paris
  12. ^British Standards Institution (BSIA) (1991) BC 5760 Part 5: Reliability of systems equipment and components - Guide to failure modes effects and criticality analysis (FMEA and FMECA).
  13. ^ abRobinson, M. A. (2012). "How design engineers spend their time: Job content and task satisfaction". Design Studies. 33 (4): 391–425. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2012.03.002. 
  14. ^Robinson, M. A.; Sparrow, P. R.; Clegg, C.; Birdi, K. (2005). "Design engineering competencies: Future requirements and predicted changes in the forthcoming decade". Design Studies. 26 (2): 123–153. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2004.09.004. 
  15. ^American Society of Civil Engineers (2006) [1914]. Code of Ethics. Reston, Virginia, USA: ASCE Press. Archived from the original on 2011-02-14. Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  16. ^Institution of Civil Engineers (2009). Royal Charter, By-laws, Regulations and Rules. Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  17. ^National Society of Professional Engineers (2007) [1964]. Code of Ethics(PDF). Alexandria, Virginia, USA: NSPE. Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  18. ^"Make 'Engineer' a protected title - Petitions". Petitions - UK Government and Parliament. 
  19. ^[1] NCEES is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing professional licensure for engineers and surveyors.
  20. ^"APEGBC - Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia". 
  21. ^Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, 2002, Engineering: One of Ontario's most respected professions
  22. ^Professional Engineers Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.28[2]
  23. ^The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, p119 (see also p242), Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2nd ed. 1995, pub. Addison-Wesley
Engineers conferring on prototype design, 1954
NASA Launch Control Center Firing Room 2 as it appeared in the Apollo era
Auto rice milling machinery in Bangladesh
Categories: 1

0 Replies to “19th Century Electrical Engineer Girl Essay”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *