What Is Engineering?

Engineering is perhaps one of the most popular courses in college, but many kids and young adults might still be wondering just what is engineering exactly? What would they be getting into if they are to pursue this as a career later on in life? They may be interested in some specific scientific concepts, tasks, or skills, but they may not be too sure if engineering is the correct field for them to pursue. Many young adults who enter college taking up this course may have been misguided or misinformed. Thus, it is always good to start children early on the possible professional careers that they can embark on once they reach college.

Engineering basically is the acquisition of scientific, mathematical, and practical knowledge and applying them in the design and construction of structures, machines, systems, and processes that seek to ultimately improve the life of human beings. Engineering is technically classified as a science, but it can also be argued that engineering requires art and skill as well. The general spirit behind engineering is the improvement of the human physical world. This is the quintessential image of inventors, innovators, and intellectual people who come up with concepts, gadgets, and buildings that stretch the possibility of human achievement and accomplishment.

As such, the idea of engineering could be considered as having existed since the time man came onto earth and sought to take control of the physical world by coming up inventions to make existence more comfortable, efficient or productive. From the very basic mechanical inventions of the wheel, pulley, and lever, the engineering mind of man could be gleaned. The term "engineer" had not been coined until around the 14th century, but almost all of the ancient structures throughout history are testaments to the concept of engineering that had existed in the minds of the earliest human beings.

The pyramids of Egypt, the hanging gardens of Babylon, the temples of Acropolis and Parthenon in Greece, the Coliseum in Rome, the Great Wall of China, and the temples of the Mayan, Incan, and Aztec empires-all these are proof of the skill and ingenuity of ancient civilizations that had possessed engineering skills way before modern times. Those wondering what is engineering could very well set their eyes in wonder at these structures that even modern human minds would find difficult to conceive and bring into reality.

Perhaps the single most important milestone in engineering history is the invention of the steam engine in 1698 by mechanical engineer Thomas Savery, which set into motion the Industrial Revolution and changed the course of humankind henceforth, even up to today. It is during the 18th century that engineering became a full-fledged profession.

Today, there are basically a number of specific branches of engineering that people study for and become licensed practitioners of. These would be chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. Chemical engineering would be focused on the use and discovery of chemicals and substances, and the study of chemical processes. Civil engineering specializes in the design and construction of infrastructure and buildings. Electrical engineering is quite a broad specialization that covers any design and study of electrical systems, including motors and electricity. Mechanical engineering would be concerned with the design and construction of physical mechanical systems or machines, mostly for the production of power and energy.

The world of engineering is a truly fascinating and rewarding career especially for kids who find themselves asking what is engineering? Engineering is very important for the further progress of human existence on earth, just as it had continuously propelled human evolution through centuries earlier.

Websites For Learning All About Engineering


  1. Build a Bridge
  2. Education Consortium
  3. Java Applets for Engineering Education