3 May 2012

Good Engineers

Good Guy Greg, the Engineer
In response to this post, Magilson said...
As an engineer, I take issue with your aside. Engineers aren't, in fact, "notoriously good at building whatever you like without regard to the cost." We are good at building what we can at exactly the price you specify. At least of the hundreds of engineers I know and work with that is the case.

We don't design things willy-nilly. We ask for specifications and ask for cost expectations and then begin. A more correct statement, and maybe your point worded differently, is that we'll design exactly what you want if you tell us price doesn't matter. This point was taught to us on day one, class one, hour one of the engineering program I attended. Cost is what matters, the rest is just math and imagination.
and Appalling, Really said...
I agree with Magilson above, but would go further.

It is, in fact, politicians and other magical-thinking academicians that routinely build, mandate, regulate, and otherwise interfere and inhibit without regard to the costs, financial or otherwise... and certainly "without regard" is the most favorable interpretation. I would suggest that "cynically in spite of" is more accurate.
to which I replied
TOTALLY agree. My apologies. IMO, politicians are definitely driving the show, BUT there are SOME engineers who say "this is the solution and it costs $X" without considering other (non-engineering) solutions that cost <$X. That may be the case with ones who've been out of school for too long to remember their humility...