Why Did I Choose to Become an Engineer?

Why did I choose to become an engineer? I could go on and on, but at the heart of it all is my unquenchable thirst for technology.

Growing up, I was always that kid knee-deep in gears, wires, and Lego blocks, the kind of playground activities that scream future engineer. Sure, the harsh truth that my height and my somewhat lacking hoop skills weren’t exactly NBA material was a bit of a nudge.

Now, I get it, not everyone’s life purpose hits them while still playing with action figures. That’s why I’m here, to navigate you through my journey into the thrilling world of engineering. My hope? To either ignite that engineering spark within you or help you discover that maybe, just maybe, your compass points elsewhere.

#1 Childhood fascination with science and technology

astronaut in futuristic spaceship

As a kid, I was that boy who couldn’t resist the magnetic pull of the universe of science and technology. I devoured every science fiction book I could get my hands on, especially the ones brimming with epic intergalactic voyages aboard sleek, futuristic spacecraft that seemed to defy the very fabric of space and time.

Lost in those pages, I’d let my imagination run wild, navigating wormholes and exploring strange, uncharted galaxies far beyond the confines of mundane reality. I would daydream about zipping through the cosmos with high-tech gizmos and gadgets, akin to a modern-day space cowboy. In other words, I was head over heels for everything outer space.

On top of my literary expeditions, I was also an ardent fan of real-world science books. Understanding the inner workings of the world around me was my kind of adrenaline rush. So much so that I spent a good chunk of my youth aspiring to be a NASA astronaut. Every time my dad and I set up our telescope in the backyard, I’d be dumbstruck, humbled by the sheer vastness and grandeur of the cosmos.

I also often watched my dad get his hands dirty fixing a myriad of things – from TVs and computers to AC units, and everything in between. It intrigued me, this ability to figure out how things worked, to diagnose a problem, and find a solution. Little did I know, this was a sneak peek into the fascinating world of engineering, and it stoked the flame that later led me to this field.

#2 Mastery of mathematics

My dad, who was a firm believer in the power of mathematics, ensured that I was mathematically inclined from an early age. I was often the kid who knew the answer even before the teacher could finish her sentence!

Mathematics, for me, wasn’t just about crunching numbers, but more of a powerful tool that helped me develop a keen analytical mind – a cornerstone in the world of engineering. I soon figured that math was the secret ingredient to solving complex problems and overcoming formidable challenges.

Marrying my mathematical prowess with my undying love for science and technology, I couldn’t help but see that engineering was my one true calling. It might seem to the untrained eye that engineers are simply glorified number crunchers. But, in reality, mathematics acts as the secret sauce that shapes our thought processes and problem-solving techniques.

#3 Captivated by electricity and magnetism

Ever since I could remember, I’ve been the type who loves to create. As a teen, my curiosity had me knee-deep in circuits and mechanical doodads. I followed my dad’s footsteps, taking apart everything I could get my hands on to unveil the magic within. Heck, I’d even try to mend things that were on the fritz!

However, what truly captured my imagination were circuits and electricity. To me, electricity was this enigmatic, natural force that had me hook, line, and sinker. Even today, the concepts of electricity and magnetism fill me with a sense of wonder.

This fascination is what guided me to choose electrical engineering. As I dug deeper into the realm of engineering, I realized my thought process was tailor-made for an engineer. It felt right, and I knew I had found my path.

Important Note: Many engineers, like myself, cultivate an engineering mindset from an early age. This mindset influences how we tackle problems. If you’re interested in fostering this mindset, check out my resources:

#4 The joy of engineering work

lego man
Photo Credit: Alice Gu

Now, before you raise an eyebrow, let me clarify. By fun, I don’t mean roller coasters and beach parties. But believe me, when I say, engineering can give you a rush like no other!

For me, engineering feels like being front row at a blockbuster movie premiere. The thrill of problem-solving and the joy of creating something new and exciting is pure adrenaline. It doesn’t matter whether I’m building a high-tech machine or a Lego fortress – the thrill of creation never gets old.

It’s like being a treasure hunter on a tropical island, seeking hidden riches. The thrill of the chase, the anticipation of what you might uncover next – it’s an exhilarating journey.

Ever since I was young, I’ve been a sucker for video game puzzles. One of my all-time favorites was the Water Temple in Zelda Ocarina of Time, where manipulating water levels was key to progress. It’s no wonder many engineers grow up as avid gamers – after all, engineering is basically one giant puzzle waiting to be cracked!

#5 Leaving a dent in the world

Back in ’85, Steve Jobs had a candid chat with Playboy where he said:

“At Apple, people are putting in 18-hour days. We attract a different type of person — a person who doesn’t want to wait five or 10 years to have someone take a giant risk on him or her. Someone who really wants to get in a little over his head and make a dent in the universe. We are aware that we are doing something significant. We’re here at the beginning of it and we’re able to shape how it goes. Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.”

His words, regardless of how you slice ’em, echo deep within. The notion of making a dent in the universe became my North Star, amplifying a sense of purpose within me.

Throughout my years of growth, inspiration came from all directions – from athletes to inventors, engineers, and mathematicians. But there was one individual who left a profound impression on me: Nikola Tesla!

Unveiling his remarkable accomplishments and the footprint he left on the world was like unearthing hidden treasure. Tesla’s extensive engineering background and his perfect fusion of engineering and science emphasized the commonalities between engineers and scientists.

But, I’m digressing.

The collective influence of these pioneers nudged me towards engineering. I believed I could create ripples of change through my work, especially by enhancing people’s lives with my designs.

Important Note: Don’t pursue engineering for external recognition. In other words, don’t try to make an impact on the world solely for validation.

This pursuit is hollow when your heart isn’t genuinely invested in your work for selfless reasons. Moreover, leaving a legacy after death is a fruitless pursuitThis idealogy aligns with my conveyer belt analogy of life

#6 A flexible career path

As a high school senior teetering on the brink of selecting a major, I gazed into my future. I imagined where I’d like to be a decade from then, and even two decades later. Engineering seemed like the go-to choice.

But there was more. I had a hankering for entrepreneurship and to dip my toes into a plethora of industries. I didn’t want to be chained to a single field – a potential pitfall if not cautious.

In the end, engineering felt like the perfect match for me, offering a plethora of benefits:

  • Minimal student loan debt
  • A relatively quick education stint
  • Tremendous flexibility to switch between various roles and sectors
  • Boosted analytical thinking
  • Less risk of being typecast compared to careers like a Medical Doctor

And let’s be real, even in a doomsday scenario, engineering served as a solid, comfy fallback plan.

#7 Great pay, stability, and job security

making money as an engineer

Alright, time for a heart-to-heart: when I fell for engineering, it wasn’t just about the paycheck, job stability, or the promise of security. Yes, they’re cherry-on-top perks, but they weren’t what I was solely after. I was hunting for something more – a kind of passion that made me wake up at 5:00 AM without an alarm clock.

Being a run-of-the-mill engineer can bless you with a cushy middle-class life. But if you’re gunning for those bank-breaking figures, you’ve got to be a standout – a 10x engineer. These are the folks raking in half a million bucks or more!

Now, here’s the catch – you don’t have to wear an engineer’s cap to bag a substantial income. With the right mindset and a pinch of business savvy, you can shine in any field. But if your heart is pounding for engineering, then, you’re right where you should be.

I won’t sugarcoat it – the competition is cutthroat. With globalization and AI gaining ground faster than ever, you’ve got to keep your game sharp. But if you’re genuinely wired for engineering, it won’t feel like a burdensome task. It’s a challenge – an opportunity to truly make your mark in the world.

Important Note: I wouldn’t recommend pursuing engineering just for monetary gain. You’ll burn out and fail to maximize your career potential.

A true interest in engineering, even a mild one, is your ticket to growing and excelling in this field. Only then can you truly chase those big paychecks.

Another route? Work your engineering magic for a few years before shifting gears towards the business side of the industry.

“Why did I choose to become an engineer” wrap up

Since my early years, the idea of donning the engineer’s cap had me hooked, or at the very least, doing what engineers do.

Taking the plunge into engineering, I stumbled upon an eye-opening truth. Engineering isn’t about the degree you hold or the fancy letters tailing your name.

Instead, it’s about a relentless quest to solve problems. This can happen on a towering, billion-dollar project, or right in the snug basement of your folks’ home. What counts is a fiery passion for your craft, fueled by endless nights spent untangling a tricky problem.

Maybe the problem you crack could flip the world on its head, or perhaps it simply scratches your personal curiosity itch. Regardless, a curious mind is a formidable force to reckon with. As the wise Albert Einstein put it,

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

Why did you become an engineer? Knowing what you know now, would you tweak anything about your career choice?


Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox

Leave a Comment