Opportunities in engineering careers by Nicholas Basta

By Nicholas Basta

Describes the diversity of careers on hand in the box of engineering, discusses classical and glossy engineering specialties in addition to engineering know-how, and explains how one can turn into an engineer.

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What does this mean? In a major study published in 1988, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) considered this question. S. Congress that examines political issues in a technological context. It regularly issues reports on new technologies in areas such as health care, communications, pollution control, or education. In the 1988 report, entitled Technology and the American Economic Transition, OTA looked at how Americans live and work. They found a complex set of networks, an interconnected web of businesses, economic activities, and people.

Page vii Foreword Engineering is by far the largest of the scientific and technical professions. Indeed, of all professions, only elementary and secondary school teachers outnumber engineers. Given the sheer size of the field and the enormous variety of attractive positions open to its practitioners, one might expect that it would not be too difficult to find good information about engineering careers, but in fact it is not easy to find accurate guidance to the field. The abbreviated material in encyclopedias and such references as the Occupational Outlook Handbook are not bad, but people pondering lifetime commitments to a career deserve much more.

Most college-level science programs are designed to prepare the student for work in a laboratory or for graduate school. Engineering programs are designed to prepare students for work in business and industry, with opportunities ranging from design to production to sales. This diver- Page 9 sity is one of the reasons why there are so many more employment opportunities for engineering students immediately after graduation. Methods On another level, the difference between engineering and science is one of philosophy.

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