29 Replies Latest reply on Dec 8, 2016 2:55 AM by peterjcs23

    What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?

    jlucas

      Engineering CareersAs we're using this space to explore the various routes towards turning a passion for engineering into a business, I thought it might be interesting to hear from members who have already made, or are in the process of making that leap.

       

      • Were you a childhood enthusiast or did your interest come later in life?
      • Was it your first career path, or did you switch from something else?
      • What attracted you to your chosen field of specialism - special interest, career opportunities, salary?
      • Did you gain a professional qualification at University or go back for mature/post-graduate study?
      • Did you experience any setbacks or personal doubts about making engineering your profession?

       

      Share your stories in the comments section below, we may collate the most interesting answers for a feature later down the line.

       

      Happy Friday!

        • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
          dezbaz

          Good question

          When I was young, I used to make torches using wood, nails and alfoil

          Then helicopters from toilet rolls and masking tape

          I always wanted to be an electronics tech or an electrician

           

          Never ever had a doubt

          At school I chose subjects which would get me there

          • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
            jack.chaney56

            ...sort of a family business. My dad was an EE for "The Phone Company" from after he left the military (WWII). My brother is mechanical, and I am embedded systems. I was pretty good in math and most of the sciences, so engineering seemed like a good fit. That, along with the knowledge that, as an engineer, you never get super rich, but you can always have a job, made the choice pretty logical. But the question is "what drove you to engineering"... When asked "How did you find America?" by a reporter, John Lennon said "We made a left at Greenland"... so to answer "what drove you to engineering" it was the family station wagon

             

            Jack

             

            I just reread the list of items, and it is more of a survey, so to answer "all" the questions,..

            • My brother and I used to wrap wire around nails and hook them up to a battery to make electromagnets
            • Not my first, I spent 9 years in the restaurant business.
            • Computers, led to video games, led to control systems
            • Went back to school and got a BS in computer science
            • Never about choosing engineering, several about the choice of companies

            To a person, engineers are the most interesting people I encounter. Confrontation is in the form of intellectual discussion, and not personal attack, mostly because someone thinks they have a better solution.

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
              swguru

              When I was 15 in 1982 my father offered me to be electronic expert so I went to a high school like that. There I met the first computer in my life and I knew this is the aim of my life. First I bought a book called 'Microcomputer elements for engineering', learnt that and wanted to design an own computer. I realised that I would need a lots of money so started to learn programming. My own first computer was a ZX Spectrum and I wrote programs in basic and later assembly.

               

              My first big adventure was when I got my first job in 1986, writing an operation system for an embedded computer powered by Z80. I wrote everything on my Speccy and burnt the EPROM with that too. Later I had to change to PC and writing softwares only.

               

              Now I am 49 and still an active software developer.

              • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                John Beetem

                I'm going to answer the question "What drew you to a career in engineering?"

                 

                Simple answer: "Born Engineer".  I'll illustrate with two stories my mother told me, since I was too young to remember either one myself.

                 

                1.  When I was around 3 or 4, my parents took me to the University of California Berkeley Botanical Gardens.  They expected me to enjoy the beautiful trees and flowers and chirping birds.  Nope.  Instead I discovered the irrigation system, and ran around figuring out where all the pipes went.  Great practice for dealing with multi-layer PC boards

                 

                2.  Around the same age, my mother put me in a nursery school for a while.  I had always lived in a mostly-student neighborhood near campus with no other children except my older sister.  Mother was (correctly) concerned that I wasn't developing social skills and hoped that nursery school would teach me to play with other children.  Well, that didn't work.  I found the school's collection of jigsaw puzzles and proceeded to assemble them one after another.  The other children might fiddle with a puzzle, but quickly got bored and went outside to race around and butt their heads together.  The teachers were amazed at how long I would concentrate on a puzzle, and were more amazed that I would put the puzzle away when I had finished it.  Non-social introversion plus ability to concentrate are great for a future with computers.

                 

                My parents are both humanities types: Art History and English Lit.  The engineering gene came from my grandfather, whom I never knew.  He was a chief engineer on oil ships, back in the day when at sea you were on your own and the chief engineer had to be able to fix anything or the ship would be stranded.

                • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                  phcoupe

                  when as a young boy i saw ilve on tv neil amstrong walking on the moon i immediately wanted to be an engineer...
                  After 30 years as an engineer and project manager i never had to work for any space related project but it happen 2 or 3 times a year that i teach system engineering. lean engineering and project management to engineer from the space industry...

                  • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                    hoeben

                    Already at primary school I learnt what a transformer is and how to calculate the windings. But I had other options and hobbies too. Playing/making/writing music, interested in biology, physics. There were choices. The only thing I was not built for was bookkeeping/accounting, that is why I have a bookkeeper (own my own companies).

                     

                    When did electronics really start? I think at the age of 11. Choosing it as study was around 18 years.

                     

                    To grow you also need to learn other things, project management (also when you do your own projects), communication and languages. But also insight in physics, mechanics and how companies work is useful. All that can be learnt, especially project management.

                     

                    And right now developing electronics & firmware for the worlds first licensed flying car...

                    • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                      DAB

                      I was always inquisitive and interested in science.

                       

                      Then I discovered that it was the engineers who got to build and use the best toys, so off to Tech School I went.

                       

                      After graduating, I got a great job in a lab where I had lasers, image digitizers, computers, electronics galore to play with all day.

                       

                      I went back to school and earned a BS in Computer Engineering because I quickly saw that you needed both electronics and computing skills for the next generation of tools.

                       

                      I eventually picked up a masters in Computer Science and had a great career working on cutting edge prototypes for advanced avionics equipment.

                       

                      So I never regretted going into engineering.  I still had lots of exposure to science and got to work on terrific projects.

                       

                      After I was disabled and forced to retire, I have spent my time still doing science and anyone who has read my book can attest that I propose some interesting alternatives to quantum Physics.

                       

                      DAB

                      • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                        the-dubster

                        In a similar vein to johnbeetem I guess we all knew I'd do something like this when I was but a nipper. Again, too young to remember (and therefore be accountable for my actions), but my mother told me they would often find 'bits' lying around! Screws, bolts etc (I have NO idea where I got the tools (or indeed strength) from to undo a screw from a door hinge - but apparently I did.

                        They'd figure out where the 'bits' came from when stuff fell off!

                        Taking stuff apart to see how it works has always interested me - as have the drawings of Heath Robinson - as I grew so did my interest (and command of far larger tools - you can take BIG stuff apart with those)!

                         

                        At Primary School I LOVED the various building stuff they had like 'Connecta Straws', Lego, Stickle-Bricks, Meccano etc - I would try to build 'stuff', not just the random collection of guff most kids did - I wanted my builds to be or do something.

                         

                        I was fortunate enough to be at secondary school in the early 80's - home computers were here and the syllabus included 'Computer Studies' - many hours spent bashing away on the BBC Model B at 'Sixth Form College', day release to the local Polytechnic (and a now totally pointless understanding of how ferrite core (magnetic core) memory works). My good Physics grade lead to a natural (to me at least) progression to taking Electronics along with Computer Studies in the Sixth Form.

                         

                        I've already covered what got me into Electronics directly, so I won't bore you (more) here . . .

                         

                        The next step towards a career was an unusual one, I was too lazy to get around to filling out the application form to work at GEC-Marconi in Coventry (thankfully) - by the time I sent it it was too late, most of our year were now 'happily' employed ramming endless components into countless PCBs . . . . . .  So, no job, no real direction and then it was my birthday - at school - and as any kid from the UK in the 80s knows, birthday = 'the bumps'!

                        'Where is this going?' I hear you cry, bear with me!

                         

                        Now, the guys dishing out 'the bumps' were an unsavoury lot, and the severity of the bumps was indirectly proportional to your level of popularity; I was not overly popular, being a bit of a scrawny (and endlessly annoying) little brat, so I was expecting more of a 'kicking', (worse than the bumps and not at all friendly).

                         

                        Coupled with recent information that they had meted out their particular form of birthday torture on one of their own - and put him in the hospital with a broken collarbone - I opted to do what any sane child would - I hid!! My chosen hiding place was inspired, where would a bunch of local, moronic, halfwitted, bullying thugs never look for me? The school Careers Information Office, where I stumbled upon some information regarding my love of electronics and computers and how a life in the military offered training, travel . . . . etc.

                         

                        25 years later I left the RAF having worked on everything from the venerable Avro Shackleton, English Electric Canberra and Armstrong Whitworth Argosy (in training), through the Panavia Tornado GR4 and F2/F3 and finally the Eurofighter Typhoon whilst serving. Training was indeed provided - and I got paid during it too!! Win! I did travel a little, 3 times to the South Atlantic - Falkland Islands! Yay!

                         

                        Gotta* say I loved it by and large     *('Contractual Obligation' apparently - comes with a 1/4 century of military life or so I'm told)!

                         

                        I now teach others how to fix the Typhoon in my day job (now I DO love that job almost ALL the time), at home I still love to take stuff apart to see how it works.

                         

                        I even get around to putting it back together occasionally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

                        • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                          retiredpilot14

                          Re:  What drove you to a career in Engineering.

                           

                          Following my mandatory retirement from the airline Industry at age 60, I spent the first seven to eight years wondering what to do with my life.  Following a few days tinkering with an old computer that I had on hand the remains had become spread out before me.  Instead of brushing the remains away, a light in my mind came on that would guide me into the magical world of electronics.  I had lived in a world of electronics throughout my aviation career.  Along with aeronautical theory, hydraulics, air, fuel, navigation, etc.  The difference from then to now is based on a users need to know versus the in depth knowledge that's exists following electrical flow through resistors, transistors, pc boards and on and on and on.  I'm a proponent of the KISS principle and still, the fascinating world of electronics provides me endless hours of discovery.

                           

                          My social life has changed along with my newfound interests.  I've joined the Element14 Community.  My reading list is being satisfied through Safaribooksonline.  The Respberry Pi and Arduino websites are paid daily visits.  My introduction to Python competes with the time I enjoy with my wife (She still tells me to put the book down).  For the first time since retirement I am happy with what I'm doing.

                           

                          A career in Engineering?  I suppose it all rests in the "eye of the beholder".  It's doubtful that I will ever see a dime come my way in this new profession.  However, I will be rich in the knowledge.  I ask for nothing else.

                          • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                            bendacoder

                            I have a legacy to fulfill. My grandfather was a civil engineer, my father has a PhD. in civil engineering and is currently a Software Engineer, and I decided to become and electronics engineer. I am hoping that if I have children, at least one of them becomes an engineer.

                            • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                              texadactyl

                              My first 026 punched card of my first assembly language program in 1966 as an undergrad student did it to me.  I was hooked on software engineering from that day on.

                              • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                                oksbwn

                                As a kid I always enjoyed opening up toys rather then playing with those to get to know the tech inside those..Back then it was just fun for me...As i grew i got attracted towards electronics and electrical stuffs.. I still remember when I was a kid I used to visit electronic stores ask them "Give me the stuff that glows and comes with TV,DVD" as I didn't know those are called LED. As i grew i learned more about those ..spent hours on internet to know and learn electronics stuffs....Big thanks to google...

                                • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                                  otakucode

                                  WARNING:  I am loquatious.  That means I talk a lot.  I am not brief.  This reply is not brief.  You have been warned.  If words scare you, please skip.

                                   

                                  That's an easy question for me.  The second I discovered that I, a 9 year old kid, could make a computer do things, I was hooked.  It was instant from the moment I wrote and ran the following program:

                                   

                                  10 PRINT "I LOVE YOU MOM!"

                                  20 GOTO 10

                                   

                                  That is all it took.  I ran it, and the screen filled with a message for my mom over and over and I called her into the room and showed her what I did.  She didn't know anything about computers, neither did my dad.  I just had the 2 books on BASIC that came with the Vic-20.  I started carrying them with me everywhere I went and planned grand text adventure games (with combat!).  From that point on, I would buy Computer Shopper magazine regularly and just pour over the advertisements, imagining what kind of computer I would buy if I had the money.  I found a 1-800 number you could call and they would send you a free disk with shareware on it.  I called and got it.  Mind you, I did not have a computer which I could actually USE the disk in.  The Vic-20 only had a cassette tape drive.  I got the disk and carried it with me everywhere.  I used it as a bookmark and just loved to toy with it, flipping the little metal cover back and forth.

                                   

                                  When I was a kid, my family was pretty poor.  I grew up in the northern panhandle of West Virginia.  My dad was a coal miner when I was little, but he got laid off when the mine he worked at closed.  He also worked at a metal stamping plant and some other places, but we never had much money.  When I was 11, though, my parents took out a second mortgage on their home and used the money to do home improvements and buy new appliances we needed (stove, refrigerator, stuff like that).  Part of that money went to buying our first "real" computer.  A 386 SX which ran at 33MHz.  It ran DOS (5.0 I'm pretty sure) and Windows 3.1.  It was the 'family computer', but I spent pretty much every waking hour on it.  I immediately started saving my money and saved the $90 necessary to purchase the retail version of Microsoft QuickBASIC 4.5.  Unlike the QBASIC which came with DOS, with QuickBASIC you got a real compiler with a linker and everything.

                                   

                                  I got a modem and got involved in local dialup BBS'.  I started writing a collection of commandline utility programs for DOS.  When I ran into trouble, or when I just wanted to talk about things, I could post on the message forums where I could talk to other people, almost all of them adults but they had no idea I was a kid.  It was fantastic.  Being able to interact with others as an equal was totally thrilling.  Before going into 7th grade, we had to read Huckleberry Finn.  One of the local BBS' (I never called long distance ones because they cost money) had an early copy of the Project Gutenberg collection, and it included Huckleberry Finn.  I got it and tried to read it.  My trusty text file reading program, LIST.COM (I imagine somebody might remember it), barfed.  The file was too big and it wouldn't work.

                                   

                                  So, I wrote my own text file reader!  I quickly ran into a problem, though.  It was too slow.  I asked for help on the BBS' and somebody said I should look into programming in assembly.  Looking back on it I'm not sure if that person was joking.  But that is exactly what I did.  Just like when I was 9, I did not know that other people saw this as something difficult, I just approached it as 'if you learn it, then you know it'.  I wrote my own text-drawing and screen-scrolling functions in assembly, linking them to the executable produced from QuickBASIC.  And it was fast enough to keep up!  That made me realize there were big benefits to understanding exactly how the computer was working when I was telling it what to do.

                                   

                                  I got Internet access in 1990 when I was 12 and in 7th grade.  We weren't allowed to take the computers class until 9th grade, but there was a BBS run by the Board of Education and you had to get a teacher to send in a recommendation email to get better than hardly-anything access, so I went during lunch to talk to that teacher.  He got myself and a friend of mine, the only other kid I knew who had a computer (computers brought us together, and I was the best man at his wedding and am godfather to his kids now.. dogsitting his dog right now in fact!), the access but he also got us involved in this project he was doing with AT&T.  It connected students at different schools all over the country and let us send batches of questions back and forth.  We let him know that the local prison actually ran a BBS, and put the teacher in touch with the guy who ran that BBS.  Through him and the BBS, we were able to offer the other kids in the project the opportunity to ask questions to be submitted to the prisoners in the penitentiary.  The teacher ended up winning the AT&T Technology Teacher of the Year award for the project and it's actually archived on CD at the Smithsonian.  That teacher also got us Internet access through dialing up to a mainframe at a local college.  Entirely text based.  No web at all.  Gopher, email, usenet, and telnet primarily.  No search engines.  It was FANTASTIC.  The mainframe was a VAX running VMS, a Unix-like OS, so I had to learn that to get around.  My friend and I split the large task of downloading a very early release of Slackware Linux onto DOZENS of floppy disks.  It probably took us a month or more before we had the whole thing and copies for each of us.

                                   

                                  From that initial rush at 9 years old I have never wavered.  I got my first job when I was 15 years old, being sysop for a dialup BBS a local businessman ran for realtors.  Then I did some web development for him.  His brothers owned a remailing company that used a lot of computers, so I got hired by them once I was 16 and able to drive, doing various computer things from writing utilities to help the secretaries report the mail sorting machine MICR numbers to the postal service to producing a newsletter for their customers, but mostly doing data format conversion and data cleanup on mailing lists that their customers would give to them.  I worked there part-time until I finished high school.  I even ended up being talked about in an article in the New York Times.  It was an article about kids who were getting jobs in technology really young.  That was pretty cool.

                                   

                                  There was never any doubt that I would go to college and study computer science.  My grades weren't great in high school, because I rarely did homework.  I spent most of my time programming and learning how to do more advanced things.  I learned trigonometry a year earlier than it was taught in school because I wanted to do some 3D graphics stuff.  So when I went to a school whose computer science department had a competitive scholarship which tested a persons aptitude for programming-esque thinking skills, I aced the tests and won the scholarship easily.  It was a school nearby, so I commuted.  I also worked as a mainframe operator at a datacenter for a bank in the evenings the whole time I was in college.  My family wasn't as poor as they were when I was young, but we still weren't rich by any stretch.  I never would have been able to go to the college I went to, a decent private school, without the scholarship and working while attending.  I actually studied computer science and philosophy.  Unfortunately I was not able to complete my philosophy degree because the final required course was scheduled at the exact same time as my final required course for my CS degree.  That was very disappointing.  And yes, I got weird looks all the time for studying that combination of subjects.

                                   

                                  Right after graduation, I got hired by a contracting company to work at the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services office in Clarksburg, WV.  It's the place where they run IAFIS, the system that processes background checks and fingerprints.  I got hired on a software engineer and went to work on part of IAFIS, eventually ending up working on the billing system which produces bills for around $40 million worth of transactions a month (criminal background checks done by law enforcement are free, but commercial companies can do background checks for employers and stuff and they have to pay).  Was a very interesting job working on one of the biggest systems in the nation in terms of data volume.  It's also always interesting when some of your system requirements, including things like response times, are literally federal law!  I worked there for 15 years.

                                   

                                  About a year and a half ago, I quit my job.  I did not have another job lined up, nor do I intend to ever pursue one.  I struck out on my own and do custom software engineering jobs on contract.  I work almost entirely from home over the Internet, and thanks to the low cost of living here in West Virginia I really don't even have to work very much to be able to make ends meet (I still do though, I was just surprised to find how little was necessary to just cover the necessities).  This is the future that was promised to me by the technology evangelists when I was an adolescent in the 1990s.  It is real, and it is only going to spread.  Computers and the Internet are what I do, and a large part of who I am.  Technology empowers us in ways that society has a hard time dealing with.  It's pretty insane that the introduction of computers to the workplace resulted in wages basically freezing (and they are still frozen), the death of fiscal mobility in the US, etc alongside skyrocketing productivity increases and profit multipliers for companies.  When the companies and the employees start to realize that the employees don't NEED the companies any more... things are going to get quite interesting.

                                  • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                                    phoenixcomm

                                    I love it... Well, this is how the story goes...

                                    A long time ago, when I was 2 maybe we moved from New York City to Long Branch in New Jersey. I saw my Mom and Dad tieing up thing with string and cutting it with a pair of scissors. Well as the story goes, I got ahold of the scissors and went under the desk with them, and proceeded to cut the vacuum cleaners wire. There was this large blue flash of light, I jumped up and hit my head on the desk, and started to scream. Well anyway, there is this pretty  notch in my Mom's good scissors to this day. I am still a little nut still when I rattled my brains under that damn desk.

                                    In Long Branch, my Dad worked as a microwave instructor and brought home TMs (Training Manual) and would take them in the bathroom and read, color them.  Time passes...

                                    The 50's was such a cool time to grow up in from Space to the A-Bomb,  I loved growing up near Radio Row in NYC, and surplus stuff, which was replaced by the "Twin Towers", later leveled again in 9/11.

                                    I guess I built my first computer back in high school out of relays and DTLogic, Diode-Transistor Logic, and used Telephone Rotary Stepping Relays, for addressing and 'Form-H' relays for memory.

                                    I later went in the Air Force. What can I say LOVE IT!

                                    • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                                      dontletthesmokeout

                                      I have always made things for as long as I can remember.  I picture a finished project then love learning how to make it. 

                                      I don't know what I'm doing when it comes this kind of engineering but thanks to this community I am  learning to create my magnum opus which I have been working on for about 5 years.

                                      • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                                        grahamwebberjhb

                                        My entry into the field is a little unusual and I am not sure that it is where I will stay...

                                         

                                        Like most of the posts here I grew-up taking things apart, sometimes putting things back together, and sometimes re-purposing components. I never really thought about engineering or had a clear career path in mind, I still do not.

                                        After school I went to university and chose subject for interest sake rather than career opportunities, I ended up majouring in Physics and Computer science, though from that vantage point all software jobs where for code monkeys and in the commerce world, as a founding member of the unofficial society for the Prevention and Rehabilitation of Charted Accountants, I was not interested in a career in mainstream software development.

                                         

                                        entering the job market in 2010 was not easy as the economic turmoil meant that the job market was flooded with professionals with actual experience. I took up a job as a process technician at a cable manufacturing company, the first job offer I got. It was interesting I did cable designs for high power cable, telephone copper and fiber optic cable, though after a few months I had written software that did 80% of my job description. I was in a different league to my peers and quickly got bored (this seems to be a common theme). I always enjoyed learning electronics and self studied electronics and embedded software development. So I figured, why not let some one pay me to learn more? I moved into an electronic engineer position at a new company, got bored there moved again to an embedded developer in a Linux environment, got bored and am not moving to a RF specialist position.

                                         

                                        In retrospect the boredom I experienced has little to do with the actual engineering, and more to do with the industry, and perhaps my flexibility to become adept at any task relatively quickly. I rapidly became the go to guy for any task that was not specifically assigned to some one. Career one - I became the repairman for all the test equipment in the quality control department because I helped the maintenance team fix one machine once, after that it became my problem "because you are the one who know the machine" or "we need to get this out now and maintenance will have to call the service center". Its fun to fix something once, its like an adult size toaster to take apart. similar things happened at career two, third time is the charm I now fiercely defend my engineering time.

                                         

                                        The engineering industry here is way out dated, we have stringent working hours and have to clock in and out, essentially treated like high paid labour. The freedom and trust that software companies give their employees is the only reason I sometime consider moving in that direction.

                                         

                                        One last thought I feel that while there are many career opportunities for a person with strong problem solving abilities, engineering allows more creative freedom than other field.

                                        • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                                          jcanales688

                                          Hola Jhon:

                                           

                                          Mi respuesta a tu pregunta es que siempre me gusto el tema de la tecnología, por que considere que era una forma de salir del sub desarrollo,

                                          y por que la ingeniería es una especialidad que ayuda mucho al ser humano ya que recuerda que aplicado a la medicina como la Bionica tiene una aplicación muy buena en el campo social.

                                          Hay Muchas cosas mas que te podria añadir pero no quiero cansarte, me despido con un fuerte abrazo.

                                           

                                          Jose Canales Galvez

                                          Lima Peru

                                          • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                                            jw0752

                                            Hi John,

                                            I have never considered my self an engineer but rather a technician. I started my journey very early by taking everything I could get my hands on apart to see how it worked. Though I have spent most of my life repairing electro-mechanical equipment my mother once told me I would probably never make up for all the stuff I broke in the first 10 years of my life. So be it, all I can do is try.

                                             

                                            As I walk through life I constantly see things that are not right or need to be fixed. It is not unusual for me to stop to tighten screws on door handles or other items as I pass them. My ever present best friend Millie has learned to put up with me and has taken to helping me spot things that are not right. How many of you guys have wives that can tell you when they hear a different noise coming from the car engine or from the washing machine. Millie has a keen sense of the electro-mechanical and if she had had the opportunity would have made a good engineer. Together we have designed and brought to market 3 simple products that are currently being sold to Dentists all over the USA.

                                             

                                            Perhaps the closest I come to being an Engineer is that I am a Re-engineer. I am almost never satisfied with a tool or product as it comes from the manufacturer. Perhaps, because I often use tools for different purposes that they were intended I will always be grinding and changing things to better suit my needs. For better or worse I am usually happier with the products after they have been customized for me.

                                             

                                            My hero as I grew up was a character in an obscure SciFi story, a repairman who could take ordinary objects and repair them past their original design to the point where they reached their full potential. While the details of the story now escape me I do remember that after fixing a simple walkie talkie it was able to communicate with spacecraft in orbit. I also thought Larry Niven's and Jerry Pourmelle's, Motie tool makers were pretty cool too. This brings up the interesting point, perhaps, if I had read technical manuals in the first 15 years of my life instead of SciFi books I would have made it to the lofty heights of Engineer but alas I was probably 15 before I swore off SciFi in favor of Physics and Electronic texts.

                                             

                                            Since my retirement 5 years ago I have focused my attention on improving my foundation in electronics. Little by little I have learned from my many mentors on this site. This has happened directly by asking questions and indirectly by just looking over their shoulders at what they have done or from their responses to someone else's question. Like retiredpilot14 I have found a great challenge in the pursuit of this knowledge and in my case it is very doubtful that I will ever get to the point of being able to generate more than a pittance from my efforts but that is no longer the point.

                                             

                                            John W.

                                            • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                                              amigaamigo

                                              Curiosity is what has drive me to a life of engineering.  At an early age I wasn't just happy with playing with my toys I had to know how they worked. Frequently they would end up in pieces as I explored there inner workings (Such is the fate of my molenium falcon). This was further encouraged by exposure to and hacking of the commodore 64. I didn't relive it at the time but watching my best friends father bend this piece of hardware to his will with osiliscopes and wires and switches unlocking it's many puzzles and prizes had a long lasting impression. As I aged I was driven to a career as a cryptologist. I further developed into a cryptologic maintenance (electronic technician ) career.  As fate would have it I moved into a position in the petrochemical industry. Learning the technical aspects of reforming and cryogenic separation. This then transformed into a mechanical engineering fancy. I have rolled all of this experience into a successful  field service position In the air gas industry. I travel from site to site building repairing and troubleshooting just about anything. Comercial air compressors programable logic controllers, instrumentation, Hv/ac systems metal fabrication. To me there is nothing more satisfying then taking a blank space and filling it with bits of metal and electronics and leaving it with a fully functional production facility.

                                              • Re: What Drove You Towards a Career in Engineering?
                                                peterjcs23

                                                I like the process of problem solving by analysis and calculation.