Engineering technology is critical to America’s and the world’s economic development. Nonetheless, it is a discipline that few people know or fully comprehend.
This is one of the key findings of a 2017 Engineering Technology Education report, which was presented in Washington, DC, to members of the House Manufacturing Caucus and the Senate Competitiveness Caucus. According to the report, while workers in the field of engineering technology (E.T.) play an important role in supporting the United States’ technical infrastructure and the country’s capacity for innovation, there is little awareness of E.T. as a field of study or category of employment.
In this article, we’ll try to restore the balance by defining terms and going deeper into engineering technologists’ responsibilities and tasks in today’s economy.
What is Engineering Technology ? Definition
Engineer, technologist, and technician are terms that are frequently used interchangeably. While there are significant overlaps between these disciplines, there are also clear distinctions.
Engineering and technology share a common foundation of knowledge in math, science, engineering, and design principles, both in theory and practice. An engineer is in charge of a project’s research, analysis, design, and development during the engineering process. Engineers’ abilities are primarily conceptual, necessitating a grasp of complex math, science, and the fundamental principles of physical design.
Engineering technology can be defined as engineering’s “practical applications arm.” Once a project engineer has determined that an idea is theoretically feasible within the physical world’s parameters, the technologist’s main task is translating the engineer’s idea into practical reality. The technologist typically performs several tasks related to testing, evaluation, production, and technical analysis to apply engineering principles in a tangible, “real-world” manner.
Technicians are distinct from both engineers and technologists. Engineering technicians ensure that all machines used for a specific project are fully functional and operating by the technologist’s real-world modifications to the engineer’s conceptual designs.
In a nutshell, the engineer creates designs, the technologist figures out how to make those designs solid in the real world, and the technician ensures that the necessary technology is operational throughout the process.
Laboratory exploration is the foundation of Engineering Technology academic programs. Typically, technical studies are supplemented by lab exercises in which students learn to operate cutting-edge scientific and technological equipment and appreciate its capabilities and limitations.
A four-year bachelor’s degree is usually required for aspiring engineering technologists. While four-year engineering programs typically emphasize high-level math and theoretical science, university-level engineering technology programs emphasize practical mathematics and applied science. Furthermore, bachelor’s degrees in engineering technology are primarily concerned with applying specific engineering techniques.
A specialized bachelor’s degree in engineering technology is available at some universities. Generally, tertiary-level engineering technologist programs prepare students for entry-level positions in product development, manufacturing, product assurance, and program management.
Master’s degree programs prepare E.T. professionals to work with greater autonomy, perform more complex tasks, or advance into supervisory roles. Such courses are available at traditional universities and online for technologists looking to advance their skills or adapt to the changing engineering landscape.
Engineering Technology’s Historical Applications
The engineering profession has its roots in ancient times. Many structures and inventions were strategically planned and built by specialist workers who would today be classified as engineers beginning around 2600 B.C. These individuals were in charge of designing and constructing both “street level” projects and the ancient world’s wonders.
As this infographic from the School of P.E. website shows, the discipline has evolved significantly since then.
What Is the Importance of Engineering Technology Today?
According to the report The Role of Engineering Technology in Education Today, which was submitted to the United States Congress by eight members of a panel convened on Capitol Hill, nearly 94,000 four-year engineering degrees, nearly 18,000 four-year E.T. degrees, and more than 34,000 two-year E.T. degrees (the formal qualification standard for engineering technicians) were awarded in the United States in 2014. (According to the most recent data available, over 116,000 bachelor’s degrees in engineering and 17,159 in engineering technologies were conferred between 2016 and 2017.)
A survey of nearly 250 employers of engineering technicians and technologists was conducted by the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report. Thirty percent of those polled had never heard of E.T. education. Furthermore, one-third of respondents said they needed to learn the difference between engineers and engineering technologists work.
The National Science Foundation funded the study, and the report’s recommendations suggested that the organization fund research into the factors influencing enrollment, retention, and graduation in engineering technology. Furthermore, the study concluded that more research was needed to understand better the reasons for the seemingly shaky relationship between degree attainment and employment in E.T.
Understanding why black students graduate at a higher rate from E.T. programs than from engineering programs and why fewer women are represented in E.T. than in engineering, for example, may allow programs in both domains to attract better and retain more diverse student populations.
The report concludes that raising awareness and improving the educational ecosystem are critical tasks.
“The United States’ innovation economy, like all others around the world, is dependent on highly educated engineers, engineering technologists, and technicians,” said C. D. (Dan) Mote, Jr., President of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).
Engineering Technologists: Job Opportunities
Graduates with a degree in engineering technology should have a variety of skills. A strong understanding of mechanical or digital concepts and tools, real-world problem-solving skills, the ability to communicate effectively and collaborate with others, and a willingness to think outside the box are all required. Graduates of E.T. programs are excellent candidates for jobs in the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
As engineering applications spread across industries and market sectors, there is a growing demand for qualified analysts, designers, technicians, and technologists. This Zippia.com screenshot depicts the major career paths for engineering technologists, which lead to dozens of potential positions.
- What is the job of a technology engineer?
Engineering technology graduates create, design, and implement engineering and technology solutions, usually working in manufacturing firms on design, construction, and product improvement.
- What is the distinction between engineering and engineering technology?
Engineering and engineering technology are two related fields that focus on using math and physics to create new devices. On the other hand, engineering technology is more concerned with how engineering principles can be practically applied in everyday life.
Recruits with an E.T. qualification demonstrate to employers an understanding of the key aspects of problem-solving in a real-world setting, as well as familiarity with the capabilities of cutting-edge technology. As a result, the future of engineering technology employment looks promising.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 139,300 new engineering job openings are expected between 2016 and 2026. Their services will be in high demand in infrastructure rebuilding, renewable energy, and robotics. Because of the modern world’s fast-changing nature, new technologies will be required to respond to humanity’s changing needs – and more engineers, technicians, and technologists will be required to deliver them.
Engineering technology is critical to America’s and the world’s economic development. Engineering and technology share a common foundation of knowledge in math, science, engineering, and design principles, both in theory and practice. An engineer is in charge of a project’s research, analysis, design, and development during the engineering process.
Engineers’ abilities are primarily conceptual, necessitating a grasp of complex math, science, and the fundamental principles of physical design. Engineering technology can be defined as engineering’s “practical applications arm.” Once a project engineer has determined that an idea is theoretically feasible within the physical world’s parameters, the technologist’s main task is translating the engineer’s idea into practical reality.
Essentially, the engineer creates designs, the technologist figures out how to make those designs solid in the real world, and the technician ensures that the necessary technology is operational throughout the process.