• Question: When did you realize that you wanted to be an engineer??????

    Asked by lilyrose5 to Andy, Bill, Grant, Kayleigh, Rain on 13 Mar 2012. This question was also asked by wainwrh01, henry, billydyer281197, nadenator, josh4597, oxojamoxo, mckenzie2468, noel1803, oliver98, obafail01, cameront1234, imnotaengineer, afurber, aramis97, 11elllyor4, 11laugaur3, panashe4eva, sroberts, joelyons, rodaway2482, onedirection09.
    • Photo: Andrew Hearn

      Andrew Hearn answered on 12 Mar 2012:

      (I really like this question lilyrose!) I wish I could say that I woke up suddenly one morning with a light bulb switching on in my head that I had to be an engineer to save the world!

      Pity, and unfortunately(!), it is more of a slow realisation over several years, that I loved the feeling when I solved a hard problem and made things work. (Even now, in my job, I wish I could jump on my desk or bench and do a small dance when I’ve finally solved a hard and crazy problem – but of course I can’t do that, the security guys will have to escort me off the site if I did that!)

      At school, my computing teachers used to give us some maths questions to try and find some formula or whatever, I usually ended up doing “cool” graphics (though when I was at school, the computer graphics and monitors were really rubbish, nothing like today!) and it was very rewarding to see things in action away from a boring question (yeah, the teachers secretly *wanted* to let me continue but they had to force me back to the class and pay attention to the next question!).

      So it is this process of getting a question or idea, and doing something with it in whatever I thought is the best way, and getting something happening straight away that makes the time fly!

    • Photo: Bill Price

      Bill Price answered on 12 Mar 2012:

      Hi Lilyrose; I think i got interested when I was 16. I had always been interested in making things and working with materials like wood, metal, plastic etc. I chopped stuff up, drilled things, glued things and nailed things.

      At about this time I needed to think about 6th form and A levels. I remember meeting a thing called a Civil Engineer (a pal of my dad’s) and he explained that he was a bridge engineer and had worked in the UK and abroad. He was obviously quite excited about what he did and I guess that inspired me a bit. I thought that sounded great so I began to think about how to do something similar. This confirmed my choice of Maths and Physics as A levels and potentially applying to University to do Civil Engineering. So what you might try Tiger Lily, is to meet some people face to face that you could talk to and try to understand what they do and how they got there. Hows that?

    • Photo: Rain Irshad

      Rain Irshad answered on 13 Mar 2012:

      I’m not sure that I ever really did. I wanted to be an astronaut and I needed Maths and Physics for that. Then I did a degree in Physics because I’d get to learn more about space than if I did anything else. As I went through university I realised that I found it more satisfying to make things than just model them on a computer, and if I couldn’t go into space, at least I could make things that did and explore that way. So I went to study Instrumentation Systems, which is a technical term for ‘playing with kit’.

      Now I’m really pleased I chose the Engineering route – it can be frustrating, because kit can’t tell you what’s wrong with it, so it sometimes takes forever to figure out why something’s not working, but it’s a really good feeling when you’ve made something from scratch that does amazing things in space.

    • Photo: Kayleigh Messer

      Kayleigh Messer answered on 18 Mar 2012:

      It wasn’t until I was about 17 when I was trying to decide what degree I wanted to do at university that I even found out about engineering as a career and that’s when I decided that it was for me!

      Up until then I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up, I didn’t know what I wanted to study at university, just that I wanted to get a degree to help me get a good job.

      I ordered a stack of prospectuses from university websites and spent my summer between AS and A levels sat in the garden, circling anything that seemed appealing. That’s when I stumbled across engineering degrees and that seemed the most exciting and interesting option.

    • Photo: Grant Cairnie

      Grant Cairnie answered on 19 Mar 2012:

      My careers advisor gave me some suggestions one day about Universities and what I could do in the future and ever since then I liked the idea. I always liked cars and my goal was to work with them from about the middle of my secondary education. I just picked my studies to suit after that and the rest fell into place.