Unforgiving engineering

Paul McGowan writes:

One thing I like about engineering is its honesty. Circuits do not care what your opinion or mood are, they either work or they don’t.

If I have a strong conviction on a subject I can search for supporting opinions and find them—lots of them—bolstering my belief whether right or wrong according to facts. (Yes, there are still facts in this world). But engineering doesn’t allow me that luxury. No matter how hard I might try to convince a P-type transistor that it is really an N, the circuit laughs in my face.

Good engineering practice demands attention to detail and a refreshing and unforgiving honesty that I find both maddening and envigorating depending on which side of success I am on. When a circuit refuses to cooperate and you can’t figure out why it can be one of the most frustrating experiences imaginable. But, when the truth is uncovered, the circuit’s secrets revealed, the satisfaction of a job well done is extraordinary. Something those who have not faced engineering’s relentless demands for truth will likely ever experience.

There are few things in this world that require so much from us but, in exchange, offer so much back.

The hard-won beauty of engineering lies in its unforgiving nature.

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