Mulling over potential book chapters

All right, so if I’m to author a book about engineering careers (intended for high-schoolers and their non-engineer parents), I need some sort of rough outline to serve as a starting point. To that end I’m mulling over some potential chapters topics (all of which currently come to me in question form…):

  • What is engineering?
  • What do engineers do?
  • What aptitudes are found in engineers?
  • Which engineering sub-discipline should I choose?
  • Is engineering a good career choice?
  • What training do engineers require?
  • Will I need to be licensed to work as an engineer?
  • What earning power do engineers possess?
  • Are engineers happy?
  • What is the future of engineering?
  • How do I get into a good engineering school?
  • What are employers looking for in engineering candidates?
  • How do engineers think?
  • What are the downsides of an engineering career?
  • What are the social implications of being an engineer?
  • What will drive me crazy if I become an engineer?

There are a lot of existing references about engineering careers, but it turns out that few people have really investigated what engineers do in the workplace. Therefore, many descriptions of engineering responsibilities emphasize design and analysis, even though a small percentage of engineers participate in these activities on more than an occasional basis. (See “Are we accidentally misleading students about engineering practice?” [pdf] by Dr. James Trevelyan, 2011 Research in Engineering Education Symposium, Madrid.) I’d like to provide a more realistic view of engineering practice, and to emphasize the value of engineering problem solving in fields outside “traditional” engineering vocations.

Potential references:

  • Educating Engineers: A listing of engineering schools by state, as well as a description of various engineering career opportunities.
  • Discover Engineering: Site established by DiscoverE (formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation) “to sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession through outreach, education, celebration, and volunteerism.”
  • A Career in Engineering: Description of an engineer’s professional responsibilities, written by the Wall Street Journal.
  • Engineering Careers: A long list of engineering sub-disciplines provided by
  • Architecture and Engineering Occupations: Data on engineering employment and salaries provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Feel free to use the contact page to provide me with additional chapter topics and/or career planning resources!

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