Friday, August 11, 2006

You do what?

Currently the main work that I do is as a consulting and design engineer and I've been trying to beef up my marketing. I've realised that marketing engineering design and consulting can be a bit difficult for a couple of reasons.

The first reason?

Very few people actually understand what engineers do....and most of those that do, are engineers.

At first this caught me a little bit by surprise until I spent a little time thinking about it. I actually thought that more people would have an idea what engineers do (or can do, at least). I suppose that I shouldn't have been surprised - there are lots of reasons why people would have little or no knowledge of engineering. I would say that there are two main reasons, (1) engineers, and (2) the word engineer.

Firstly engineers....well what can I say? Ever been at a party or dinner with an engineer and someone has asked what they do? As soon as the words, "I'm an electronic engineer," roll off their tongue you can feel the fear as people wait in trepidation for some arcane explanation designed to impress a magna cum laude Ph.D graduate. During the explanation everyone's eyes roll back as they wait for the first chance to change the topic.

Put another way - we fail to explain ourselves well

The other problem is the word engineer and its multiplicity of meanings and interpretations. If you go look up the word engineer in the dictionary you'll find a number of meanings from,

engineer: "a person who runs or supervises an engine or an apparatus"

to something that I feel is closer to my definition,

engineer: "a person who uses scientific knowledge to solve practical problems"

As engineers we have not managed to create a clear definition of who we are and what we can do. And what is that really?

Well, one thing - engineers solve problems.

I'll be touching on some solutions to these issues in the future, along with my other marketing struggles - for now, send me some thoughts on this (and other reasons why engineering is not understood) - I'd love to hear them.

Technorati tags : ,