What Young Engineers are like

Musings Apr 18, 2019

To describe an engineer which can be understood by an actual engineer, lots of pop culture references are required. Found in its natural habitat- the dark room, an engineer is a subspecies of the Homo sapiens. They are night owls, high functioning sociopaths  and will never let go anything, keeping Jack’s final promise alive. These beings can easily be distinguished with ever so tired eyes that also have a spark not unlike an evil mastermind. Food habits of this sub species are in disarray, however, a distinct whiff of coffee will direct you to their location which proves that the percentage of caffeine is very high in their blood stream when compared to other essential minerals. Members of this subspecies deal with mathematical figures for the most part and they swear on their life that every problem has a solution just as mathematical laws say.   

You need to take this test to check if you are one. Pardon me if I sound like your psychiatrist, but have you ever been a victim of at least one of the below listed phenomena?  

‘Sleeplessness, Coffee addiction, insane workload, stressing over the nearing doom (called deadline), presentations all over the place, projects which you believe would turn the world around but would actually fail to work during their very first presentation, complicating situations from which there’s no escape’.   

If you have, then: Congrats! You are an engineer even before graduation. These are not curses of being an engineer, but in fact the very opposite.  

The best part of being an engineer is not all of its perks, but its quirks. The happiness when an engineer feels when holding a miniaturized time travelling device is worth it even when she has spiky hairs all over her head. Okay, maybe we got too ahead of ourselves. Let me phrase this properly: An engineer takes pleasure in holding the solution in her hand which would end the problem, no matter at what cost. That is what the future has in store for all of us: an era where engineers will be celebrated for their problem solving and their inane ability to find solutions from nowhere. Do you recall all the phenomena listed in the previous paragraph? If not go on take another good look at it, it would only make the engineer in you even more alive ‘cause curiosity is an innate characteristic of the engineer subspecies.

So, if you had at least taken a sneak peak at the list, you will agree with me when I say that Tony Stark had everything on that list and with that he became Iron Man, not in spite of it. And he is an engineer (who is very much alive and will be after he soul-clenching Endgame. I don’t believe you conspiracy theorists and dirty spoilers!)

If you are an engineer, sure you might not have a social life or a life outside the scientific and mathematical problems, but will that really be your number one priority during an inventing spree? There is a theory I would like to put forth at this point, named after an insect (Hint: the word begins with Butter and ends with fly). I can explain it like this: when an engineer is presented with a problem or gets that tiny spark from a huge idea, they look for sources that are likely to quench their thirst for knowledge. After identifying their source – let it be huge volumes of books or infinite number of research papers, they devour it like dementors do to one’s soul (doesn’t it ring any bells? Caterpillars- the larvae and their obsession to eat so many plant leaves in short time? If not, you’ll get there, don’t worry). After that endless feeding, they confine themselves to their habitat, a room that shouldn’t be lit under any circumstances. This unique set of beings tend to function well in dark, emitting the mad scientist vibe (larva confining itself to the pupa). After including various permutations and combinations of possibilities, they achieve a solution, very similar to how the caterpillar  breaks the cocoon and flies out as a vibrant butterfly. And that is how ladies and gentlemen, I have come up with ‘The Butterfly theory’ (Not to be confused with a time travel concept also called as Butterfly effect).

The point is, the ends are the best and the most valuable moments for an engineer which give them the satisfaction of doing something right for once and knowing that they could make a difference. When there is a solution in front of you, all the means and rough days and nights don’t matter anymore because you know that you were a part of something that’s much bigger than yourself. Isn’t that what we were all taught back in the Moral science classes our school insisted on having? An engineer is a busy person and is a recluse, but more than that, they are the go-to person for all problems that involve intense math.

There is only one thing I want the non-engineers to do: if you ever get to meet an engineer, try to have small talk with them; you might be surprised, because it might grow into a very long talk about everything that’s wrong in the prequel movies of Star wars to all their new findings about Avengers: End game and how Tony Stark will be very much alive after the End game, even though the trailer of ‘Spiderman: Far from Home’ doesn’t even hint it. There could be discreet coughs saying ‘Nerd’ in the background, but don’t quit now (you have made such good progress so far). ‘Cause having a half decent conversation with a nerd will make up to all the times you were ever forced to be with a hypocrite. And please don’t throttle me if the conversation doesn’t happen right away. It will happen only when you get past the initial five layers of faux boredom, shyness, passive aggressive outlook, the lone wolf act and mild self-destructive tendencies. It may sound like a handful (which it is), but it’s worth it. Take all the time in the world (but not too much because engineers like to believe that they are the reason why earth makes an effort to rotate and revolve), who knows you might even get to see the entire sub species, all in one place (you lucky stranger).

Happy Engineer rendezvous folks!  


Thanuja Sri M

Thanuja Sri is a passionate writer, an avid reader, and a person who loves to watch this ever-changing world. And all these define her happiness!