Kids Not Clamoring for Engineering Careers

Posted on November 18, 2009  Comments (11)

Engineering careers with experiences

Engineers are terribly misunderstood. Which might be one reason 85 percent of kids say “no way” to an engineering career. “The stereotype of the engineer is just wrong,” says Warren Miller, a retired Florida engineer who e-mailed me after I wrote about the short supply of workers in science and technology.

They think it’s “someone who is half-robot super genius” and “way more interested in machinery or circuitry than people.”

Part of the misunderstanding starts with adults who influence future workers. The survey found that only 20 percent of parents have encouraged or will encourage their children to consider an engineering career. More girls say their parents are likely to encourage them to become an actress than an engineer.

The National Science Foundation estimates a shortage of 70,000 engineers by 2010. To reverse the trend, we need to apply the engineer’s biggest tool: logic.

Based on the title of this blog you can guess I am in favor of engineers. Engineers can find great rewards in their careers from interesting work to high pay and leadership positions. In the modern world you need an understanding of science and engineering just to be a literate member of society.

Related: What is an Engineer?The Importance of Science EducationEngineering the Future EconomyWhat do Science and Engineering Graduates Do?

11 Responses to “Kids Not Clamoring for Engineering Careers”

  1. Anonymous
    November 18th, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

    Hey my brother went to school for engineering. He’s half robot half genius, he hasnt gotten a high paying job yet though.

  2. Alex
    November 18th, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

    “A half-robot super genius more interested in machinery or circuitry than people”?

    Seems pretty accurate to me!

  3. Anonymous
    November 19th, 2009 @ 12:25 am

    According to my opinion engineering is a wonderful job if the person is completely interested in it. My cousin is a engineer student and he is very much interested in his studies.

  4. Anonymous
    November 19th, 2009 @ 12:55 am

    Its how the adults or, the parents themselves, presents the Engineering field to the kids or their children. Sometimes, they describe an Engineer or an engineering stuffs to be too much to handle.

  5. Frank Locust
    November 20th, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

    Engineering gets a bad rap from fellow students too. I just graduated from college and walking through the engineering hall was no fun. You could smell the stress and social awkwardness (half-robots). I have a few friends that survived the engineering gamut and are employed, but it’s a very rigorous 4 years to get there.

  6. Tom Proctor
    November 22nd, 2009 @ 7:38 pm

    Funny enough, My mate qualified as an engineer from TCD. He couldn’t find any work, and eventually rang a man working in waste water management and told him he would work for free if it meant some good experience. After 3 months, he has been offered a year contract and a modest pay salary. I think there is alot to be said for that approach.

  7. ChemEng
    November 24th, 2009 @ 4:27 am

    I’m just learning that the engineering profession is shied away from in the West.. hmm. In my own case (where I’m coming from) it is seen as quite prestigious, but the educational system itself leaves much to be desired. Anyway sorry to ramble, I just wanted to let you know that I’m linking your blog to mine. (I hope that’s alright?)

  8. Jual Tanah Murah
    December 1st, 2009 @ 4:35 am

    I don’t agree with you Frank, Engineering gets a bad rap for students. but it depend from the student, if they like to being a engineer, why they must get stress? that’s their choice and i think, being engineer is not a bad thing.

  9. phil
    December 5th, 2009 @ 1:19 am

    I think the bad rep starts during early school days when those who has brains are stereotyped as ‘geeks’ who wear big sunglasses and without any social life. This mindset stays until our kids become adults. This is entirely untrue. We need to help our kids realize this.

  10. gregbo
    December 6th, 2009 @ 2:35 pm


    An individual may like engineering, but may still feel stressed under certain circumstances. For example, a person who as a high school student was very organized, and proactive with their studies, and (arguably) “smart” might not perform as well academically at a university as he or she had hoped. This may cause stress, especially if the student starts to feel he or she needs to sacrifice other things that are meaningful to them, such as a non-engineering hobby, in order to perform academically to an acceptable level.

  11. Anonymous
    March 13th, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

    My brother its engineer. Its a smart boy, older then me, he earn very good from his job but his not so sociable that’s the problem.

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