Inventing, problem solving, creating – these elements are the essence of modern engineering and will be needed to help construct the 21st century.
That’s important to keep in mind as we continue our celebration of Engineers Week.
We tend to think of engineers as different from artists, musicians, writers, and other members of the so-called creative class. And they are, obviously. But in so doing society often overlooks the fact that engineers must call on vast reserves of creativity and ingenuity to make possible the things – computers and smartphones and skyscrapers and bridges and jet airliners and pharmaceuticals and so much more – from which modern life actually is crafted.
The weeklong tribute to all things engineering we are currently observing is the brainchild of DiscoverE (formerly the national Engineers Week Foundation) and the National Society of Professional Engineers.
One statistic points to why this is so important to the future of our economy: Between 2014 and 2024, the number of jobs requiring STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and math) is expected to grow 17 percent, compared to 12 percent for non-STEM jobs. Related to that is the fact that engineering and advanced manufacturing workers are much more likely than non-STEM workers to be within 20 years of retiring.
Simply, we need new blood to replace the old.
A particular focus of Engineers Week centers on getting more girls and minority students interested in becoming engineers.
Several young ExxonMobil engineers have taken to the digital pages of the Huffington Post to offer their thoughts on how to do that.
I encourage you to check out the contributions from Nancy Choi, an operation engineer with our XTO subsidiary, and Omar De Leon, who has supported ExxonMobil’s exploration and development projects in South America, the Black Sea, and Russia. Look for more pieces about careers in engineering on the Huffington Post in the days ahead.
Finally, check out our updated BeAnEngineer.com website, which features well-known engineers like Steve Wozniak and Burt Rutan – some of the most creative, forward-thinking, and innovative personalities of the last few decades.
It also highlights some up-and-coming unknowns, such as the Mayo Clinic’s Tarun Mohan Lal or ExxonMobil’s own Lucie N’Guessan, a native of the Ivory Coast whose work has taken her to Brazil, Newfoundland, and the Arctic.
Engineers are the men and women whom society will call upon to translate the grand ideas of the future from the drawing board to reality. They will build the new wonders of the world. But before they can draw out the future, we will need to draw in boys and girls of all stripes and backgrounds to the exciting and challenging world of engineering.