Dr. Z’s Corner

Dr. Z

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., Ph.D., Fellow-NSPE, Fellow-ASCE is an award-winning professor, structural engineer, author and mentor living in Washington, D.C. Since joining academia, "Dr. Z", as he is known by his students and colleagues, has distinguished himself on campus and beyond. He is passionate about engineering, gifted in teaching, and is a true champion for professional licensure. Dr. Z. has extraordinarily high standards; has produced award-winning designs; is prolific in professional service; and infects others with these same values. He is the recipient of numerous local, regional and national awards, including recent national awards from the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Since 2014, he has been regularly writing monthly articles for “Dr.Z’s Corner “ and offering hundreds of engineering problems, for free, every month for students, engineers and engineering educators worldwide. Dr. Z. also offers pro-bono Saturday classes for students and engineers; his free classes are open to all in the greater Washington metro area and cost nothing, nada, zilch! Starbucks coffee is always a must have for Dr. Z.

What Engineers Do? Ten Reasons to Love Engineering


What do engineers really do? How do they spend their days? If you think they mostly sit at a desk doing math, you are wrong. According to DiscoverE (E-in STEM), engineers not only design, invent, fix, improve, research, travel, present, inspect, draw, write, calculate, but also they work with really interesting people on great projects. Engineers are changing the world for the better all the time. They dream up creative, practical solutions and work with other smart, inspiring people to invent, design, and create things that change our planet. As promised, in this issue of Dr. Z’s Corner we will talk about “Ten Reasons to Love Engineering.”

1: Love your work, and love your life

Engineering is an exciting profession, but one of its greatest advantages is that it will leave you time for all the other things in your life that you love. According to author and creativity guru, Chris Barez-Brown, life and work are intrinsically linked. They are not separate, they are one. If we want to live an extraordinary life, we have to make our work equally extraordinary. It is possible to help you make your work, work for you. Apparently Brown’s approach has produced some tangible returns on investment for many Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, Coca Cola, Diageo, The Gates Foundation, Sony and WPP Unilever, and ITV, for his unique and energetic approach to transforming their people and their work.

2: Be creative

Engineering is a great outlet for the imagination – the perfect field for independent thinkers. Can Creativity Be Taught? What about the creative process? Certainly an understanding of the basic rules of thumb can be taught. Everyone can learn to some degree how to construct ideas and things that work by imitating, emulating and modeling the behaviors of effective teachers. A word of caution: According to experts on creativity, extensive technical thinking diminishes creativity. Most engineers would need to be a practitioner to understand the creativity process.

3: Work with great people

Engineering takes teamwork, and you’ll collaborate with all kinds of people inside and outside the field. Whether they’re designers or architects, doctors or entrepreneurs, you’ll be surrounded by smart, inspiring people.

4: Solve problems, design things that matter

Come up with solutions no one else has thought of. Make your mark on the world. A lot of people end up being successful, and some of those successful people end up being rich. But very few people actually make their mark on the world and leave us all better off for having known them.

5: Never be bored

Creative problem solving will take you into uncharted territory, and the ideas of your colleagues will expose you to different ways of thinking. Be prepared to be fascinated and to have your talents stretched in ways you never expected.

6: Earn a big salary

Engineers not only earn lots of respect, but they’re highly paid as well. Even the starting salary for an entry-level job is impressive comparing to other professions. According to a recent survey, entry-level civil engineers can expect to earn an average of $58K per year. Of course, the residence (location of the work) and the name of the company will impact the annual salary, with the former having the largest influence.

7: Enjoy job flexibility

An engineering degree offers you lots of freedom in finding your dream job. It can be a launching pad for jobs in business, design, medicine, law, and government. To employers or graduate schools, an engineering degree reflects a well-educated individual who has been taught ways of analyzing and solving problems that can lead to success in all kinds of fields.

8: Travel

Field work is a big part of engineering. You may end up designing a skyscraper in Europe or developing safe drinking-water systems in Asia. Or you may stay closer to home, working with a nearby high-tech company or a hospital.

9: Make a difference

Everywhere you look you’ll see examples of engineering having a positive effect on everyday life. Cars are safer, sound systems deliver better acoustics, medical tests are more accurate, and computers and cell phones are a lot more fun! You’ll be giving back to your community.

10: Change the world

Imagine what life would be like without pollution controls to preserve the environment, lifesaving medical equipment, or low-cost building materials for fighting global poverty. All this takes engineering. In very real and concrete ways, engineers save lives, prevent disease, reduce poverty, and protect our planet.

And finally, did you know that starting July 1, 2017, NCEES will introduce a new testing component called Alternative Item Types (AITs) in its computer-based FE and FS exams? As you may have guessed, AITs are questions other than traditional multiple-choice questions and next month we’ll talk about them.

Until next time,

Ahmet Zeytinci (Dr.Z.)
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