The Entrepreneurial Engineer

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A license to learn

One of the points I make in chapter two of The Entrepreneurial Engineer is that an engineering education is a license to learn.

A common myth is that engineering involves the education of a narrow specialist, but we live in the most technological of centuries to date, and in case some haven’t not noticed, the centroid of human knowledge has shifted. Analysis of the typical engineering degree finds a balance of (a) humanities, (b) social science, (c) science, (d) mathematics, and (e) major coursework in a technical specialty.

The average liberal arts degree by comparison stuffs much into the first two categories, requires only a smattering of courses in science and math, and no coursework in technology at all. Far from being narrow, the average undergraduate engineering major has a balanced curriculum that gives him or her a lifelong license to learn. Where the average liberal-arts undergraduate is closed out of whole swaths of human knowledge, especially those involving math, science, and technology, the engineering graduate can feel comfortable picking up almost any text on any topic, knowing that the fundamental coursework of their high school and college education give them the tools to read, learn, and grow.

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