How to be a good engineer.

Cooks, Painters, Sculptors, Designers, Writers, Engineers, Architects, we’re all creatives.

We all have our “art.”

To any engineer out there who doesn’t consider their self artistic, rethink that for 5 minutes. There is a lot to be learned from art. It’s easy to think that artists like Picasso created nothing but masterpieces, but that’s not reality. Every “artist” had plenty of projects to practice new skills or techniques that no one cared to look at. While today’s engineering project might not be the most exciting, it may be exactly whats needed to prepare for future masterpieces, so give it your best.

Now here’s a question, could an artist be famous without putting his work out there? How would they get the feedback needed to make something special? How would anyone know what they do?

I don’t think it’s possible for an artist to get famous without their work being public.

Why would that be different for any other creative work? What is an engineer’s work? Is it always the final product? Is it a prototype? Or is it the big plan set? That may depend on the project and the resources needed to complete it. The important part is getting as far as possible with the resources available. Whether that is calculations in Excel, drawings on paper or in CAD, or building a prototype. People will jump on board with the more and more tangibility.

Let me share an anecdote. When I was in college, a couple of friends started a limo business. They were looking to build a system for making booking easier for their fledgling business as it took too much of their time. They talked about it for a long time, but neither of them had money, nor technical skills. I eventually created a mockup of what the software could look like and brought it to a pool party. It’s started a lively discussion. Other people started talking about being investors, though they didn’t have the sort of money needed. From there, it became a real project. I started building an app, the other guys started looking for investors, and eventually we pitched an investor for significant money.

That story doesn’t end with us becoming Uber, and the project didn’t go on too far. We were young and inexperienced. However, the simple act of moving from a continuous conversation to mockups was enough to kick off the momentum to have an actual shot at achieving something. The lesson is just do what you can and share it, the results may astound you.

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