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Engineers have been sorely typecast as social outcasts and misfits the word used in the US is geek but then that's America, isn't it - and they are still stigmatised by people who are easily intimidated or blissfully unaware of what an engineer does for a real job.
The engineering disciplines have historically commanded the desirable attributes of high demand and high salaries. This is primarily due to the relatively small pool of engineers filling an ever-growing series of disciplines. This situation is further complicated by the number of cross-disciplinary, multiple-diversity and mixed-genre career opportunities.
An example of a cross-disciplinary engineering position is the engineering manager. Project and program management; systems analysis and management; and, process design and information systems engineering are all examples of hard and soft engineering working in conjunction. Skills in both hands-on traditional engineering and people-oriented business management tasks are required. The days of a generic business administration major effectively supervising a group of very highly educated technically-oriented professionals many with more advanced degrees than the manager are gone. This has given rise to the engineering manager: one who is trained in both science and administration.
The polychotomous-diversity engineer is essentially a person who is educated in more than one engineering discipline. As an example, nanomotor engineering has required knowledge of both mechanical and electrical engineering. Or protein nanomotor engineering further requires solid grounding in biological and chemical engineering, often in combination with a medical discipline.
Which leads directly to cross-genre engineering. Biogenetic engineering and biomedical engineering. Biogenetics is concerned with life at the reproductive level, where biomedical can cover a range of tasks from joint replacement and prosthetics, to physiological and neurological systems monitoring.
The engineering careers with the most promise for the future include software development and design software has long been the red-headed stepchild of engineering, but it is now generally accepted as a legitimate engineering discipline. Any biomedical or environmental field, especially in the microscopic areas all the way down to the molecular level. Aerospace whether terrestrial or space-based engineering, especially on tools, lightweight materials, power systems, alternative energy sources and similar tasks. Astronautics is one of the few engineering careers where knowing a little about everything is better than knowing a lot about one thing. In space, all one has to work with is what they have on board.
Choosing to be an engineer much as choosing to be a software designer is more than simply wanting a high-paying job. Certain innate talents are required: the desire to create something from nothing, the ability to visualize the impossible and removing the obstacles, skills in mathematics, physics and other related sciences. For those seeking engineering management positions, some grounding and practical experience as an engineer is necessary to understand the issues and formulating an appropriate resolution and determining if further management intervention is required.