Beyond Certificate, The Prerequisites For Being An Engineer


(By Adekunle S. Ogunbadejo)

The position of an engineer in the society can sometimes be a controversial one. Truth be told, engineers have greatly improved the world we live in. They have made tremendous impacts that have changed the way we live globally; impact that has changed our lives professionally, impact that has changed our lives scholastically, and even medically. What is more beautiful is that one does not need to go far to witness these significant positive changes. They are readily available even in the rooms we have to ourselves. Not to be biased, engineers’ inventions have also had negative impacts on the globe. Some forgotten by the world, and others the world might never recover from. What readily comes to mind are weapons used in the massacres of the two world wars and other wars, previous and present. It is often said that man now has enough arms and ammunition to annihilate himself; enough weapons to make the world a history.

From the perspective of a layman, it might be difficult to clearly identify an engineer as good or bad. It relies on the personal experiences he has had with the genius work, called engineering. It is indisputable that any engineering design or work is from a creative mind; It is as a result of critical thinking, time investment, diligence and perseverance. But nature has made man to approve anything that benefits him and condemn anything that does otherwise.

All histories are marked by one or more significant events that happened. The advent of aeroplane marked the beginning of another era in human history. On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the amazing engine-driven heavier-than-air vehicle which can fly through the air for hours without touching the ground. Not only that, it transports people and luggage through and above thousands of miles. Before the advent of internet, the aeroplane was a main contributory factor to making the world a global village. It has carried people from nations to nations, from one country to another within a relatively short time. The aeroplane is indeed a sight to wonder and behold because it comes from minds that can be nothing but intelligent.

But in a strict sense, it suffices to say that the aeroplane is praised because of the unimaginable ease it has offered through transportation. It is possible that a victim (if alive) of the terrorist attacks which happened on the 11th of September, 2001 (popularly called 9/11 attacks or September 11 attacks) in the United States of America will have some reservations for this wonder. On that day, four passenger planes were hijacked by terrorists and three of them were made to fly into the North and South towers of the World Trade Centre complex in New York, and the Pentagon in Virginia. The fourth crashed in a field killing all on board. About 3,000 people, representing 90 nations, died in the attacks. They were military and civilians, men and women, parents and children, young and old. And thus, the attacks marked the beginning of another history.

As it is evident from the foregoing, what is thought to be intrinsically beneficial to man can be made otherwise. The same is true for what is thought to be naturally harmful. Explosives are notorious for their damaging and destructive effects, yet the same explosives that can mar a structure can be used to facilitate the construction of a new one. The less innovative ones, like knives in the kitchen though much older, have served great purposes in the culinary and catastrophic senses. Therefore to judge the engineer will then be through critical analysis of both benefits and destruction his works have brought. Otherwise, he is just like any of us except that he is a genius. To judge the engineer will also result in judging the ordinary people who use his works. And it should be noted that the intention of an engineer in designing things might not always be clear, but that of the people who use them are definitely always glaring.

(Adekunle S. Ogunbadejo – Department of Metallurgical & Material Engineering, FUTA)

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