What started back in the ancient times, often referred to as the ancestral era, when mankind developed fundamental inventions like the wheel, pulley and lever, has now come to become an entirely separate, massive and vital industry today. Engineering, that theoretically started with development of basic tools and such for the ancient man; today creates and drives everything from basic domestic use appliances to the highest level of technology based space crafts and nuclear power plants.
Engineering, that was once just about developing catapults and hunting weapons, now stands behind everything from kitchen appliances and general transportation, to massive manufacturing, construction and power generation plants; through medical R&D (biomedical engineering) to aerospace engineering; textile engineering, military engineering, planetary engineering, IT engineering (software, systems and networking), telecom engineering, financial engineering……and the list is expanding by the day.
In fact, to state in the briefest terms, engineering today is behind everything – from the shoes, dresses and makeup we wear, to the car we travel in, to the mobile phones we use, to the foods we gorge on, and then the very buildings we live in or function from (residential/commercial) – it is behind everything.Engineering is sometimes referred to as the ‘invisible’ or ‘stealth’ profession, for we may not see or realize, but every single thing around us today, is engineered in some way.
Broadly categorizing the industry, it has 4 prime (most commonly applied) branches, namely Civil Engineering (designing and construction of public and private works such as infrastructure – roads, railways, water supply, bridges, buildings); Electrical Engineering (designing and study of various electrical and electronic systems – circuits, motors, optical fibers, electronics etc.); Mechanical Engineering (designing of physical or mechanical systems such as power and energy plants, transportation, aircrafts, power trains etc.); Chemical Engineering (using chemistry principles for chemical processing, as well as designing new specialty fuels and materials).
However, Civil Engineering ranks top among them all, on the basis of its size and extent of applications, infrastructure development and maintenance dependency and large scale project requirements. In fact, it is the broadest and the oldest of all the engineering disciplines, extending across several technical specialties and providing for daily basic facilities and functions.
The following brief facts are clear indicators of how massive the engineering industry and dependence on the industry is:
The global construction and engineering industry is valued at over US$ 2,300 billion (2010), and is forecasted to be at a staggering US$ 2,800 billion by 2014. And civil engineering, accounting for almost 52% of the industry’s total value, is the largest segment of the global engineering industry.