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I started making a list of factors the engineer aims to maximize and optimize.
Instead I decided to change the list to undesirables. The engineering mentality has to notice what's wrong and try to eliminate it.
* 'sine qua non' lapses such as specifying a huge astronomical mirror dimension without writing the units you're using
* unreliable performance
* user unfriendly
* high parts count
* overmuch cost
* breakable, or susceptible to the elements
* difficult to repair
* overly difficult to manufacture
* cannot be adapted to unexpected conditions
* electrical or physical hazards
* poor appearance
* patent infringement
* unworthy of Nobel prize
And add talents such as the ability to communicate, to get along with others, to acknowledge real world constraints, to be patient, etc. Without those skills we're not likely to be called a good anything.
It's who knows very much about full of branches of science. Has it been getting to know more about less and less. Until one will know absolutely everything about nothing.
In Russian it sounds beautiful
Engineers themselves often refer to the qualities required of an engineer with reference to their own particular area of expertise, and this is a mistake because good engineers have such widely varying qualities.
The three common qualities required of all engineers are -
Vision - to be able to see thoughts, words, pictures, and plans as reality.
Perseverance - to see a task or a project through to a successful conclusion.
Tolerance - to be able to cope with continuously being kicked in the teeth, by man, machine, and nature.
Actually this depends on the angle from which you are looking. For the majority of bosses the best engineer is the bootlicker, the snitch... This one is the first how gets promotions ...
Others classifies as good engineers those who produce a lot, work more than 10 Hour per/day sometime the weekend, do extra works at home, support difficult difficult work conditions without been paid for that and without complaining.