The Importance of Engineering Ethics

Ethics in EngineeringThe Importance of Engineering Ethics

As an engineer, the type of work that you do will be utilized by many other workers and civilians.

No matter what type of engineer you are, or what you design, it is critical that engineering ethics are kept in mind during every step of the process.

While the medical community takes a Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm,” engineers must adhere to a similar code of ethics. Ethics in engineering are pivotal to a long, successful career in the field.

You might be just beginning your education or maybe you are years into your established engineering career. Why should you learn about ethics in engineering?

Why is Engineering Important?

The world depends on engineers, whether it realizes it or not.

The infrastructure of cities, including buildings and roads, are designed by engineers. From planes, trains, and automobiles–each small mechanism in the design is designed to work with the next piece.

In quality and ethical engineering, designs are measured and tested for safety. The parts are run through stressful test conditions to make sure that they are ready to work safely in the end.

In the case of chemical engineers, there are many lab tests run and precautions taken in the process of research and development.

Engineers often work to design components that fit into existing designs or makeups. Many industries trust and depend on engineers to do their best possible work.

Engineers and their work continue to make the wheels turn, literally and figuratively, in society. There is even evidence to suggest that a society with strong engineering leads to a strong economy.

Why Continuing Education for Engineers?

Similar to a blade, our minds grow sharper when we challenge it. Learning or reviewing information in new ways can help you stay ahead of the competition.

Taking classes also tends to lead to higher quality work and practices.

In some locations, in order to maintain an engineering license in the field, professionals are required to take professional development hours, or PDH. This can be as few as zero PDH hours a year, or up to thirty PDH hours every two years in some areas.

Education isn’t just for keeping compliant with the requirements of states, however. It is truly to help keep professionals aware of updated best practices and new techniques in their field.

Taking classes to keep a professional’s work sharp through the years can also lead to new opportunities. Designs may be in formats that continue to adapt to different needs.

No matter the focus of an engineer, considering continuing education as an integral part of your career will help to further your work and your profession. Employers will pay attention to the investment in training and the improved work that comes from it.

An improved income, benefits, and employment situation is often the outcome for a professional that continually learns throughout their career. Not becoming lazy and complacent is key to finding fulfillment in one’s work, as well.

Learning More About Ethics in Engineering

Many times when “ethics” is mentioned, people think back to their college philosophy courses.

It’s true, ethics are a philosophical code to live and abide by as circumstances present themselves. Even medical doctors taking a Hippocratic Oath in their practice will live by a certain interpretation of a code of ethics.

One of the largest factors that ethics in engineering imparts on the field the importance of honest reporting in design feedback. Through tests, if a part is not holding up to the stress being put on it, it is better to report it that way than to try to let something slide.

The safety of those who work with the part later is counting on you.

Ethics in Engineering Can Save Lives

Many times, engineers are working on parts or builds that many others wouldn’t even think twice about. A famous example is the O-rings in the Challenger explosion in 1986.

During the development of the parts for NASA’s Challenger spaceship, every part was tested. The engineers knew that seven lives depended on their work. With rigorous testing of each piece they designed, the engineers found what would and would not work.

In tests, the O-rings showed signs of not performing perfectly to function. The engineers reported the issues, but under the time frame and will of NASA to not move the launch, the reports were brushed aside.

Unfortunately, the outcome of one of the smallest parts malfunctioning was deadly. The O-rings proved to behave the way they had during tests, in the worst way.

The engineers had done their part in this incident. They relayed to their higher-ups that they did not think that allowing the launch to continue on its regularly scheduled time frame was wise.

Considering all of an item’s uses, stresses, positive outcomes, and dangers are important for engineers of any kind. Being able to communicate these portions of the job effectively is a large portion of performing the ethical duties of engineering.

How Do Engineers Do Better?

They continue learning. They find quality continuing education courses to keep sharpening their skills.

Engineers benefit from learning from one another, and from the top voices in their fields. A new challenge, and a new perspective, is always an opportunity to find new solutions.

All engineers can benefit from continuing education. Engineers from every field including mechanical, chemical, civil, environmental, structural, geotechnical, and electrical can learn. These engineers are all responsible for the infrastructure that many people will use, and a refresher in the ethics of engineering is always important.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Beginning your continuing education with a focus on ethics in engineering is a great place to start.

Contact us for more details about enrolling in one of our courses. Take your career to the next level by furthering your knowledge.

We offer a wide variety of courses tailored for professional engineers. Challenges are always evolving, taking professional development hours can help you stay ready for the task.