Dedicated to solutions costing less than the problem.


What is Engineerology?
By Jerry Costello
October 28, 2011
blue prints

Engineerology is a study of engineering. Perhaps I should modify that statement and say it is my study of engineering. was once the domain name of Engineerology Inc.which was a recruitment company out of Toronto Onterio Canada. That company (apparently) no longer exists. I was pleased the domain name became available.

The word engineerology combines the word engineer with the suffix -ology. So one could say it is a scientific study of engineering. This makes it different than a study of engineering. Science mostly involves itself with discovery. So engineerology looks to discover something about engineering - something as yet unknown.

You may have noticed in the title above, "Dedicated to the solutions costing less than the problem." When I did some research on engineering I once came across a statement that read something like this:

Engineers have to solve the problem without it [the solution] costing a fortune.

This really stuck in my mind. It seemed it turned up everywhere as the underlying - nonspoken reason for engineers to solve problems. Though it was never openly spoken, this was the one thing that seemed to make or break the career engineer. Naturally I would ask the question no one ever dared to ask: Is this the most important thing in engineering? My answer is “Yes!” In fact I feel so strongly about this that I propose that the definition of engineer be modified to:

1) The profession that must overcome economic problems when implementing new scientific discovery data in existing designs. 2) The profession that solves a problem cheaper than allowing it to exist.


Please allow me to explain how this came about.

Sometimes I come across words in the dictionary that I think are poorly defined. One such word is “engineer.” The definition of engineer was passed down from 14th century France for the person who designed and operated military engines. Back then catapults were known as military engines. Like so many words in the dictionary this one gets its definition though its history and how people use it. Unfortunately, the word engineering didn’t get a proper upgrading when a philosophy for engineering began to develop. When I look over what little I can find about engineering philosophy I find things like “doing good for society,” or “advancing society,” or some such thing, while the idea that an engineer is doing all this within a budget goes almost unnoticed. In the real-world I have never heard of an engineer commenting on management’s concern for society or advancing for the good of Mankind. I only hear of budget cuts, financial constraints, and hiring freezes that justify why the engineer can’t hire extra help or purchase extra equipment.

Well, it doesn’t take rocket science to see what is really important here: Engineer’s make it so we can get it cheap!
It says nothing about this in any dictionary I’ve looked through.

Here is what the English World Dictionary says:

Engineering is “The profession of applying scientific principles to the design, construction, and maintenance of engines, cars, machines, etc (mechanical engineering), buildings, bridges, roads, etc (civil engineering), electrical machines and communication systems (electrical engineering), chemical plant and machinery (chemical engineering), or aircraft (aeronautical engineering).”

This is a valid definition, but a poor way to get the definition made. To define a word (as with all descriptions) keep it simple, as simple as possible but no simpler. Definitions should 1) use as few words as possible 2) use no complex word (or wording) and 3) not use the word being defined in the definition.

I came across an old film that contained this line in the narrative:

"A product designer seeking maximum engineering value in designing a part which is relatively lighter in weight, less bulky, stronger, more shock and fatigue resistant, more easily machined and heat treated, weldable, and economical..."

To me this description is better than the dictionary's definition because its closer to the heart of what engineers must face. However, managers are gripped with financial constraints. I mean, since when did a manager come in to the engineer’s office (or cubical) and say, “Spend all the money and time you want on this project!”

So let engineerology's first discovery be: Engineer's (main) purpose is to bring it to us cheap!

Hypothetically, a company may run like this: Sales and marketing makes a survey. The survey results point to a particular product to be made. Managers tell the engineers to make the product so cheap that everyone can buy one. The manager then tells sales and marketing to convince everyone they absolutely have to have one. Then the manager raises the price so high that only a few can afford it.

From the point of view of the engineer his or her management practice is like the bi-polar mental patient. The manager wants it made cheap so he can sell it dear.

However, from the management’s point of view their decision makes perfect economic sense. Economics comes into play anytime there is a scarcity. The purpose of having a company is to be profitable. If a company can produce something so cheap that it costs nearly nothing to produce, yet so in demand that everyone is willing to mortgage their house just to get it, then the company makes its greatest profit by only creating a limited supply. Thus, the item is scarce or limited in supply as well as high in demand.

When you put this group together it’s called a business.

Engineers can become frustrated from economics. As demands change so does the projects. The engineer needs to understand how unfinished projects can and do get scrapped. And there is no way to detached from the reality that you will work on projects that never reach completion. It can be a painful experience to realize from the very start of a project the work is more about budget than design.

I hope this clarifies what is now.