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A Teardown of The Engineer’s Mind

In a blog post on EDN a few weeks ago, Patrick Mannion took a twist on the usual technical teardown. For those non-engineering folks – a teardown is the act of disassembling a product, such as an iPhone, to identify its component parts, chip & system functionality, and component costing information. It’s a look at what makes the product “tick” so to speak.

So, where am I going with this? In the recent Mind of the Engineer Study, engineers provided this inside view of themselves – what they think of themselves, and what they think others think of them. There are some surprises, some affirmations, and some fun twists.

At first look the chart below seems daunting - here’s how to read it: It shows the mean aggregate of pairs of opposing terms which anchor either end of a scale (from −5 to +5). For each pair of anchored terms, respondents adjust this scale to more accurately express their sentiments.

Figure 1: Engineers were asked how they view themselves [green] and how they thought others non-engineers view them [purple].

MOE chart

Oddly, engineers think people view them as smarter than they view themselves: How could that possibly be?

Engineers see themselves as risk takers, humble, ambitious, and have a wide range of interests, while they think others non-engineers view them as risk adverse, borderline arrogant, not so ambitious, with a very narrow range of interests. Could it be that they feel a bit misunderstood?

Like all studies, you can spend a lot of time analyzing – or over analyzing - the conditions and parameters of the research. Don’t do that. Just have some fun with the data. For a deeper look download the executive summary here.

Research, engineering, mind of the engineer, Tech Marketing Smarts Blog