Special Report: Dream Jobs 2013

Engineering careers come in all shapes and sizes

Simon Hauger sits in the frame of a car his students are in the process of building
Photo: Bill Cramer/Wonderful Machine
Learning by Doing: Simon Hauger inspires high school students at the Sustainability Workshop.

When was the last time you saw an engineer portrayed glamorously in a film—or, for that matter, in any form of popular culture? Right. Let’s face it: The unflattering stereotypes persist, and they’re tired. They’re also out of touch with reality. Just consider the five engineers we profile here.

dream jobs graphic link Simon Hauger [above], for example, trained as an electrical engineer but became a math instructor at an inner-city school that most other newly minted teachers would have written off. Now he’s bringing hands-on learning to a new level. Geoff Martin, at the other extreme, studied music, not engineering. But technology has always been a keen interest, and now this longtime member of the Audio Engineering Society spends his workdays creating some of the world’s most innovative audio gear. The three others in our group have traveled paths that are no less fascinating.

So don’t buy into the stereotypes. The reality is that engineers emerge from varied backgrounds and do a wide range of vital and interesting work. Now all we need is for one of them to make a movie about it.