Why I Like Technology Better than Mechanical Engineering

I got into Mechanical Engineering because:

  • My Father was a Mechanical Engineer
  • I like building stuff and taking things apart trying to figure out how they work
  • I enjoy problem solving; hearing from someone “I need something that does X” and being able to find a solution for them

But after working as a Mechanical Engineer for several years in a few different industries I realized I really didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. Maybe because:

  • Some of my designs weren’t that great so I didn’t feel successful
  • I had to re-learn concepts the second and third time I used them
  • I got unsure about creating something physical which may not work and I’d have to trash it, such a waste. (this was before 3d printers)
  • I didn’t have a mentor/co-worker to work with and bounce ideas off

The reasons don’t really matter, but I just knew I was not happy doing that kind of work.

The last company that I worked at as an Engineer was a small company which designed and built roller coasters. It was interesting work, but when the one IT person got another job I went into the boss’s office and said “I can do that”. He agreed and it was the start of my IT career. The server room was literally a closet with 3 computers but it handled our email, file shares, and a few other things. I got a quick tutorial from the guy who was leaving and took it from there. While in that position I created a MS Access database to allow the organization to retrieve a true bill of materials for many of it’s products listing all needed parts for not just the top level assembly but all sub-assemblies 5 levels down, all with one introduction to Access class at a local community college. I also replaced our organization’s router with a VPN router with the vision of employees being able to work from home, it ended up being extremely useful for the company which bought us out 6 months later. I also worked with the company’s accountant to select and switch accounting systems.

My next job was at CSUMB, then NPS, DMDC and back to NPS all over the course of 18 years and growing. I have never regretted that decision, I am so much happier doing IT work. I still get to solve people’s problems, but now it’s with selecting the right software which gives them the features they crave and developing processes which streamline their workflow.

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