That question was posed to engineers at Honeywell, which has operations at about 1,200 sites in 70 countries. With more than 131,000 employees worldwide, including more than 22,000 engineers, Honeywell is a major player across industries, including homes and building, aviation, defense and space, oil and gas, industrial, chemicals, and vehicles.
Here is how some of those engineers responded to the question:
Sunaina Wanchoo, Senior Engineer in Bengaluru, India
At Honeywell: 10 years
Education: Electronics and Telecommunication, Avionics Specialization from The Aeronautical Society of India and a Private Pilot License for Cessna 172R
What she does: I am with the customer and product support team. We receive the issues from the airline operations center or from pilots, for example: ‘Aircraft was supposed to turn left but it turned right.’ I fly the same scenario as explained by the pilots on simulators with customer navigation database and the real-time flight plan. I reproduce the issue on the simulators for the subject aircraft, find the root cause of the issue, and provide a near term solution or workaround to the pilots until the issue is fixed in the product software and hardware.
Why engineering?: Flying an aircraft has been my childhood dream and my present job role allows me to live my dream of flying every day – maybe not in the real aircraft, but I fly the simulators every day. I enjoy engineering the aviation Field, imagining things, and thinking ways to make it happen.
The best thing about being an engineer: It is the fact that you're being paid to think. Engineers innovate and bring to world the things that never existed. Engineers convert dreams and imagination into reality.
Yanling Wu, Senior Project Engineer in Houston, Texas
At Honeywell: Six years
Education: Ph.D. in chemical engineering
What she does: I create analytics-related business cases and derive insights from data by working closely with data scientists. The development of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and data analytics has empowered us to solve operational problems that were believed to be unsolvable. We are beginning to change the way our customers operate and manage their plants. I am excited to be part of the digital analytics transformation journey.
Why engineering?: I always liked to understand how things work. I was a kid that loved playing with Rubik's Cube and building blocks. In school, I was very interested in math and physics and that is why I enjoy solving engineering problems and providing solutions.
The best thing about being an engineer: The fact that we get to solve problems, design things that matter, improve the quality of life, and never get bored is the best thing about being an engineer.
Francis Rodriguez, Advanced Manufacturing Engineer in Torrance, California
At Honeywell: 15.5 years
Education: Industrial engineering with a specialty in manufacturing processes at the Instituto Tecnologico de Mexicali; also, a Master’s degree
What she does: As an industrial engineer, it is my team’s job to make sure our technology designs are capable of being manufactured in the real world. Sometimes the design environment does not fully reflect the limitations and obstacles for building a particular component. My team and I make sure our new products and platform components are manufacturable at Honeywell plants and at our external suppliers.
Why engineering?: Well, to be honest, it was not my first thought. I originally wanted to be a doctor but my girlfriend kind of convinced me otherwise. I did my research and recognized the potential it had for being successful. I am certain that I made the right choice.
The best thing about being an engineer: In engineering, you are always challenged to look for the best way to do things in less time and at less cost.
David Kucera, Engineering Fellow in Brno, Czech Republic
At Honeywell: 15 years
Education: Biomedical engineering at TU Brno, Czech Republic
What he does: We design electronic controllers for gas-fired heating systems for industrial and commercial applications – furnaces and boilers.
Why engineering?: As a kid, I enjoyed constructing things by myself – toys, Legos. I have also wanted to know how things work and how they break. I have always been interested in physics, math, electronics, and programming.
Patents: 18 granted and more filed
Li Wang, Technology Fellow in Shanghai, China
At Honeywell: 13 years
Education: Material science and engineering, which includes electronic materials and devices, micro-electromechanical systems, energy harvesting, advanced materials, and sensing technology for clean air and water
What she does: I’m an engineer with a lot of curiosity, always moving from one tech field to another. I spend half of my time working on various technical projects to deliver results, and then with the other half on innovation platforms to serve more engineers.
Why engineering?: In engineering, you can choose to follow your heart and it's simple to deal with things.
Patents: More than five
Petchirajan J, Software Engineer in Madurai, India
At Honeywell: Three years
Education: Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science and Master of Science in Software Systems
What he does: I am a software engineer designing and developing tools. As a Tech Lead, I am involved in the entire development life cycle. I evaluate the newer technologies and identify the fitment of that technology for revenue generation.
Why engineering?: Since I was young, I have always been curious about how things work. I always used to break electrical items to understand how it was working. When I got around to high school, I joined a private computer center to learn programming and it led me to software engineering.
The best thing about being an engineer: It is the fact that we don't have routine 9 am-to-5 pm office work. As an engineer, we have to stay up-to-date with all types of technology and industry knowledge and this continuous learning makes our life very interesting.
Maryam Abdul-Wahid, Software Engineer in Phoenix
At Honeywell: Interned in 2015 and 2016 and started full-time in 2017
Education: Electrical and Computer Engineering with a minor in Systems Engineering at the University of Arizona
What she does: The program that I work on is Primus Epic 2.0 Touch Screen Controller (TSC) – Honeywell’s integrated avionics system for small and mid-size business jets. My role involves programming the graphics, writing and reviewing software requirements.
Why engineering?: My high school engineering classes were very hands-on and engaging, which inspired my decision to become an engineer. We designed cardboard chairs to support 200 lbs, experimented with programmable logic controllers, and designed autonomous robots for statewide competitions.
The best thing about being an engineer: The countless number of career paths available. Just within the aerospace industry, there are numerous exciting and challenging programs related to defense and space, commercial aircrafts, and business aircrafts.
Inspiration: I am inspired by the people at work and the Women in Honeywell Engineering Network (WHEN) and Aerospace Women’s Council (AWC).
Charlene Numrych, Regulatory Engineer, Lincolnshire, Illinois
At Honeywell: Five years
Education: BS Electrical Engineering at University of Illinois and MBA at Lake Forest
What she does: I work with regulatory agencies around the world to ensure Honeywell's gas detection equipment meets all laws, safety and performance requirements. This involves not only understanding the product design and documentation to be able to explain the designed-in safety features, but also the production requirements that ensure the product will be made every time as per the specified requirements.
Why engineering?: I made a deal with my father. He was afraid that I would get hurt competing as a varsity gymnast, especially after I broke my leg in the first competition. So he told me if I took Electrical Engineering, he would never complain about my gymnastics. His logic? It would be too hard for me to keep competing and keep up with studying. My logic? All the time saved arguing about gymnastics will more than cover the studying.
The best thing about being an engineer: There is a tremendous amount of flexibility in the path you can take – everything from moving into law and being a forensic expert to being on the ground level of fascinating new projects. There truly is no end to what you can do building on the basic engineering fundamentals. For instance, I use my knowledge of physics to be a better gymnastics/circus teacher.
Inspiration: Everyone at every level thinking ‘outside the box’ – which sounds trite – but is very true. The most inspiring things are watching ideas which seemed crazy at the time – like Dick Tracy’s watch – come true.