Create and develop innovative ideas and products.

What does an Engineer do?

The world is full of modern marvels. Ships that float, for instance. Planes that fly. Buildings that soar. Cats that know how to use—and flush—toilets.

With the exception of potty-trained felines (only God can take credit for that one), humankind owes many of our greatest accomplishments to engineers who are the driving forces behind everything from computers and skyscrapers to toasters and oil tankers.

When you’re an engineer, you’re part mastermind, part miracle worker. That is: You dream up impossible things, then use math and science to make them possible. Whether it’s more nutritious orange juice or a faster motorcycle, you’re a soldier of science whose marching orders are always the “what” and whose mission is always the “how.”

Although you might practice any of several disciplines, tasks usually are similar across all branches of engineering. No matter what kind of engineer you are, therefore, you typically spend your days drafting designs and making calculations in order to solve problems related to construction and/or manufacturing.

Other professionals such as architects and product developers typically come up with the ideas and aesthetics for whatever you’re designing, be it a highway or a hybrid car; you, meanwhile, find out how to make it safe, sturdy, and functional by choosing the right materials, dimensions, and systems.

Because you need to dream up potential problems and preemptively fix them, your job requires a good imagination on top of mad math skills. It does not, however, require a YouTube following, so potty-trained cats need not apply.