Engineering vs. Developing a Product

College has taught me many things. One very, very obvious thing I have discovered is the difference between building an incredible product and being a fantastic engineer.
Personally, I do not necessarily see myself as an incredible engineer, rather I see myself as someone who cares deeply about building and refining a product.

While I have a tremendous respect for those who can do the calculus, algebra, and physics to an incredible precision, I feel that I see a different set of disciplines when building a product. Areas such as design, art, philosophy, and psychology are also important to me. I care about how a user will react and feel when using a product I am building. Additionally, I care about how the interface or appearance of an app or website will change how a user interacts with the content .

Essentially, I don’t enjoy programming because it is very technical and has many details, rather I enjoy programming because it allows me to take crazy ideas that I have and turn them into a reality. While many people have the preconceived idea that software engineers and developers are non-creative people, this is incredibly false. Many developers are incredibly creative people who have a passion for technology because it gives them the ability to build whatever they wish to.

Overall, college has made very clear the distinction between the disciplines of engineering, computer science, and entrepreneurship. Additionally, it has made clear how each person has their unique set of skills and abilities. Sure, there may be a 1000 good programmers at the University of Michigan, but perhaps only 10-15 would be fantastic people to start a company with. At the same time, maybe only 20 of the 1000 are really talented enough to build something as technically complex as the backends powering google, Facebook, twitter, etc.

Basically, I have realized this. Everyone has their own area of expertise. Some may not be the best at the creative side – they may not be able to see the importance of design and other related fields. Others may be lacking in technical areas – they struggle greatly with concepts of theoretical math and physics. Both of these types of people are incredibly valuable and have their place. Personally, I feel that I fit more into the creative  mindset with a passion for the technical components of Computer Science.

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3 thoughts on “Engineering vs. Developing a Product

  1. I’ve been noticing the same thing at my university – where I used to feel I was behind when compared to other classmates I now realize are just our different individual focuses and strengths.

    I used to think I was so dumb that I didn’t understand XYZ aspect of graphics programming because some of my classmates did. Now when I see them struggle with the concepts of rich javascript applications, I see we just spent our time on different interests.

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