|By Clare Luk Pui-kwan, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers|
Some of you might say engineers are cool because they build railway networks, design landmark skyscrapers; decorate buildings and light up Victoria Harbour at night, making Hong Kong the 'Pearl of the Orient'.
But there's more to it than that. Nowadays, engineers need to use their skills and intellect to meet the challenges of technology and business in the modern world in order to make a difference. Their role involves social, ethical, environmental and economic challenges.
As resources are scarce, engineers have a responsibility to help protect to planetary resources. They need to create more useful products and services with the lowest possible consumption of natural resources and energy.
Meanwhile, engineers in different areas should work together to find solutions to sustainability challenges for the benefit of the society. Engineers should be inclusive and avoid working in isolation, utilising cross-disciplinary knowledge and diverse skills as much as they can.
Another important point is that engineers need to keep learning. They need to master the latest technologies. Learning is something without end, and not only the accumulation of facts but of values and the application of these values for the good of society.
Engineers also have a duty to understand and abide by their discipline's codes of ethics. These include a duty towards society, financial responsibility towards employers or clients, and safeguarding the reputation of the engineering profession. These ethics are part of every aspect of any job that an engineer does.
I also think that engineers should always have a kind heart and lend a helping hand to those in need. They should do voluntary work, preferably overseas, so that they get a broader perspective of social issues. Overseas voluntary work will help then understand society from a global perspective.
After all, engineers play an important role in shaping the future. Meanwhile, they face new and greater challenges every day - from climate change to economic competitiveness to massive infrastructure projects.
To me, Engineers are designers, as well as problem solvers. Engineers have a role in engineering a sustainable and competitive Hong Kong, for the present and for the future.