It is an established fact that engineers work with designs and concepts out of the technical knowledge learned in college. The work extends to the application of theories in real life.
But some things that are solved in strenuous computations and drawn on computer-aided drawings do not fit in the actual: this is known by tradesmen and technicians who see the imperfections in the work because they are the one who are hands on.
This is why engineers and their workers or tradesmen debate often. When engineers say that, “why didn’t this work when I did the right computations and design?” to which the technicians and tradesmen argue, “I tried it but it just didn’t work;” they just have meet halfway.
Engineers can’t always be right and the workers can’t always be right either. But at times when there will be misunderstanding between the two, each has to dig deep and find what the real problem is: engineers have to check the work of the tradesman if he employed the design, and when found out that it isn’t feasible, then the design needs to be revised; tradesman also have to make sure with the engineer that he or she did the computation and design correctly, or he executed the plans as designed, which may be the reason why it won’t work when done in real life.
It takes mutual learning and respect for an engineering project to work. Engineers can’t think highly of themselves because experienced tradesmen and technicians hold the skills in that particular field. Without them, the engineers’ plans on paper will never be materialized. At certain points, the engineer and tradesman have to be both the student and the teacher, depending on the concept discussed.
When engineers learn from the tradesmen and the other way around, there will form a certain bond that both get to treasure forever. One day, one of them will say, “I learned this because I was taught by this engineer/tradesman.”
One best way, though, for engineers to understand how to perform the calculations he did is to get his hands on it, at least once in a while. For example, engineers may design something that can’t be welded because a welder couldn’t get into a gap, but he or she will never realize it because the engineer never welded in his or her entire life.
Take a break from the laboratories or your office and go out there. Every time an engineer picks up a tool, even when he is not required to do it, there will be something new that is learned that will yield a better understanding at the side of the tradesmen or technicians.