"Engineers should be on tap, not on top" - Agree or Disagree?

I recently read this quote (unaware of its origin), "Engineers should be on tap, not on top."

Basically, it means that the services of engineers should be readily available (like water from a tap), but the engineers should not be in charge or at the TOP.

I think it's a famous expression, since it's used so many times.

What do you think about it? Do engineers lack abilities to be on the top? Should they only stick to the technical work & be answerable all the time?


  • MaRo
    It comes back according to his/her life experience, technical experience, knowledge, communications skills & inspiration.

    Most of the greatest managers in the last 100 years were engineers.
  • PraveenKumar Purushothaman
    PraveenKumar Purushothaman
    Engineers are *designed* to be thinking in a technical way rather than being a manager and managing tasks or people. They are good as technicians but not as good, when it comes managing! We might be technically stronger, and can crack any type of code, but when they ask us, when could we complete doing the stuff, we give them a blank face, as we cannot predict or even decide how long it might take it to finish the work! 😲 Hope I am right! But its the case with me!
  • CE Designer
    CE Designer
    Engineers follow the scientific method of thinking and analysing situations. They know how to assess risk and possess the knowledge to address those risks or even prevent them. We are trained a certain way, our way of thinking (scientifically) is engraved in our brains. This i cant say for the rest.
    BUT, engineers cant do everything. If it were so having trained engineers doing technician or secreterial type work is just a waste of that resource. (no offence). As an engineer, i possess the ability to learn anything i wish but other people just cant do it. We dont have to be on 'top' but we should definitely be respected. I also agree with Praveen
  • N.Gowtham Raj
    N.Gowtham Raj

    Engineers deal with problems with MACHINES
    Managers deal with problems with PEOPLE which is considered to be a more difficult job....

    But there is one unique combination BE+MBA....

    BE+MBA is always superior than (any arts & science Degree)+MBA

    In fact majority of the pupils in IIMs hold a Bachelor's degree in ENGINEERING....!!!!
  • adren022
    The problem with being a manager is you'll get to do very less technical. After some years of experience you'll be controlling and co-ordinating the work of people under you. And those people under you will be handling a lot of technical stuff. And as you go higher in management it's very rare that people at the top have any technical knowledge. Their job is just to take care of the functionality of the organization and its more commerce and management.

    It's not that engineers don't have manegerial skills, it's just people tend to choose to be in a department where they get to do a lot of hands on technical stuff but every engineer will end up beind the Head of his/her department after some years and then they do have to manage people and with the experience of working in organization we tend to develop managerial attributes anyway.

    A masters degree in management for an engineer is mainly like a shortcut to top level management and when you know you have better people skills than technical skills it's the best thing to do.
  • CE Designer
    CE Designer
    If an Engineer can be a leader, he can be a manager. Managers need to be good leaders in order to drive their workforce. Leaders are those who people can trust and depend on, leaders have confidence in thos around them and in themselves most importantly.
    Like adren said, people skills are important for managers. People skills cannot be taught in an Engineering degree, nor a Management degree. It is something we learn as we work with people. This is why mangers are usually older, more experienced individuals in an institution.
  • ProdigiousJ
    I think most engineers are always on the top in a sense. The engineer is the mastermind behind the scenes. They definitely have the ability to manage but it's typically not a preference. Many times are your preferences your strengths. I do believe that an engineer would rather manage than be managed though. They are very independent and use their curiosity and thinking power to find the answers. In the movie, "Edison the Man", i recall that he couldn't say exactly when he would complete something nor could he take commands to create something specific. He had to follow his own map and his own ideas. Engineers can be on top of themselves more efficiently than about everybody. In other words they can lead themselves extremely well but may be misunderstood by others. Another example is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who had a hard time being on top. He had very poor managing skills as he spent his money at a ridiculous rate and he had a difficult time understanding people. The best engineers are the ones who can best apply their knowledge to create something new. I would say that most engineers would work more efficiently on tap rather than on top. Being on top could be somewhat easy or extremely difficult.

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