Of engineering and its under-rated value

Yesterday my friend @arunsdevine was lamenting how some of his friends make twice or thrice what he makes (income). Obvious professions that came up were banking and law, and we wondered why one would ever want to do a software engineering or product management job.

Either one works 80 hour weeks and earns millions. Or one keeps it sane and lives a healthy life (and probably earn a little less). It is of course a personal choice. Some of my friends apparently love the banking lifestyle. I thought about why I never found it attractive going after banking. I had all the access I needed, yet I chose to become an engineer/entrepreneur. Just thought of putting it into words and the answer came to me as quite simple.

If earning a few million dollars is your aim, then you might be better off doing investment banking. The probability of success might be higher than say starting up your own business and making an exit / earning that much income from it. But there’s also a more fundamental difference as to how you want to acquire money. Do you want to acquire money by cutting a percentage out of the existing pile. Or do you want to create money by generating value. I think bankers, lawyers usually do the former, while engineers, designers, creators have a higher potential to do the latter (not that we necessarily do).

I just feel that it is an under-valued skill to be an engineer. I often notice a lack of pride for their profession in many engineers. And if creating value beyond a few million dollars is the dream, it probably gives creators an edge. The mindset is different – acquire vs create.