Why I love engineering: Sivam Pillai

A man stands in-front of a photograph of an engine.

Categories: Technology

20 July 2015

Author: Sivam Pillai


Sivam Pillai is a Product Engineer at Siemens. Here, he explains to us why he loves engineering.

When I set off to pursue a degree in electronics engineering my goal was simple: to be able to build circuits and test equipment for advanced electronic gadgets. Today as a professional engineer I am able to see far more than circuits in a piece of electronic equipment. At a very fundamental level, I am able to achieve a profound understanding of how things work and apply this knowledge in completely different and unrelated systems with a holistic approach towards the engineering challenge.


When a new technology hits the market place most people look at it with surprise and amazement. However, as an engineer, the emotion I tend to express is curiosity. I do not want to be surprised by new things but would rather know how this new product was conceptualized and how it does what it does. It is this curiosity that leads me to be creative and innovative. What could be more satisfying than creating something completely original and new out of an idea emerging from your mind? As an engineer that is exactly what I do and keep wishing to do every single day, may it be big or small!

Improving lives

The value of engineering, however, is not just about creating something new, something different, something special; it is also about creating such things in a form that is both usable and affordable for people from all walks of life. If it were not for several years of engineering, the computers from the 1980s would have remained just as they were; a privilege only for large organisations and millionaires, and the smartphone far from possible. Technology is not just developing rapidly but is also getting more and more accessible for people all over the world. As an engineer, for me the satisfaction is not when a spectacular project is complete but when people are able to enjoy the benefits of that project and transform their lives for the better. It is this social aspect that every single engineer including myself share, that has today connected billions of people through free and open-source codes, social networks, Linux operating systems, Android phones, the list goes on.

Diverse opportunities

Another aspect of engineering is its multi-faceted nature. Engineering is omnipresent. Right from the MRI machines used for advanced diagnosis or the Curiosity rover researching in Mars all the way to the technology used in the fields of music and arts, the presence of engineering is wide and diverse. Despite its diverse nature, the core of engineering sits on the strong foundations of science and mathematics which, irrespective of the diversity, unites all the engineers from across the world onto one single platform. For me as an engineer, this translates into a wide range of opportunities to participate, develop and contribute. Being an engineer has helped me network with engineers from all these fields and today has helped me grow as a problem solver, analytical thinker, a curious experimenter and hence a better person.

Creating connections

Lastly, as I write this, I peek into my phone to look at some of the beautiful pictures I took with my parents and grandparents, friends and family. Irrespective of how far away I am today, I can still feel their love and connect to them with these snapshots of memories. When that is not enough I have a mobile phone to talk to my loved ones or the internet to chat on video. Without some of the greatest feats of engineering, this would never have been possible. We often tend to alienate engineering to a field of machines, however, as an engineer today I realise that after all, engineering has always been for the people, for the love that we share and for the togetherness we embrace.

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More on the author, Sivam Pillai

PhD student at the National University of Singapore.

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