DescriptionSalary: $50,001 or more per year
: Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing
construction and maintenance of building structures and facilities, such as roads, railroads,
airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power
plants, water and sewage systems, and waste disposal units. Includes architectural,
structural, traffic, ocean, and geo-technical engineers.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition at http://www.bls.gov/OCO/
Engineer here. Mostly advanced algebra and trig is what we use daily. Once in a while, I have to hand-calculate something hydraulically related and you can get into calculus doing that. Even then, they're usually formulas that you get - empirical formulas - that tend to come from state regulatory agencies (they all have manuals, like my 'bible', the FDOT Drainage Manual in all its three volume glory) based on their experience with everything from materials longevity to rainfall distribution in the area. Formulas dealing with rainfall prediction can be extremely complex. We have things called isopluvial maps that we use, which are rainfall amount distribution maps. These maps allow me to calculate things like the amount of rain that constitutes a 25-year, 24-hour storm event. That means that I can calculate for any town in Florida the amount of rain that is predicted to fall in a storm so intense it only comes once every 25-years, and it lasts 24-hours.
The FDOT requires that I test my stormwater pond systems for a total of 48 storm frequencies! That gets us into matrix mathematics. When I submit a pond design to the DOT for review, I have to provide the following storm matrix. My pond has to be able to contain all 48 storms in the matrix.
I have to test the:
Now, I have modeling software that can do this for me, but I have to know how the software calculates the storm events to understand if the data is reasonable. All data that my modeling software generates has to be reviewed first by me, then one of my peers, then a senior engineer, then another senior engineer, then it usually goes back to the first senior engineer for signing and sealing, which makes the plans a legal document that if passed by a governing agency, will become construction plans for whatever you designed.
So when a program spits out a number, I can't just blindly trust it. I.e., I have to know what the heck the computer is doing for me.
Yeah, you could say I use lots of math at my job, and I love it. Keeps the mind sharp!