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What is an Expert? What is an Engineer?

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What is an Expert?
By Dr. Bob Uda, The Cyber-commentator
November 1, 2014
 

An “expert” is someone who learns and knows more-and-more about less-and-less until finally, in the mathematical limit; he/she knows everything about nothing.  That is an “expert.”  Experts have specialties.  The fewer things they specialize in, the more time they have to learn everything there is to know about that specialty.  They become very knowledgeable about a few things.

On the other hand, the “generalist” or a “Jack of all trades” learns a little bit about a whole lot of things.  Therefore, in the mathematical limit, they know nothing about everything.  Somewhere between those two extremes is a happy balance, where you can know a lot about many things.  You are not an expert, but you are not ignorant either.

To stay ahead of the game, all you need do is to learn more than your peers do during the same timeframe.  You then are the expert.  Remember, an expert is a person who learns more and more about less and less until finally, in the mathematical limit, he/she knows everything about nothing.  Another thing that I have learned is that the more I know, the more I know the less I know.

If we spent all of our time on one thing only, we then will become a real expert on that one thing.  However, if we spread our time among many things, we become well rounded, but we are not necessarily good at anything.  We are a “Jack of all trades.”  That is sort or what I am … a generalist or a “Jack of all trades” and a master of none.  It all depends on what you want out of life … variety or the same old thing all of the time.  There is an old saying that goes like this: “Variety is the spice of life.”

What is an Engineer?

An “engineer” is a person who passes as an exacting expert on the basis of being able to turn out with prolific fortitude infinite strings of incomprehensible formulae derived from vague assumptions and theories developed by analyzing empirical equations generated with precise data acquired from carefully monitored experimental investigations using complex instruments of problematical accuracy and doubtful reliability for the sole and avowed purpose of hopelessly confusing a chimerical group of esoteric fanatics referred to altogether too frequently as technicians.  Anonymous

Yesterday, I did not even know how to spell “engineer.”  Today, I is one.



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