alman muhendisligi

Almanlar bu kadar cok sayida buyuk bilim adami ve muhendisi nasil yetistirebiliyor?

I’m an Engineer; I’ve lived in Germany for a couple of years, during which time I’ve interacted with hundreds of German engineers; I know - or at least used to know - the German language (knowledge). Therefore, I think I’m qualified enough to give this question a shot.

At the outset, this is one of those questions to which it’s difficult to write a factually correct answer that’s also politically correct and vice versa. Having seen some answers that highlight free education, revered social status of engineers, and so on, I think the politically correct ground has been covered adequately. So, I’ll take the not-so-politically correct stance. My answer will also have a few stereotypes, which should be fine given that the question is itself stereotyped.

With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, here are some traits about Germans that help Germany produce great engineers:

  1. All Germans are intelligent. I haven’t come across a single dumb German.
  2. Germans are rigid. “My way or highway” is the default behavior. While there are many right answers for an MBA case study, there’s generally only one right answer for an engineering problem.
  3. Germans refuse to get rushed for time. I remember an old Patek Phillipe watch ad which said something to the effect of “if a certain watch movement takes 72 days to make, we will take 72 days to make it”. Patek Phillipe is Swiss but this statement captures the German working culture equally well. It’s fairly common in Germany for a prospect or customer to call you up in August to give you an appointment for a meeting on 27 December (same year, thankfully!).
  4. They say a German builds a house for the next 1000 years. So aversion to frequent changes is a basic cultural trait in Germany.
  5. Germans have an unmatched ability to put their head down and plod through stuff, whether it’s abstract formulas or engineering drawings or whatever that’s deemed to be an integral part of the work on hand. In other words, Germans abhor workarounds and shortcuts.
  6. “Right first time” belief and distaste for rework and waste. These are all traits that are extremely valuable in Engineering. Ergo Germany produces great Engineers.

That said, this is only true in fields of engineering that are relatively old and where pace of change is low. For example, mechanical engineering - an automobile still works on the basis of 4-stroke combustion engine invented in early 20th century; chemical engineering - soda ash is still produced using the same Solvay’s process invented in the mid-19th century.

Now, let’s take areas of engineering like software where

  • Pace of change is rapid
  • Governing principles are “fail fast”, “flexibile”, “user feedback”, “iterate”, and other mantras.
  • UX and CX matter a lot.

The aforementioned traits that helps Germany produce great engineers in traditional fields of engineering could actually be liabilities in these new fields. It’s not surprising that Germany hasn’t produced many leading software products, with SAP being the sole exception that proves the rule. Even some German products from traditional fields haven’t become global leaders for the same reason e.g. MIELE washing machine, which may run for 100 years but it’s so difficult to operate it that people may not use it much! I was also shocked to see the “hand brake” on a Mercedes Benz car on the foot!

With software playing a bigger and bigger role even in traditional products - e.g. autonomous cars - Germany will need to change a few things at the core of its engineering discipline it it expects to maintain its status as a global engineering powerhouse going forward.

One concluding remark: There are countries where engineers are more socially revered than in Germany. But Germany produces more number of great engineers than them. So, while a revered social status is not unimportant, it’s more of a hygiene factor.