The American Society of Civil Engineers unfortunately defines civil engineering (of which we structural engineers are a subset) as… “The profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and physical sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize economically, the materials and forces of nature for the progressive well-being of humanity in creating, improving and protecting the environment, in providing facilities for community living, industry and transportation, and in providing structures for the use of humankind."
How could a definition of engineering omit the most important word – design! This again sounds like we are merely applied scientists, which is not the case. It is lengthy, dull, and fails to describe what we do, instead focusing on the end product, what we make. Saying that a cook makes cake does not describe cooking very well.
ASCE also states:
“Civil engineers make civilization possible.”
Again, this weak definition fails to describe what we do, just the end product of our work.