Ever since I began college, I've always wondered what engineering really is. If I'm going be an engineer someday I would like to know what's expected of me. I found a lot of definitions on the internet for engineering.
Webster defines engineering as "the application of science and mathematics by which the properties of matter and the sources of energy in nature are made useful to people" (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/engineering def. 2 (a)).
Georgia Institute of Technology defines engineering as "the practical application of science and math to solve problems" (http://www.ece.gatech.edu/academics/outreach/engineering.html).
The idea of engineering seems to be very broad. "...To solve problems" could mean a hundred or even thousands of things, and actually, when people ask me what engineers do, I usually tell them "engineers solve problems." I suppose even an accountant could be considered a engineer because their purpose is to improve efficiency and maintain finances--so a financial engineer. I have even heard of a mother being considered a domestic engineer and a garbage man a sanitation engineer. I reckon whatever your trade is could be considered an engineer.
My idea of being an engineer includes the ability to use obtained knowledge in practical applications to improve the efficiency or conditions thereof. This also is not limited to applying future knowledge gained through observation or data. In my general view, the engineer is to be an individual who never stops learning and trying to improve or make better.
I'm sure I'll have more to add on this subject later, but for now, these are my thoughts on what engineering is to me. Please feel free to comment and add your opinions. I would love to hear them!