How to explain what is computer engineering to 7th grade

My friend is an elementary school teacher. Her grade 7 class is having career day to understand different kinds of jobs and she asked me as a guest speaker. I am a toastmaster, so I thought how hard can it be to speak in front of 20 kids. I was wrong. It is quite hard to explain what is my job to the little kids. I cannot use difficult words or they won’t understands. Many technical, which terms seems very natural to me, are like Martian language to them.

I did came prepared, but I did not prepare enough. I did not think hard enough trying explain my job in very simple language. I printed some photos Gameboy and iPhone circuit board. They seems quite exciting seeing how a Gameboy looks like inside. I also brought a chips to show them, but I doubt they understand exactly what it does. At the end of the day, I think they sort of know computer engineers build computer chips and there are computer chips inside every electronic device. I bet they are totally lost when I try to explain how we make build a chip. I even used the word fabrication.

The little kids asked me some questions about my job. Most of them are pretty general questions, like how’s my work environment like, what kind of education I need, working hours, etc. When I said I work flexible hours, I can come into work leave any time I like and I can take breaks whenever I want, the little kids seem very excited. Then I explained a little more that my job is project base, which means I have work long hours when the deadline is getting close. I tried to use handing in homework as an analogy, I hope some of them will get it.

I like talking to little kids about engineering.  I feel I have done some good service to my profession.  I wonder did my words inspired any kid grow up to be an engineer.

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