Hobbies are one of the best ways of keeping your mental health in tip-top condition and even Engineers can benefit greatly from them. They keep your mind active, help develop some real tangible skills and can also provide a great way to socialize with like-minded individuals.
Some studies also who that they can provide a great means of handling some very serious mental issues but in some circumstances can also greatly improve your general fitness and wellbeing.
Engineers, like all humans beings, need some downtime from time to time. There are few things better than taking a hobby or two to take you away from the stresses of modern life.
Although there is a vast array of different hobbies out there, you can see a general trend with the choices of hobbies engineers is drawn to.
If your particular hobby or hobbies isn't listed here don't take it personally this is just a general trend you'll find when polling them.
1. Brewing beer or fermenting wine is both fun and saves you money
Many engineers prefer to take up hobbies that take them away from their "day job". One popular hobby appears to be brewing beer.
Not only is this a highly rewarding thing to do, but it also saves you a pretty penny (over the long run). As you are probably more than aware, you can either buy ready-made kits or source all the components and ingredients needed yourself.
A word of caution, however, this hobby is very, very smelly!
For more advanced brewers you can begin to experiment by adding in other things to produce your very own flavor of a beer. If you are not a big fan of beer you could always ferment some wines.
Of course, you could always please the gods by making vast batches of Ambrosia (aka mead)! Yum Yum.
2. Woodworking and metalworking are also very popular
Much like brewing beer, many engineers like to keep themselves busy with something productive that isn't necessarily related to their work. Woodworking and metalworking are also very popular pastimes that engineers take particular enjoyment of.
Whether that be making basic furniture or making basic tools like jigs, woodworking is both enjoyable and rewarding. You never know this hobby might turn into a burning passion down the line.
Many attest to the connection they get working with their hands and wood or metal. The smell, texture, and satisfaction it brings when you put together something you've honed and designed yourself is almost unparalleled.
Whilst this is a great hobby for anyone, not just engineers, these hobbies do require some initial investment to acquire the tools you'll need.
3. Outdoor sports is another popular hobby
From mountain biking to kayaking, outdoor sports are another way engineers like to let their hair down. Of course, this is not going to be for everyone, but if you love the outdoors you might want to consider this as a hobby.
Not only do they tend to keep you fit but you also get plenty of sunshine and get to see the world. Obviously, this kind of hobby does come with the very real risk of getting injured, but that's part of the fun.
If you find yourself cooped up a lot with your work you might want to seriously consider any kind of outdoor sport as a hobby to keep you sane.
4. Shooting and bullet making is also popular
Although not for everyone, shooting can be a very rewarding hobby. We are not talking about hunting here but rather recreational use of a shooting range or similar institution.
Many who shoot like to understand the basic mechanics of their weapons and take great pride in cleaning and repairing them themselves. Some also like to make their own bullets (called handloading) - though not necessarily for the sake of saving money.
Like the guns themselves, anyone who makes their own ammunition partakes in it for the pure academic pleasure of it.
5. Recreational flying is also another popular pastime
Other engineers seem to like to take to the air of a free weekend. This hobby is highly demanding of your mental faculties and tends to be quite an expensive undertaking - so bear that in mind.
But the costs are far outweighed by the pleasures it brings to anyone lucky enough to do this.
Piloting an aircraft requires you to understand, or at least grasp, a wide range of subjects. These include mechanics, physics, meteorology, aerodynamics, and navigation to name but a few.
What could be better than escaping the rat race high in the sky - at least for a few short hours.
6. Do video games count as a hobby?
You might not be very surprised to hear to video games are also popular as a hobby for engineers. Whilst not as 'productive' as other hobbies listed here they are certainly fun and a great way to escape reality.
After all, that's what they were designed to do.
Many may frown down on playing computer games as a pastime, but it is an incredibly popular form of entertainment. Not all games are the same, however, and some can be very challenging indeed.
Studies have also shown video games can bring you real-life benefits to cognitive function. But they can also consume vast amounts of your life if you are not careful.
7. Playing musical instruments is a great hobby
To be fair, this hobby is not really unique to engineer alone. But since engineers are human, believe it or not, this shouldn't really come as a surprise.
Playing a musical instrument develops patience, tactile precision and opens up your more creative and, dare we say, 'artistic' side.
Instruments like the guitar also require you to employ a surprising amount of maths and analytical skills to accomplish.
For this reason, playing musical instruments not only provides you with entertainment and a feeling of self-improvement but it will also work that grey matter to help with your day job.
Win-win. Who knows, you might even start a band and become fabulously wealthy one day (or not).
8. Tinkering with Arduino, Rasberry Pi etc is also popular
Electrical and mechanical engineers seem to have a great fondness for tinkering around with Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects. This should probably not come as much of a surprise, to be honest.
Many attest to the satisfaction they take from designing a system to do something, build it, code it, and watch it work exactly as intended.
Some also turn this hobby into a money making machine by building cryptocurrency mining rigs and the like. Others do it just for the challenge and giggles.
Many others also develop Arduino systems for some form of home automation like water plants etc.
9. Many engineers like to tinker with old cars
Another popular hobby for engineers is to tinker with or completely refurbish old cars, bikes, and other vehicles. Whilst this is probably more like a "busman's holiday" kind of hobby, it's certainly incredibly enjoyable and rewarding.
Whilst this hobby does take some time to get up to speed on the basics, there are plenty of books and video guides online, like YouTube, to help you out. In fact, this might be another hobby that turns into a full-time obsession.
You might even be able to monetize it on platforms like YouTube if you get good enough. DIY car maintenance and repair is the gift that keeps on giving.
10. Tabletop gaming and board games are "where it's at"
Although some, ok many, might "look down their nose" at this type of hobby it is both incredibly rewarding and fun. Some can become very expensive hobbies (we refer to directly to Games Workshop and similar tabletop battle games), they don’t have to be.
Some either partake in them for the strategical thinking involved, others prefer to simply collect, assemble, paint and customize model lines.
Over the last few decades, there has been a massive resurgence in popularity in general of boardgames with many new and exciting designs being brought to market almost every week it seems.
Boardgames and other tabletop games are also a great way to meet new like-minded individuals and tend to have a vibrant and very friendly community around each one.
This is certainly something to consider if you have historically been into computer games but are looking for something a little more sociable.
11. Model railways, airplanes, rockets - basically model anything
Following on nicely from our previous entry, building model railways, airplanes, rockets or basically anything, is also very popular amongst engineering folks. This, again, should probably not come as much of a surprise.
Model making, whether it be using off the shelf kits or making your own miniature machines, is a very rewarding and immersive hobby. But things like model railways go far beyond just laying tracks and buying new and wonderful engines.
Serious model makers will also create entirely new worlds around their railways or ultra-realistic dioramas for other model kits. They may also build working miniature mechanical engines entirely from scratch!
Any and all of these require the hobbyist to develop a deep understanding of many other skills beyond the basic model assembly. It will be warned, consume an inordinate amount of your spare time if you let it - but that's not a problem is it?