Skills needed in the Workforce – Engineering for Tomorrow

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Did you know that almost everything you eat, wear, use and like to do involves engineering? Engineering is everywhere around us. There is no doubt that on the one hand engineering is often very complex thus requiring structured thinking and attention to detail, while on the other hand, engineering is also a highly creative process. It is an extremely dynamic and always evolving and for this reason, engineers are expected to keep in touch with these changes. The question is what does it take to become an engineer?

Anyone interested in pursuing a career in engineering/science is required to possess certain skills to succeed in their career. These skills are deemed important as they enable engineers to work in a professional manner and meet the benchmarks for high engineering standards such as those set by ISO among others.

Prospective engineers should demonstrate the ability to solve problems in a structured manner, and design new systems through innovative and creative thinking. This is why students of engineering spend a tremendous amount of time in advanced math and computer courses in addition to their core classes. In addition, engineers need to be very comfortable with technology and the latest tools particularly new and emerging programming languages among other things. Engineers should be able to apply scientific and mathematical tools correctly and efficiently when carrying out tasks.

These are all things we know today and given the current curriculum, most engineering students gain these skills while are university. So what is changing? As part of their daily tasks, engineers are often also required to interpret and analyze data whenever necessary and maintain sound theoretical approaches when handling any project. But today, it is not merely the ability to deal with data but big data management is becoming increasingly more important in today’s world.

Transferable skills should be developed as well by people interested in engineering. Engineers should have the ability to communicate in an effective manner using oral and written techniques and collaborate with others in a team. These soft skills are often neglected in the engineering core curriculum – something that has been changing over time. Research has shown that the lack of key soft skills is consistently a concern and curriculum needs to change to integrate these skills as well. More importantly engineering students need to understand that these are key skills and acquire them as part of their college experiences.

Finally, every engineer should have the ability to manage their time and resources effectively as well and above all, they should pursue continued learning. Given the rapid pace of technological changes, engineer must have the ability to keep up with all the advancements that occur even more than ever.

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