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Engineering Image Needs Polish, Imagineering Perhaps?

Posted October 14, 2008 12:00 AM

The president of the Society of Operations Engineers (www.soe.org.uk) blames engineering societies for the decline in the profession. Ian Ling says the public's lack of appreciation of engineering, and the poor recruitment uptake are engineers fault. "We are inward looking, almost incestuous and because of this we are, I suggest, failing our members. And, more importantly, in our role and public duty as engineering professionals." School children and adults alike are put off from careers in engineering through a total lack of awareness. What should engineers do to promote their profession?

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: Engineering Image Needs Polish, Imagineering Perhaps?

10/16/2008 10:21 AM

The whole concept of sending engineers into the manufacturing field without practical hands on skills is a major flaw in the way that companies do business. It is the technically inclined individuals who come up from the bench who have the knowledge of how things are made not engineers. All the degrees in the world can not stand up to the customer service of the knowledge of the technician. Until companies recognize the importance of spanning the gap between education and real world skill companies will continue to struggle. Sending a degreed engineer out into the work force without hands on skills of the journeymen is like send a soldier to war with battle training of boot camp but without weapons. The odds of an army of soldiers without hands on skills combined with weapons to win a war is slim to none.

John P. Wallis, Technical Sales Professional, Hugin Components, Inc. Rocklin, CA.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Engineering Image Needs Polish, Imagineering Perhaps?

10/16/2008 3:39 PM

I agree with the guest's comment to a certain extent. Being a Mechanical Engineer and the Maintenance & Engineering Manager for a large printing company, I see first hand the relationship that needs to exist. If I need technical assistance, I want someone that has worked on it before, not just read the manual. On the flip side, I also want someone who can think through a problem, document, and find true root cause. I then want them to take it a step further and put systems in place to prevent it when applicable. This is a balancing act between engineers and technicians, once a certain level of mutual respect is obtained between the two, it's a beautiful thing to watch.

Regarding the initial thread, engineers are in every facet of manufacturing. There are a lot of Fortune 500 CEO's that have engineering degrees, but maybe that's the problem.. We've gotten away from the essence of what engineering is and too focused on making money. Give me a good engineer and we can make anything work, I'm not talking about a CAD/CAE jockey. I pride myself in my ability to read a P&L statement as well as fix a press or design a piece of automation. Engineering needs a grass roots approach to getting young people involved and getting them hands on. Less theory and more application.

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India - Member - ROBOTICS Engineering Fields - Marine Engineering - New Member;I believe in integrating several disciplines of engineering.

Join Date: Jan 2008
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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Engineering Image Needs Polish, Imagineering Perhaps?

10/17/2008 10:00 AM

Sir,

you too have gotten to the roots of the problem. I guess the present financial disasters worldwide is because of too many "Engineers" in the financial analyst arena.

Fortune 500 CEO's that have engineering degrees, but maybe that's the problem.. We've gotten away from the essence of what engineering is and too focused on making money.

The complexities of the finacial system are better handled by "Algorithm happy" Engineering Graduates, but they lack the overall vision required for understanding the end results and outputs of the programs they create. To a large extent, there has to be a blend of "Nuts and bolts" and over all functionality of the system,encompassing the effects on the financial environment in which the Automation operates.

You seem to be a very happy blend of engineering and management.

Regards,

D.Ramakrishna Naidu

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Engineering Image Needs Polish, Imagineering Perhaps?

10/20/2008 11:55 AM

I wouldn't say I'm happy with the blend of management and engineering. What I mean is that I appall the pressure to make budgets vs doing the right thing. I will soon be heading back into solid engineering vs my current role as Maintenance and Engineering Manager. The problem that I have is I will then end up working for some MBA that doesn't know squat about designing, caring for, moving or installing equipment.

I do agree with your further post that there needs to be more emphasis on technical application in the engineering ranks. I have sought out and attained certain certificates in the technician realm just to get more antiquated with the hands on nature of being an engineer in manufacturing. I went to an ABET accredited school, have passed the EIT exam and will soon test for my PE but I feel that I was not adequately prepared for the true nature of manufacturing.

With all of us in agreement, and I'm sure there will be more, what do we do about it??

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India - Member - ROBOTICS Engineering Fields - Marine Engineering - New Member;I believe in integrating several disciplines of engineering.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Engineering Image Needs Polish, Imagineering Perhaps?

10/17/2008 9:37 AM

All the degrees in the world can not stand up to the customer service of the knowledge of the technician. Until companies recognize the importance of spanning the gap between education and real world skill companies will continue to struggle.

Dear Guest,

You have really and truly nailed the deficiency of the "Degree Mills" called Universities.

If those who set the curriculum and syllabuses heed the feedback from experienced Engineering Professionals (Degreed or otherwise), the vast number of "Engineering Graduates" would be more appropriate for humanity's needs.

The 4-year Degree program should include at least 2 years of the Technician certification program and then 2 years of theory exposure as a happy blend to cover the gap that you mention.

Regards

D.Ramakrishna Naidu

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Guru

Join Date: Oct 2007
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#6

Re: Engineering Image Needs Polish, Imagineering Perhaps?

01/26/2009 7:20 PM

Make a Hollywood (or Bollywood) movie where the hero is an engineer, and you'll fix your recruiting problems. (I hear Atlas Shrugged is coming up as a production with Angelina Jolie. Will be interesting if the character based on Tesla is a hero in the movie, as he was in the book.) If one of you has a Screen Play with an engineer hero, let me know of it and I'll see what I can do to get it into production. If some group of Engineers wants to hire me to write a movie about a heroic engineer, I'm available. My brother is a sculptor who knows how to weld and runs a university Art Lab. I'm a writer who has been a grip and a gaffer and actor. We agreed one day in a conversation about work, we wished we had just become engineers. Another prosaic thing Engineers could do to advance their ranks would be to teach math in schools and thereby develop a universally effective mathematics syllabus and curriculum. It is a rare school in the US that has on faculty inspiring math teachers. For that matter I don't remember even being offered an Engineering Class in any High School I went to. Far as I know they don't offer it till you are in a college or university, so maybe a move towards earlier exposure to the work is called for as a basic solution to the problem. To summate I'd suggest somehow getting a Movie made that has an Engineer as the Hero.: -Overcoming difficulties and on a quest, are the rules for successful Hollywood type movies.) & putting in place courses in early schooling that educate those interested.

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