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Do Tough Employer Words Presage Better Engineering Employment?

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sensor pro
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Re: Is Design News for designers or engineers?
sensor pro   6/26/2011 9:59:01 PM
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I do not see a problem with the name. It is important that the site brings in smart and innovative people to review and introduce interesting issues related to design. Any design: electrical, electronic, mechanical, robotics, marine, etc.....

I personally like integration of various sensors into numerous applications. Usually during the day I may talk to 10-15 different clients from 10-15 different industries. This is what makes my day pass fast.

The more applications the better for me.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Is Design News for designers or engineers?
Charles Murray   6/26/2011 7:06:09 PM
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To K.I.S.S. -- Design News' name is a little misleading. In the days when this magazine was launched (1946, I believe), "design" generally referred to engineering design. The readers were all educated pretty similarly -- i.e., full complement of classes in strength of materials, circuit analysis, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, etc. Industrial design -- which is more oriented to design and less oriented toward math and science -- grew in popularity later on. We still, however, have kept the "Design News" name, even as the interpretation of the word "design" has changed. The name does cause confusion, but we are essentially an engineering design magazine.  

K.I.S.S.
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Silver
Re: Hey, I like being an engineer!
K.I.S.S.   6/26/2011 3:45:21 PM
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I agree - I love my job too.. Although I'm not an Engineer, I'm a designer - but when you think about it, as you effectively spend a 3rd of your life working, shouldn't you do something you enjoy? I most certainly do - and one of the best feelings is to be driving along the road, and then see something that you made/designed.... and point it out to every passenger in the car (my Fiance is sick of it...) it's a good feeling, and surely that's one of the best motivations to put both feet on the floor every morning......

As a sidebar - this is the Design News website? maybe it should be re-named the Engineering design news website....haha it apppears that every contributor has passed through hallowed portals and emerged the other side with a mortar board....

I haven't, I never had any interest in doing so, and I'm just looking for an open discussion forum that addresses everyday design issues...

 

 

K.I.S.S.
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Silver
Re: Lack of Qualified Engineers
K.I.S.S.   6/26/2011 3:03:48 PM
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It's a bit of a conundrum, isn't it? - on the one hand further study is supposed to enhance one's ability to form independant opinions - but the process of doing so would appear to involve doing that by yourself....independantly..... and the old adage that those who can, do - those that can't, teach, still holds water,

And in my opinion, the fact that all the best people get laid off is simply that they are the best, and therefore the most expensive cost to Company personnel....

As far as I'm concerned, it's an utterly disengenuous process, and one that disenfranchises worthy people, deserving of opportunity owing to their ability.

So let's all just get our begging bowls out, and knock on the door of Asia.....

Dave Palmer
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Platinum
Hey, I like being an engineer!
Dave Palmer   6/26/2011 1:38:13 AM
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Sometimes it seems like the people with the worst perceptions of the engineering profession are engineers themselves.  Honestly, I'm not quite sure what all of the complaining is about.

I think I have a great job where I get to solve all kinds of interesting problems, where I get to learn new things every day, and where I get to work with great people.  I may never be a millionaire, but I make enough money to support a family of four - and I know a lot of people (not engineers) who support bigger families than mine on a lot less.  Besides, how many other people get paid to do something they really enjoy?

The perceptions of others have never been a major consideration for me.  That being said, I've never encountered anything but respect when I tell people what I do for a living.  In fact, when I describe the work I do, many people are fascinated.

As far as H1B visas are concerned, the idea that H1B visa holders have some kind of unfair advantage in the job market is simply not true, in my experience.  As a matter of fact, it's just the opposite.  From what I've seen, most companies prefer to hire U.S. citizens and permanent residents because they don't want to bother with the paperwork that goes along with sponsoring an H1B visa - not to mention the uncertainties involved in the visa lottery process, export control restrictions, etc.  I had many classmates in college who were from other countries, and in general they had a much harder time getting jobs in the U.S. after graduation than other students.  That's one reason why many foreign students stay in academia.

In summary, I think engineering is a great profession, and I would recommend it to anyone, including my two teenage daughters.  Engineers have nothing to be ashamed of, and many things to be proud of.  There is no reason why engineers ought to feel inferior to anyone else.

sensor pro
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Re: Lack of Qualified Engineers
sensor pro   6/25/2011 4:23:38 PM
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You make many valid points. Personally I respect self motivation and performance oriented people. I can only tell you that for me the advanced degree was a waste of time as my teachers were pure theory lovers and had no practical experience. I can not tell you is I used 5% of what I studied with them. On the other hand it gave me ability to try and think on my own and solve problems independantly.

I am a full believer of testing people performance. The only thing that I do not do when someone states that he is an engineer, is ask him basics. I assume he knows it. The basics must be there. The rest is imagination and attitude.

I also found a very interesting trend. For some reason large corporations lay off the best guys. I'm puzzled by it. Sometimes we use consultants and the best ones are the ones that are unemployed or just lost the job. I do not care about degrees at that point. My goal is to find the one that knows that specific task, and I look for knowledge.

I think we have so much wasted talant floating around, it is such a shame. So many people can do so much good. !!!!!

 

On a personal level, never been to South Africa, but worked with a few firms.

K.I.S.S.
User Rank
Silver
Re: Lack of Qualified Engineers
K.I.S.S.   6/25/2011 2:57:20 PM
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You raise a valid point regarding time wasters, but whilst you state that it's a U.S. issue only, I have to to contend that point - in many countries (and I'm currently resident in South Africa, originating from England and widely travelling for business purposes), the term 'Engineer' is an extremely generic one - if I want to get a spur gear cut, then I take it to the 'engineers' - in other words, the tool room where the fitter and turner will clock the dividing head and machine it for me. It should be correctly called a machining shop, but it's not. it's called an engineering shop in many countries.

And you make a very good case in point about proving one's worth through a practical test - isn't that the true judgement of one's ability? And in any business environment, surely that should be worth more than any individuals theoretical ability to perform the duties they've been engaged for...? I feel that the argument extends into the field of the professional - at the end of the day, we live in a results driven environment.

We're in danger of losing sight of the original premise - that idiots sometimes disguise themselves under the cover of a title. You say that you expect an engineer to perform independant research, display clear thinking and have knowledge of physics and math?

I'm going to play devils advocate for a moment, and please don't think that this is in any way intended personally - I assure you that isn't the case (and remember that I have absolutly zero academic qualifications, and I'm peversly proud of that fact...)

As an employer, I seek, primarily, the ability of any individual employee to perform the tasks that they've been appointed for - why should I care what qualifications they have? As I say, it's a results orientated environment.... For compliance, qualiative and legislative issues, I'd be very sure to check references - but conversly, for an engineer, I wouldn't bother... I'd just ask a few questions and require a proposed solution - that's my benchmark - right there. Many other professions can obsfurcate their response behind terminology - but an engineer (or in my case, a designer) cannot. There's a quantative output to the job that doesn't exist in many other fields.

I believe that I have the generic qualities you require of an engineer, but I also feel that I would be unsuccessful in any application to many Companies, owing to my lack of formal qualifications - and that's where my contention starts.... I can do the job - and have a proven track record of doing so - so pay me what I'm worth to the Company, in terms of it's profits accruing from my employment within it, not on the basis of a theoretical, and assumed ability to do so...

Well, that should set the cat amongst the pidgeons, so I'll be keeping my head down for a few days hahahaha

 

sensor pro
User Rank
Gold
Re: Lack of Qualified Engineers
sensor pro   6/25/2011 1:09:32 PM
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The issue of missuse is in US only. I work closely with a team in Germany, and they all have  DPL.ING. on their cards.  All major European states including former USSR do not play with educational titles.

 

Th issue is not feeling bad about the title but in some cases wasting time on people that you expect to be one thing and finding they are not.

When I hire employees i like to ask them to perform a basic task. Recently I needed to assemble an R&D team with a couple of techs. I conducted over 20 interviews and asked a basic thing: to solder a few parts on a PCB. I was amased how techs with 20 years of lab experience were able to murder the setup. Finally I had a guy in a leather jacket asked me to give him a chance. He just got out of service as a level 3 lab tech. He did a super job. He got the job on the spot, and only had 2 years lab experience.He did not claim education, diplomas, etc... Just a chance to show his work.

 

I guess I "kissed many frogs until finding a prince".

My expectation from engineers is the ability to perform independant work and research. Knowledge of physics and math, and clear thinking.

I just hope that we make the correct changes and bring back the technology that we give to other back to US to employ our own.

 

K.I.S.S.
User Rank
Silver
Re: Lack of Qualified Engineers
K.I.S.S.   6/25/2011 7:07:56 AM
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It's a very interesting and thought provoking debate, and there appears to be two seperate topics under discussion. On the issue of employers overlooking skilled indigenous perssons there doesn't appear to be any argument - I think everyone is agreed that in todays world, we have to move away from false economies and strengthen our skilled workforce with citizens of our own respective countries, or eventually we will simply lose the ability to do so and be forced to rely on 3rd parties. The other issue appears to be the misuse of the term 'engineer' - as I appear to be the only person in this conversation without a degree, perhaps I can offer a different perspective? Whilst I agree that the term is widely misused, and even abused - how important is that? I can see it being an irritation to someone who has devoted years of their life to study, but isn't the worth of your position derived from the results that you achieve? I have also devoted years of my life to self study, and have become a subject matter expert in my field - the satisfaction I obtain in my job lies in the succesful invention and design of new and unique products, and the remuneration and praise I recieve for such.

As was previously mentioned, nurses are not referred to as doctors, but by the same token, there are doctors that have inadvertently tried to kill me in the past...

As a suggestion, an easy way to distinguish yourselves from a 'dish washing engineer' would be to refer to yourselves as a 'graduate engineer' - this practice is becoming more common in the U.K., which also suffers from the same bloated use of the term.

sensor pro
User Rank
Gold
Re: H-1B must go
sensor pro   6/25/2011 12:31:19 AM
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I agree. You are totally correct. We have to hire our own. I would also offer some incentives to firms to bring back their customer support divisions. It is better to give tax breaks or incentives to corporations then pay unemployment.

 

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