Signing bonuses. They were the norm during this year's recruiting season, where managers and other suits treated prospective stars like royalty, all in an effort to lure them onto the team. Not the basketball or football team. The engineering team! Officials from several college campuses report that 1997 was one of the biggest years ever in terms of corporate recruitment activity. "We had more than 700 companies here talking to graduates," says Carole Ferrari, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "It was our busiest year of at least the last five," she adds. So many companies wanted to talk to graduates that Lance Choy, of the Stanford University career planning and placement center, told The San Jose Mercury News the school had to turn away 300 to 400 companies for lack of space. Recruiting activity was so intense at the University of California at Davis that one professor told the paper he began including in his class instructions on how to deal with bidding wars. And how high were the bids this year? Consider this: At MIT, the average offer to new mechanical engineering baccalaureates was $43,700. Those earning doctorates were looking, on average, at offers of $70,900. Graduates of the school's electrical engineering program received salary offers that averaged $45,300 for a bachelor's degree. Not bad, considering that the average salary of respondents to this year's Design News career and salary survey is $55,000. The reason for the recruitment rush is Economics 101: supply and demand. Nationwide, unemployment is down. The economy is growing, yet, according to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of engineering graduates dropped 18 percent between 1986 and 1994. It's a seller's market. That reality, plus the many challenging design projects in the aerospace, automotive, medical, and other industries, makes this a great time to be an engineer.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
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