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Americans See Engineers as Society’s Chief Innovators

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bobjengr
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Re: CHIEF INNOVATORS
bobjengr   3/20/2014 4:39:19 PM
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Rob.  I think we all have friends, made over the years, who are engineers.  Most of them do stay in our profession.  I have one friend who moved from engineering to the CIA.  He is retired now but made the move some years ago.  Another friend who worked as an engineer for several years then went to law school and is now a patent attorney.  Another, believe it or not, never worked as an engineer even though he has a degree in electrical.  He went into the coffee distribution business.  (Go figure!).  I think people jump for several reasons.  Today, several of my engineering friends have basically been left in the lurch because their job responsibilities have been eliminated due to off-shoring.  They have been laid off and are in their 60's so work is very difficult for them to come by.  They jump at the opportunity to work contract jobs using their engineering skills.  One friend is 71--a programmer, and he has no difficulty in getting assignments but he is the exception rather than the rule.  To your point, I don't know of anyone who is really that dissatisfied with the profession to the point of jumping to others. Again, great post.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Creativity
Rob Spiegel   3/19/2014 10:43:41 PM
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It is hard to tell if there is a sufficient number of engineers. Anecdotally, I hear encouraging news. There is a shortage of industrial engineers. That is apparently getting to be a bigger problem with the Baby Boomers retiring. When asked what the toughest challenge is for Facebook, Zuckerberg said, "Finding talent."

Charles Murray
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Re: Creativity
Charles Murray   3/19/2014 8:10:37 PM
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There's always a lot of debate over whether we have enough engineers. I have no idea who's right, but the number we usually hear of graduating engineers in the U.S. is between 65,000 and 75,000 in any given year.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: CHIEF INNOVATORS
Rob Spiegel   3/19/2014 6:46:37 PM
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Thanks Bobjengr. I wasn't aware that many engineers were leaving the profession. I know that some of them have come to write for Design News. It wojuld be interesting to know why an engineer would leave the engineering field.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Creativity
Rob Spiegel   3/19/2014 6:43:28 PM
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I agree with you about the boundaries, FM, and it is good to report on good news for engineers. I was surprised by the growing number of engineers. I had heard -- apparently wrongly -- that engineering was in decline in the US.

bobjengr
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CHIEF INNOVATORS
bobjengr   3/19/2014 6:08:52 PM
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I think it's wonderful that (finally) the engineering profession is gaining in perceived importance and actual importance.  As stated by one comment, we have always had "good reviews" and, to a degree, respect.   One of the nagging problems we seem to have is the number of graduate engineers who leave the profession for one reason or another.  We really need to correct this and maybe the way is through improved status.   We are one of the few professions in which creativity displays itself with "things" that can be fabricated and used to benefit or society.  Great post Rob. 

fm
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Re: Creativity
fm   3/19/2014 5:41:31 PM
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As an engineer, i'm encouraged by your article; thanks. It's nice to have a good report now & again.

Actually, the accountants and attorneys highlight the necessary minefield through which we must walk - most engineers despise it, but we need it! If the thing we're designing doesn't make sense economically, it should get shot down. If the thing we're designing injures people, it should get shot down. The point where the accountants and attorneys cause problems is when they overreach and fail to apply some basic common sense. Frivolous lawsuits and financial restrictions that force risky shortcuts are the opposite of good engineering. It's good to have boundaries, but sometimes those boundaries are drawn way too tightly.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Creativity
Rob Spiegel   3/18/2014 6:27:53 PM
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That's true, Chuck. Also, engineers make things that can be produced and sent out into the world, unlike attorneys and accountants.

Charles Murray
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Re: Creativity
Charles Murray   3/18/2014 6:22:50 PM
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Yes, the public's got it right. Although the survey respondents probably didn't say this, I think their response has something to do with the fact that engineers create wealth, whereas accountants and lawyers do not.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Creativity
Rob Spiegel   3/18/2014 12:51:50 PM
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Goodf pointds Naperlou. It was good to see engineers get credit for innovation. So much innovation has been in technology in the past few decades, and that means engineers. So the public's got it right.

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