I think that I need to explain my point of view from a different angle, as I feel that some of you feel that I have a negative perception of my career. As a R&D director in a sensor firm and a college lecturer I have seen many changes in the industry in the past 30 years. One shift is in the interpretation of what the engineer is. We all agree that in medical industry you will not see a guy that draws blood called MD. we call them phebotomists. Each person in medical field has it own responsibilities and tasks and titles, even when a nurse knows more then a new MD, we do not call her MD.
The opposit occurs in the engineering field. This is why I feel that education and determination should be reflected in persons sallary and title.
In talking to many graduates and fellow engineers I hear how concerned they are that many jobs go to other countries due to lower salaries. This is terrible. A few weeks ago i installed a new router and even though I read English "pretty well", I had problems understanding the manual. So I decided to call a support line. After pressing all button combinations on my phone I finally was transferred to a breathing consultant. WOW..... I was not prepaired to this one ! I guess they forgot to state in the manual that I had to learn another language to get support, as in English they only knew a few words. One of the words was "sorry".
I'm sure that if the service dept was in any US state, the service call would have been better.
The way I look at it, you wouldn't allow somebody who'd "learned" brain surgery on their own from a book to operate on you (or to call themselves a doctor), so how come people who've played around with a PC get to call themselves engineers? Now, there are definitely some flaws in my argument, mostly notably that the registration procedures for engineers -- namely, the P.E. -- isn't really applicable to the work most engineers do. Sure, it's great for C.E.s and some M.E,s, who have to sign off on certain legal documents. But the P.E. doesn't really make sense for the typical engineer working in the corporate sector. So maybe we need to look at other means of licensing; a sensible test that all engineer school grads can be routed to, can make part of their graduation (Part 1 at grad, Part 2 after five years experience). Not all that different from P.E., but perhaps different content in the test; more work-oriented, less of a requirement of having to prove you can do stuff out of your own specialty.
We as a country have devalued the term "Engineer" for many decades. I work for an industry that has less than 15% of its engineering workforce having an Engineering degree. I feel that the term Engineer should only be applied to persons with an Engineering Degree. I know I have worked extremely hard to complete my degree and to be lumped in the same category with people without a technical degree is a slap in the face of the work I put in to achieve that degree.Therefore, I feel the term “Specialist” or “Designer” would better fit the individual without a technical degree especially in my field.
On the flip side on this argument, as a person with an Engineering degree in a field with less than 15% of its engineering workforce with engineering or a technical degree, I should a have a promising future in this field.Unfortunately, most hiring manager don’t the value the engineering degree.Their primary concern is experience or seniority.But how can someone get the required experience without be in the position to get the experience needed.
So, when I read articles that state there are no qualified engineers for the latest positions.I always think how many young engineers that they passed over because they didn’t the right skill set or enough experience for the position.The one thing I know about a person with an engineering degree is that they have the ability to learn and learn quickly.
At the end of the day, I suppose that it's a skill related issue - no matter how many letters after your name, if you can get the job done, within budget - then you're the man. Don't let any negative perceptions of your career get you down - it's still better than working in a fast food outlet..... And don't forget that your Company needs you - you have that power.....
I agree. It is a global problem. In US it is abit more serious. Some firms actually post jobs with funky "******** engineer", however in the description it clearly states no engineering degree. It is a big problem.
I understand and fully appreciate your frustrations, but isn't this the Design News website? by that, I mean that it's supposed to be a forum for designers, some of whom have little or no mechanical or electronic knowledge, but still desire to produce a quality product for the end user? Why not rather be constructive and use the site to tell people about things they can do? it's just a thought, and again, I appreciate your perspective,,,,,
In the U.K., people that operate sewerage farms are now known by the title of 'waste water channeling operatives' it's a global problem, and one that in my opinion seeks to devalue qualified and experienced people in favour of cheap labour with exhalted titles...
You are so correct. Nobody understandus-nor repects us. The title "engineer" is constantly missused. I saw a few years ago on a mortgage application a school janitor stated that he is a sanitation engineer.
I'm sure that today we have too many great real engineers on the open market, however I feel that large firms are setting the stage to try and hire work force abroad and much lower cost. Lok at any large firm and their customer support stuff. It is located in countries I can't even find on the map. It is not new. Claim a problem and suddenly you fing a solution in south India or some other far away place.
I'm sure that qualification of our engineers is not the real problem.
There are a few problems with engineering, here are a few as i perceive.
1. Engineering is genearlly boring, not much glamour etc.
2. Engineering is actually hard work, it takes concentration, dilligence and care to be an engineer.
3. Nobody else in the world actually values engineering, mainly because they don't know what we do.
4. The pay is rubbish for the amount of study required to be an engineer.
5. The title engineer is devalued by its application to a bloke who fixes the washing machine for example, the title engineer should only be used for trades that really are engineering, not mechanics and fixers.
6. the image of engineers has been damaged by stereotyping over the years, and the stiff white shirt and tie image is simply not cool.
7. engineering is a disciplined carreer, and who wants discipline in a world of non.
just a few for now and just my perceptions after a long and tiring carreer as an engineer.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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