Using the recent Costa Concordia disaster, framed up against the lessons learned from the infamous Titantic disaster, is a perfect "teachable moment" for proving out the importance of failure analysis as part of upfront design. I would hope the takeaway from Professor Petroski's thoughtful post is that failure analysis needs to be a proactive part of the principal design process, not simply an after-the-fact exercise that comes on the heels of any kind of related disaster or product failure. On the upside, I would think the flurry of more accessible CAE and simulation tools can greatly aid engineers in this very important exercise.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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