Yes, it seems that the IT guys are sometimes a little blind to the special needs of Engineering. Many don't understand how graphic intensive our applications are. Some IT folks believe that high performance graphics is just for games, so there's no need for Engineering to have better graphic performance than what is required to run a spreadsheet.
I also ran into trouble with software updates. Unfortunately, so many Engineering applications require patches and updates, and with IT security as tight as it is, all that updating is hard for IT to tolerate.
No doubt it's great to have fast workstations. However, it's not unusual to have computer systems networked and sometimes the network administrators are more concerned about email uptime than they are about fast and secure downloads of large design files. The network has to support the design objectives of the organization as well - not just the hardware on the desktop.
Great post. More than ever engineers and engineering teams are required to work faster and smarter. Problem is sometimes, they are asked to do so with basically the same hardware and software used two, three and even five years previously. I retired from a Fortune 500 company with 32 engineers in our design department. Upgrades were tough to come by due to expense. Even added RAM was a god-send. Flat screens--forget about it. I always wondered why sales and marketing got the good "stuff" while we were relegated to the "five-year" plan. One impediment was "off-shoring". All of our CAD work was accomplished in India. I certainly hope the trend is to bring back the CAD effort and let a dedicated engineering team do ALL of the work. Maybe then there will be equipment upgrades.
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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