Want to Be an Engineer? Brush Up on 3D Printing

It used to be that budding engineers just needed a solid grasp of physics, math, and their own healthy scientific curiosity, but these days, you need a fairly good working understanding of 3D printing too, apparently.

Electronics component seller AdaFruit recently alluded to a report from data company Wanted Analytics claiming that in one month of examining engineering job listings from a variety of fields -- including biomedical, software, and transportation - 35% of ads required applicants to be familiar with 3D printing and its additive manufacturing processes. The same report went on to note that companies were apparently having a hard time finding candidates with the right skill set.

Interestingly enough, even job categories like "IT" and "marketing management" have started looking for applicants with 3D printing skills.

Indeed, according to Wanted Analytics, the most in-demand 3D printing and additive manufacturing jobs are spread out as follows:

  • Industrial Engineers
  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Software Developers, Applications
  • Commercial and Industrial Designers
  • Marketing Managers

Yes, that's right, even tech marketing people are having to step up their game and not just talk-the-tech-talk, but walk-the-tech-walk. Many would say it's about time, and perhaps adding some basic knowledge of circuitry and how to use a dev kit properly wouldn't go amiss either.

MORE FROM DESIGN NEWS: It's Time to Get Your Feet Wet in Additive Manufacturing - and Production

It's all a bit reminiscent of the early PC days when many employees thought they would have little to no use for a computer in daily working life. Even by the mid-90s, use of email was considered quite cutting edge for people in non-tech fields. Today, it's hard to imagine being able to do one's job competently without a computer or tablet of some kind.

Indeed, even most kids can't get to the age of 5 without knowing how to use them, and there's barely a classroom in the western world that doesn't have dozens of computers and tablets for kids to work on. Most schools even require students to be proficient in their use by the time they've finished elementary school. It's not hard to imagine that this would also be the case for 3D printers, and that the job market will adapt accordingly.

Do you believe 3D printing is the new literacy? Do you believe it's a skill all engineers need? Let us know in the comments section below.

A regular speaker on the tech conference circuit and a Senior Director at FTI Consulting, Sylvie Barak is an authority on the electronics space, social media in a b2b context, digital content creation and distribution. She has a passion for gadgets, electronics, and science fiction.

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