Engineers have always been considered extremely valuable members of our workforce, due to the fact that the work they carry out has a significant impact on the way the world works. Over centuries, the results of their work have contributed to some of the vast innovations that have occurred in society over the generations, in all aspects of our everyday lives.
Engineers have a crucial role in shaping the outlook of our world both in the current time and in the distant future, but how is the engineering industry set to change and what will employees now need to take into account if they wish to remain in the industry?
How will engineering education change?
Over the past 80 years, there have been significant changes within the engineering industry, and this is likely to continue. Typically, new engineers are usually graduates from a BSc course which has gone on to secure them a role in the industry. While this is generally the standard practice, it’s likely that undergraduate degrees will become a basic learning platform, and further training will be required throughout the individual’s career.
Currently, engineers study their craft and go on to become experts in their field, due to having a solid theoretical base and putting what they have learnt into practice.
However, engineering education is soon to become a life-long process, as the advancements that continuously crop up cannot be predicted, meaning engineers will always need to study to keep up with new inventions and demands. Researchers have come to the conclusion that more and more current engineers will be looking towards becoming a leader in the sector, instead of spending time on traditional engineering projects.
The future of engineering will ultimately be dependant on ‘survival of the fittest,’ in terms of which employees will crumble under the pressure and who will stick it out and go with the ever-changing times. As the number of standard employees within the industry is set to lessen, there is a greater chance that stand-out employees will become leading professionals in the field, by conducting projects and managing different forms of machinery.
Those interested in securing a career path in engineering in the distant future would be recommended to learn about the industry in even further detail, by studying other academic courses. For example, a MS in engineering management at Kettering University Online provides students with the necessary skills needed to take on added responsibility and manage high-quality teams as a leader in the sector.
Previously, there was little opportunity to train further in engineering, but the variety of higher-education courses today is very much on the rise. A course such as this will allow employees to broaden their horizons and give them a greater chance of securing a role in the engineering industry in the years ahead.
How will engineering skills change?
As mentioned, the world of engineering is continuously developing due to the immense technological advancements. Due to this, engineers will need to be able to adapt to the ever-changing nature of the industry, where traditional engineering tasks will become an outdated concept and generating innovative ideas will take the lead.
Unfortunately, many of the current engineering jobs are unlikely to remain in the future. Therefore, current engineering professionals need a particular skill-set to move forward.
With this in mind, what are the crucial skills professional engineers will need for the long-term future?
- Complex problem solving
Most job roles expect employees to have great problem-solving ability. However, this is even more crucial when it comes to this particular industry. Within engineering, professionals are expected to find a problem, break it down in order to gain a full understanding and then go on to invent a device or system that solves the initial issue. Engineers are also expected to examine risks for public safety procedures when it comes to designing buildings and analysing where failures may lie.
- Critical thinking
Similarly to problem-solving, engineering requires a great deal of critical thinking, in which professionals are expected to come to logical conclusions about their inventions or machinery they are handling. The ability to problem-solve means individuals make decisions based on the best predicted outcome.
The average person would make choices based on their own interests, beliefs and opinions, but an engineer is expected to look beyond their own frame of mind and come to conclusions for the greater good of all. Most of their decisions will be based on trial and error before coming up with a solid conclusion. Critical thinking requires the individual to ‘think outside the box’ and iron out issues with efficiency.
The key components of critical thinking are as follows:
- Asking questions to gather applicable information
- Identifying biased outcomes and how to work around these thoughts
- Analysing data which links to several likely outcomes
- Generating the most likely results and determining the desired consequences.
Engineering is a profession that is considered by outsiders as extremely uncreative, yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. Engineers are regularly expected to come up with original philosophies, which are expected to solve the issues mentioned above. Lack of creativity just isn’t going to cut it for aspiring engineers.
Although machines are likely to put an end to hand drawings and have the ability to analyse data far faster than any brain, they will never be able to develop the same element of creativity as a human, which stimulates ideas before innovative machines can carry out their duties.
In the near future, a huge new industrial revolution is on the cards, which is set to bring a vast amount of new technologies into our world. In order to adapt to these new technological changes and come up with suitable solutions within engineering, creativity is a must.
Engineering is an industry that will always need a dedicated workforce. Those in the current profession should aim to work on the skills mentioned above to equip them for unprecedented changes that will no doubt occur in the next couple of decades.