Education and Career Insights

The Fading Prestige of Engineering

Thinking back, I distinctly remember my original impression of engineers. Mainly it came from TV shows about NASA engineers working on the space program. They were designing and developing amazing technology to let the astronauts survive the radiation, vacuum and coldness of space. I remember simply being in awe of their work. At that time, being an engineer was highly prestigious. Those that went into the profession were kind of put on a pedestal.

Macro and Micro Product Development

Can process really differentiate your company? I know. It’s an longtime debate. In fact, thinking back several years now, I remember it almost as an ongoing joke. And the story would always be the same. Folks from a software provider would sit down with a customer to talk about their processes. The people from the manufacturer would always declare with a laugh: “our process is totally unique. You will have never seen anything like what we do as a process because it’s what differentiates us in the market.”

People Skills in Engineering Education

A few weeks ago, I wrote about The Importance of People Skills for Engineers. The basic premise is that because engineers work with people from all sorts of roles from different functional departments to resolve product issues, they need people skills more than anyone else in the company. While writing those points, I have to admit that one major question kept running through my head.

Why didn’t I learn anything like this in engineering school?

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

Where Lean Product Development Goes Wrong

Surprising how time flies by isn’t it. Here we are, now in March of 2011 and I’m thinking to myself “how did that happen?” Feeling the need to catch up, I called a friend of mine here in Austin and went to grab a drink. We spent a while catching up but soon enough, our conversation steered towards shop-talk. See, he’s an been deploying lean, six sigma and other similar initiatives for years. And what he said surprised me a bit.

People Classroom

Learning and the 10,000 Hour Threshold to Become an Expert Engineer?

Do you consider yourself an expert at your job? Well, maybe that’s not the best question. Let’s try this instead. All tags and titles aside, do you consider yourself a professional’s professional as an engineer? Why ask the question? Well, something in an interesting article written by Tony Schwartz over at the Harvard Business Review …

Learning and the 10,000 Hour Threshold to Become an Expert Engineer? Read More »

Research on CEO’s Priorities: What it Means for Engineering

Ever wanted to know what exactly was running through your CEO’s head? Well, you’re not alone. Sometimes, it can be a little difficult to discern exactly what you can do best to help the company. And gaining insight into what your CEO is really concerned about sheds some light on that.

Integrating Simulation and Test: From Conflict to Collaboration

There’s nothing quite like a good old war between departments, is there? As disruptive as it can be, conflict between organizations happens all too often. And engineering’s had more than its fair share. But instead of focusing on how engineering’s agenda might be at odds with another department like manufacturing or procurement, I’d like to hone in on a dynamic within the engineering organization between the simulation office and the test lab.

The Ineffectiveness of Measuring Design Effectiveness

Metrics. It’s seems as if today’s business world is ruled by them. Metrics are essentially pervasive in just about every functional department in a manufacturer.

The Importance of People Skills for Engineers

What comes to your mind when you picture a stereotypical engineer? Most would say engineers have strong technical skills, high intelligence and lots of problem solving experience but typically are social introverts, personally aloof and lack interpersonal skills. For me, I find that stereotype to be terribly ironic. Let me explain.

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