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Engineering Education Thoughts on advanced degrees, formal and informal education, and avoiding obsolescence. - A Lifetime of Learning - James Peterman.

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Presentation on theme: "Engineering Education Thoughts on advanced degrees, formal and informal education, and avoiding obsolescence. - A Lifetime of Learning - James Peterman."— Presentation transcript:

1 Engineering Education Thoughts on advanced degrees, formal and informal education, and avoiding obsolescence. - A Lifetime of Learning - James Peterman September 2007

2 Introduction What well explore: –Personal challenges of a career in engineering. –Role of continuing education in maintaining personal relevance. –Educational opportunities and options. –Career issues and decisions. Ill share my observations, personal experiences, and a few opinions.

3 Electrical and Computer Engineering is: An enormously complex and broad field! IEEE currently supports 39 societies and 5 technology councils specializing in topics ranging from Aerospace Electronics to Vehicular Technology.

4 Electrical & Computer Engineering is also: An extremely dynamic field. TIME INNOVATION Technology is advancing at a staggering pace. Consider changes in logic, computers,and communications.

5 Keeping Up Lead... Follow... or Get Out of the Way! Career Objective Individual Contributor Influential Leader

6 Career Growth Factors Technology drives the need for growth in engineering subject matter expertise. –New technology –New architectures –New development methodologies Maturity of role and responsibility drives need for growth in personal skill set. –Supervision, management and leadership –Vision and direction –Business decision making –Project management –Process effectiveness

7 The Keys to Success: Continuing education, personal growth and preparation for your future. It could mean the difference between having a job and having a career. One pays the bills, the other fulfills.

8 How do I Develop a Career? Start with a strong foundation & build on it. BSEE/ECE - take it seriously, study hard, study as much theory as possible, consider cooperative education. Continue your education through whatever means you have readily available.

9 Formal Degrees This is a guideline only, what you get out of your degree is up to you. BSEE/ECE--- –Provides basic background & language of the profession. –Prepares for entry level design & analysis positions.

10 Formal Degrees MSEE/ECE--- –Deepens theoretical background. –Exposes student to higher intensity level of study. –Exposes student to advanced engineering topics and applied areas of research. –Prepares for positions beyond entry level in advanced design with increased responsibility. –Develops technical leadership capability & potential.

11 Formal Degrees PhD--- –Further deepens theoretical background. –Additional increase in intensity level of study. –Continues exposure to advanced engineering topics and pure & applied areas of research. –Prepares for positions in research. –Prepares for careers in engineering education.

12 Formal Degrees MBA--- –Provides post-graduate exposure to advanced topics in business, finance, management, and leadership. –Prepares for positions in: Management Leadership Marketing Strategic Planning

13 Quotations on Education The things taught in schools are not an education but the means of an education. Ralph Waldo Emerson

14 Quotations on Education Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten. B. F. Skinner

15 Quotations on Education Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning is young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. Henry Ford

16 Quotations on Education I never let school get in the way of my education. Anonymous (Will Rogers)

17 Cant I do it on my own? Yes, it is possible to achieve greatness in the field of engineering with only a degree from the school of hard-knocks. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT LIKELY! Education is the tool to help you achieve your goals and realize your potential. In an increasingly competitive market, you cant leave your career to chance!

18 When Should I go to Grad School? Its a personal decision… whats right for you may not be right for someone else. Criteria to consider: –What are my real interests? –Do I have the financial means? –Do I have the time? –What opportunities will I gain or lose?

19 Grad School Immediately Following BSEE: Advantages –Already accustom to academics –Fewer responsibilities Disadvantages –Not sure of your interests –May miss entry level experience –May be financially hindered Advantages and Disadvantages X

20 Grad School Following Experience with BSEE: Advantages –Better prepared to select field of study –Possibility of employer $$ support Disadvantages –More job & family responsibilities –Difficult to be full-time student –May not be near appropriate program X

21 Thesis and Non-thesis Programs Thesis –Requires the student to conduct original research or advanced design project –Requires formal writing task –Requires technical presentation and defense of work –Invaluable for those without real-world R&D and writing experience Non-Thesis –Typically offered only to those students who have working experience. –Requires additional course-work in-lieu of thesis

22 Differences in Environments Undergraduate –Larger size classes –Exposure to instructors & professors teaching many general topics –Many peers are not serious about school Graduate –Smaller size classes –Exposure to professors teaching in their areas of expertise –Most peers are very serious about school and typically represent cream-of-the-crop

23 Personal Views Full-time pursuit of advanced degree optimizes study effort by keeping focus well defined. Statistically, once people leave campus and begin full-time employment, returning to school is very difficult. MBA programs usually have greater success rate than MSEE programs. Degree programs can lose some of their impact when courses are taken one-at-a-time over several years. (continuity of pre-requisites may suffer)

24 Its Never Over! Regardless of your highest level of degree work, education is never complete nor sufficient. Everyone must be concerned about continuing education.

25 Continuing Education Options On-the-job training Seminars Workshops Conferences Non-credit courses Personal reading Individual study programs Peer discussions

26 Personal Examples Cooperative Education –Undergrad and grad level 1980-1985 BSEE 1983 MSEE 1985 MBA 2001 Approximately 50 training activities since 1985 –Short courses, workshops, seminars, non-credit classes, self-study, etc.

27 Sample of Topics Covered Technical –DSP, C/C++ Programming, Object Oriented Analysis & Design, Communications technology, etc. Quality –Process Improvement, ISO-9001 Auditor Management/Leadership/Soft-skills –Finance, supervision, writing, coaching, problem solving, etc.

28 Sources of Training Technical Community College University Credit & Non-credit Programs Training Specialists Company Sponsored IEEE Short Courses Industry and Trade Groups Manufacturers Training Workshops

29 Personal Advice Take the initiative to identify effective training/education opportunities Be willing to invest your own money…dont let companys rejection prevent your pursuit Beware of costly overview type seminars, although they can be very effective. Devote some personal time each week to reading technical material

30 More Personal Comments Consider university and community college courses, including non-credit courses… these are often real bargains Maintain professional society membership and be as active as possible in local sections Explore different educational formats such as video, audio, computer-based training, and internet resources.

31 For Further Thought MS degrees in Technical Management –Relatively new programs that combine: MBA type courses Technical engineering electives Begin by planning your career –Where do you want to be in 2, 5, 10, 15, 20 years? –Consider how to reach these goals Beware of moving into management too soon

32 Attitude Motivation –Must come from a personal desire to BE ALL YOU CAN BE Reward –Dont expect recognition & reward for a degree –Your performance is the basis of reward

33 Secret of True Success Balance -- Strike a balance among the many facets of your life –professional –personal –family –civic –spiritual

34 Conclusion No one plans to fail…they just fail to plan! If money is your only hope for independence, you will not succeed. The only security available in this life is your store of Knowledge, Experience, and Ability. Henry Ford


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