Tool Use and Activities of Practicing Engineers over Time: Survey Results
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A major goal of higher education is to provide students with the knowledge they need to be successful in their professional careers and prepare them to be lifelong learners who can adapt in a dynamic environment. To understand what that knowledge entails requires insights into what activities current practicing engineers are engaged in and what tools they use in the workplace. How those activities have changed over time will provide insight into how to properly train students to be lifelong learners. To assist with this effort, this work undertook a survey of a representative group of practicing engineers. The link for a web-based survey was sent to a chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. In addition to demographic and employer information, details regarding work-related activities and how those activities have changed over time was requested. Additional information regarding the tools used by the responding practicing engineers was also collected. Survey results show design, manufacturing engineering, and project management as the major activities of the respondents. Results show that these activities have required approximately the same amount of time over the respondents' careers; with the exception of project management, which has increased. 75% of respondents' companies use product platforms and manufacture outside their home countries. The majority of respondents companies' use some type of cost estimation tool. The greatest number of respondents had a Bachelors degree and worked for companies with less than 1000 employees. These results are discussed in the context of the current engineering technology curriculum at the authors' institution. © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education.
author list (cited authors)
Johnson, M., & Natarajarathinam, M.