Back to school

I have been thinking about going back to school, and what it means to be a student again.

09/21/2011


Much to my delight, I managed to get my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on the cover. Though my coworkers don’t believe me, it was truly by chance that Affiliated Engineers, Inc. sent me a diagram of my old stomping grounds (read about the image). This got me thinking about going back to school, and what it means to be a student again.

First, I don’t remember worrying about the acoustics in any of my classrooms, in grade school or high school. Maybe it wasn’t an issue back in the 1980s and ‘90s, but it certainly is today. Read the article “Classroom acoustics affect student achievement” to understand why it’s so important for engineers to understand classroom acoustics and sound levels.

I also don’t remember thinking about the intricacies of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or fire protection systems in college buildings—or throughout a whole campus for that matter. Campus emergencies, like those that occurred at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, were not even on my mind. Our monthly Q&A discussion delves into everything from emergency communication systems to codes to updating older mechanical systems.

One thing I do recall from my days on campus was thinking that there weren’t enough buildings to house each of the majors that was offered. (I just checked—students can choose from nearly 200 majors at the University of Illinois.) My hunch was right. A local Illinois newspaper recently reported that the electrical and computer engineering department is finally getting its own space after about 40 years of consideration. And I thought the government moved slowly!

Whether a class is in a bricks-and-mortar building or in a virtual classroom, we could all use a little brushing up. Some skills require an in-person class, led by a highly skilled and educated professor. Other skills are learned on-the-job. Either way, a mentor or academic advisor can offer guidance, or point out shortcuts to achieving a specific goal. I strongly encourage you to be or find a mentor to help you in your pursuits.

This month is a great time to think about going back to school, brushing up on a specific skill, getting that accreditation to advance your career, or honing your business skills, such as at the upcoming Career Smart Engineers Conference (www.csemag.com/careersmart). Whichever path you choose, now is the time to broaden your knowledge and move forward, both personally and professionally.

Good luck in your educational pursuits!


Facts about engineering graduates:

* In 2008, 1,079 people in the United States earned their doctorate in mechanical engineering, up only slightly from the previous year (1,072 earned PhDs in 2007).

* Of all science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) employees in the United States, 20.7% of 135.1 million workers were engineers.

* Want to work with other scientists and engineers? Move to the San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, Calif., area; Boulder; or Huntsville, Ala., which have the most scientists and engineers, respectively.  

* In 2006, 61,600 electrical/computer engineers graduated in the United States with an average median salary of $53,000.

Source: National Science Foundation



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
click me