The Big Issue for Engineers

What’s the biggest issue standing in the way of your Engineering career success and the future of the Engineering industry? This article explains the issue and what you can do to advance your career and the industry.

The Big Issue

The big issue for the Engineering industry is not whether “liberal arts” are required in Engineering curricula, but rather that “liberal arts”, “social skills”, or “soft skills”, or what we call Success Enabling SkillsTM are essential for Engineers to be successful in the 21st century. As technology marches forward at an exponential pace, and more and more technical tasks are automated, non-scientific humanistic skills are becoming in higher and higher demand.

The Future of the Professions

Susskind & Susskind, in their book The Future of the Professions, assert the following.

Our main claim is that we are on the brink of a period of fundamental and irreversible change in the way that the expertise of these specialists is made available in society. Technology will be the main driver of this change. And, in the long run, we will neither need nor want professionals to work in the way that they did in the twentieth century and before.(p. 1)

Practical Expertise

What Susskind & Susskind are referring to is professionals acquiring “practical expertise”, a complex combination of formal knowledge, know-how, experience, and other skills. In other words, a balanced set of scientific and humanistic skills. The recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine refers to this as “integrated education”, and goes on to state “Collaborative, critical thinking, and communication skills are valuable in an enormous range of professional domains, particularly in an era where jobs are rapidly changing. One could argue that today, more than ever, graduates need to be adaptable and lifelong learners.”

A Deep and Conspicuous Skill Gap

What’s clear is the deep and conspicuous gap in humanistic or soft skills in today’s Engineering industry. Should foundational humanistic skills be included in Engineering academic curricula? Yes, definitely. Will the integration of humanistic skills into Engineering academic curricula bridge the “practical expertise” skills gap in the Engineering industry? Absolutely not.

Should Engineering practitioners adopt a success focused Learning and Development Orientation and embark on a continuous lifelong journey of continuous improvement? Unequivocally yes. The bigger question is where do Engineering practitioners look, and how can they acquire theses essential skills to further their careers and the Engineering industry?

Where Do I Find the Answers?

Get the Success Enabling Skills you need to easily, quickly, and affordably advance your Engineering career by enrolling in the Performance Certification SystemTM. Created for Engineers by Engineers. Why wait – enroll now!