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Re: Cross-Training vs. Specialization

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This is an interesting topic and I've had quite a few conversations with my
engineering friends about this.....

One way to look at this issue is, what does the engineer really want to do
with his/her career in the long run.  If the engineer wants to just be another
cog in the wheel of a firm and is satisfied with only doing that one
thing...doesn't want to learn all aspects of engineer, then "specialization"
would be fine for that engineer.  (There's nothing wrong with that).  In other
words, he/she is content to work for others the rest of his/her life then this
is perfect for that person.

On the other hand if the engineer wants to advance his career and one day be a
Project manager or run his own firm then the engineer should learn all aspects
of engineering "cross training".  Otherwise how can that engineer supervise
others if he/she does not have at least some knowledge in most of the aspects
of design.  

Another way to look at is, if you want to pass the Structural engineering
exam, the best way to prepare for the test is to gain experience through work
in as many aspects of engineering as one can.  Doesn't the title Structural
Engineer mean someone who is knowledgable in "structural engineering" implying
at least some knowledge, if not expert knowledge in most aspects (not just
one) of structural engineering????  :-)

As far as the "firms"'re probably right about it being more
profitable for the firm to have all these cogs in the wheel that only know one
aspect of engineering because it cuts down on training time...and time IS
money.  It seems to me that if a person does the same thing over and over
again the productivity of the person would go down because he/she would get
bored with it.  Personally, I would get bored doing the same thing over and
over and over and over again.

Any way...that's my two cents on the subject for a Tuesday morning...for
whatever its worth  :-)

Have a great day everyone!!!!  :-)

Michelle Kam-Biron, S.E,