Nice speech. As a "younger member of the profession" I know that
starting to change perceptions now is crucial to my career. As an
E.I.T, it's difficult to "make changes" for lack of experience and
Lets get specific. As someone who graduated only a year ago, I will
agree that engineering degrees are too easy in some areas, and too
difficult in others. That is probably school specific however.
Overall, the B.S. degree is too broad. An engineer can move into any
profession of civil engineering with it. The catch is that they can't
do any of them to start. I discussed this with the dean of the
department upon graduation and got this response: "...we are not a
technical school. Our job is to teach the fundamentals and you will
learn how to be an engineer on the job...." From this I have several
questions for the "senior" engineers out there:
1. If you want M.S. and the first professional degree, what do you
expect a graduate to be able to do?
2. Are you willing to go to the mat with you clients so you can afford
to compensate someone with 6 years (or more) of school?
3. Supply and demand is the law of economics (this has been argued here
before). If the supply of engineers drops, are you willing to pay more
to get an engineer out of school? Side note - are you aware that there
is a quota for M.D.'s? Schools can only train so many a years. This
keeps the supply of M.D.'s artificially low so salaries stay high.
Theoretically so does quality, but that is another topic.
4. Everyone likes to point fingers. This speech was very good. My last
question is this. Name one very specific task someone in my shoes can
do make a difference. Not the general "run for office" or "take
responsibility" - those are not practical for someone who can't even
vote. Along with that is, what have you done in the last year that made
a difference (or at least tried)? This is not for everyone, a lot of
people have tried. But be honest, have you?
One last thought. Lets all be very greedy. Do things that only promote
engineers. If you invest in "us", each engineer will be rewarded.
Jake Watson, E.I.T.
Salt Lake City, UT