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Education and careers 2000. Enhanced skills for engineers

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What separates high-potential engineers, who rapidly rise within their organizations to positions of great prominence and leadership, from those who do not advance? Why are some engineers capable of transforming their technical knowledge and experience into successful entrepreneurial ventures, while others fall short of this financially rewarding accomplishment? Or, as a dedicated individual contributor, what will best prepare you as your organization embarks on the widely dreaded restructuring, downsizing, or right-sizing exercise? Highly successful professional engineers are not only technically astute, but also often possess some of the extra or soft skills that many experts believe are necessary for engineers and scientists to increasingly embrace as we move forward in the 21st Century. The ideas presented in this article are based on interviews with various industry executives and managers, and industry-savvy government leaders, as well as academic leaders, from both the USA and around the world. The consensus results indicate that engineers and scientists should understand the career enhancing value of the soft skills in order to progress in today's global open market economy. The paper discusses the importance of developing these skills through educational and other professional enrichment activities. It is expected that these skills will be required for the members of the global workforce of the 21st Century. This will also be an era in which the responsibility for career development is no longer the duty of the organization but rather that of the individual engineer.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:88 ,  Issue: 8 )