Is hand-on skill very important for those whose career is Research Engineer?
hand-on skills? Do you mean practical skills (in the physical manner)?
Yes.What do you think?
To be quite simple, yes, it is important, but not essential. What IS essential is good problemsolving and math skills.
It has been my experience that the best engineers are those that have turned wrenches. It expands your mindset to possibly think about things others may not.
Put it you this way...hands on will never, ever hurt you.
I've come across a lot of engineers who were academically brilliant, but those without hands-on experience with whatever they're dealing with often don't appreciate a lot of the issues involved. For example, one guy had done all the calculations involved in the design of a gearbox such that the ratios were perfect, the bearings were all selected properly, there were no crazy stress concentrations, and all the axial forces balanced out, it was beautiful. His design then required a rectangular, blind slot be machined into one of the components on a mill...
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