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Engineering Question for engineers: how do you stay current?

  1. Oct 18, 2016 #1

    StatGuy2000

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    Education Advisor

    Hi everyone. This is a question that I want to pose to all engineers on PF, particularly those who have been in the workforce for many years and have not moved into other roles (e.g. management). How do you ensure that you stay current in your technical skills?

    I ask this because technology changes rapidly, and with this would come changes or challenges in what knowledge or skill is required (or at least that's my assumption).

    I appreciate in advance any perspectives that you could provide.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2016 #2

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    The tools manufacturers like Mentor often have webinars or training seminars focused on new and advanced topics. See if you can get on their e-mail lists for such seminars and see if they offer some that are interesting for you.

    Local test labs often have seminars on specialized topics (like medical device safety requirements changes), and they are usually pretty focused and helpful.

    Participating in the more advanced topics in web forums (like the PF) can be helpful as well. I've brushed up on a number of subjects over the years in order to participate in some of the discussions.

    I find that talking with colleagues about their specialties also helps me to broaden and sharpen my skills. We have an EE who joined us a couple years ago who did a lot of high-speed designs for a large networking company, and he has some great experience and tips for PCB layout of high-speed systems. We're also doing more RF work lately, at frequencies higher than I'm used to, so I'm learning a lot about the subtleties of circuitry for the microwave oven band... :smile:
     
  4. Oct 23, 2016 #3
    Read constantly: trade magazines, websites on technical subjects. Circulate & socialize with Professional Societies to hear what others are doing & saying. Go to Trade Shows and Conferences as a means of building Professional Development. Seek & ask for assignments in your company that will stretch & build your skills and experience into new areas. Make a career plan with tasks, goals, outcomes: 1-3-5-10 years, constantly re-assessing & modifying.
     
  5. Oct 24, 2016 #4
    I work in the nuclear power industry and my day-to-day requirements mainly keep me current as well as training or qualification/certification requirements, industry audits/assessments and seminars/conferences. My department requires us to attend at least 1 work related conference a year, prefereably 2 so I go to EPRI and REMP/RETS conferences every year. Benchmarking new technologies or equipment also helps, I do about 1-2 benchmarks a year. If we know of another plant/utility in the industry that uses something that would make our station safer, more efficient or beneficial in any way we arrange a benchmarking trip and go work with the other station's personnel for a week or so then determine if it can/should be implemented at our station. It helps to be in an industry that demands constant updating and modernization or be decommissioned.
     
  6. Nov 1, 2016 #5

    analogdesign

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    Mainly try to keep up with the literature and what your friends / ex-colleagues are doing. White papers can help, but they are light on details so they are mainly useful for figuring our what to read up on in the journals. Integrated circuit design is a very competitive business so you are constantly upgrading tools and knowledge. If you don't, you'll be obsolete in five years, easy.
     
  7. Nov 2, 2016 #6

    Chronos

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    Many state licensing boards require a minimum number of NSPE certified CEU's [continuing education units] to maintain a professional engineering license. See https://www.nspe.org/resources/licensure/maintaining-license for discussion. The good news is most employers offer tuition reimbursement to cover the costs.
     
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