10 Short Writing Tasks For Engineering Students: Reflections And Insights

Role of Engineers in Engineering Profession

1.The Engineering profession is one of the most lucrative careers that have played an important role in developing the world and affecting the life we live today. Engineering is basically the use of scientific and mathematical principles to generate economic solutions to the world’s technical problems.  It is concerned with the use of scientific innovations in generating local and commercial applications that improve efficiency and quality of systems and processes and thereby, making work easier. Engineers are valuable in developing production, system designs, establishing customer needs, and carrying out feasibility studies. They build systems for quality control and assurance and therefore, enable companies to run their systems with higher efficiency (Tribus 2016, p.65). Aspiring engineers have a choice to specialize in civil , chemical , mechanical , software , electronics , and telecommunication engineering. In university, engineering students take mathematics, science, drawing, and soft skill courses. Exposure to practical experience however enables them to integrate theories learnt in college with real life issues.

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2.Initially, I thought engineers are only involved in technical work using manual and technical software with non-technical areas being irrelevant in practice. I have came to learn that most engineers do less technical work since they are mainly engaged in supervising technicians and thus leadership and interpersonal skills are important also for engineers. In practice, most engineers work mostly on simple Microsoft office tools such as excel and thus do not work only on complex programming software such as Matlab which are mainly used by those working in technical capacities. As an engineer, I expect to invent tools and technologies that would make people’s lives easier and make production systems efficient. To my community, I expect to create impact by mentoring and motivating upcoming engineers so as to ethically grow their career and contribute to society. Ethical practice in engineering ensures that system designs quality are not compromised (Reis 2012, p.43). I would add value to an engineering organisation by stressing and championing for ethical practice among engineers. Soft skills such as leadership, interpersonal skills, and negotiation skills are also worth developing.

3.Thomas Edison, an American investor and engineer invented the light bulb in 1879. The engineer started serious research aimed at inventing a working incandescent lamb in early 1878 and by late these same year he had registered a patent for his first discovery (Hill 2013, p.10). He  contributed to many other inventions such as the motion camera and phonograph which have influenced the systems that exist today. His patent explained several methods of creating carbon filaments using cotton and linen, coiled papers, and wooden splints. Later, he managed to create carbonized filament which motivated him to register Edison Electric Light Company. From his works, one must conclude that Edison was a creative, curious, confident, problem solver, entrepreneur, innovator, and leader (Wagner& Compton 2015, p.23). His entrepreneurship and leadership skills are evident from when he went ahead to start and manage his company. The must have possessed technical scientific skills in electrical engineering such as power, energy, and systems design.

Changing Views on Engineering and New Tasks in Australia

4.Good engineers are those that have mastered the art of giving instructions efficiently to fulfil the desired goals. As an engineer, I am involved in instructing technical personnel to undertake the procedures I develop while undertaking projects. To instruct well, mastering interpersonal skills and negotiation skills is critical (DuBrin 2014, p.20). Understanding the personality and emotions of the personal receiving the instructions helps in handling him accordingly. There was a time at the work place when we were undertaking a project and I had to instruct a technician on the lighting design I thought appropriate for the project. The technician did not receive the instructions in good faith. He felt intimidated because I am a young engineer and he had worked longer than myself. I appreciate that instructing might be easy but without having the necessary skills to handle different people, it becomes complex. The difficulty was with not understanding the technician’s personality and the perceptions he had about me.

5.Collaboration can be defined as willingness of individuals to share their new skills and knowledge towards achieving a common goal this is based on unwillingness of some skilled personnel to share their knowledge.  Collaboration at the work place is very much essential since it allows workers to work together and more effectively with each other in order to achieve the goals of the organisation (Arnold & Boggs 2015, p.23). Mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation are the key drivers of collaboration at work. The key skills that boost collaboration are effective communication. Individuals that possess good communication skills can make known their opinions to their team members properly. They also possess good listening skills that enable them to attentively listen to the opinions and views of team members and make appropriate actions that boost the work performance which resultantly lead to the achievement of company goals. Other skills that promote collaboration compromise, tolerance, reliability, and consistency.  I have observed my work mate who listens carefully, communicates clearly and maintains good rapport with almost every one. He successfully brings his point of view clear to everyone and stresses on team work. The art of collaboration can be learnt through practice, and observing people who are experienced in it.

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6.I view collaboration as a skill that if harnessed, makes the work environment more favourable, boosts employee productivity, and promotes the achievement of organizational goals. Taking an example of the work place, when employees in a department efficiently work together to achieve a common goal we say that they have collaborated (Allee, Schwabe &Babb 2015, p.10).Overtime, I have managed to build my skills in communication, reliability and consistency that promote collaboration. However, I am not yet there, I am still developing my ability to tolerate the opinions and actions of others that are different from mine. Collaboration has played a critical role towards the success of my team project as it has enabled us to discuss and share opinions and create engineering designs that are more efficient. It was a nice experience meeting cooperative and goal oriented people but in some situations it was frustrating working with mean individuals who could not collaborate.

Impactful Engineer Prior to 1920 and Their Skills

7.Through the reading I have gained great insights that would help me become become more professional in practice. The roles of engineers in the society and the major misconceptions that students and novice engineers have towards the career have broadened my thinking. The need for negotiation and collaboration skills at the work place are also more important insights worth learning (Yates 2012, P.13). I have come to accept that employees in every organization need to develop these skills in order to be more productive in their teams. I look forward to horning my soft and technical skills to enable me to enhance team work with my colleagues and become more productive at work.  It is interesting and desirable to work with others in order to activate their knowledge bases and have mine activated too. The relevant skills can be developed in class through engaging in group learning discussions and discussions.

8.Listening, seeing, and reading are perception skills that some people might neglect and not recognize their importance in their career. Visual communication should not only be about drawing beautiful images or extracting them from other sources. Professional engineers for instance would carefully study the message passed through visual communication, reading, and listening. These perception skills enable the engineer to carry out more research and establish whether the information relayed by these channels should affect their decision making. Listening can be limited by distractions, noise, prior conclusions, and poor attitude towards the speaker (Brownell 2015, p.34).  Learning to achieve more from listening, seeing, and reading is of much interest to me. These skills would enable me to relate well with people and make rational decisions based on the ideas obtained from them. To boost my listening skills, I try to maintain eye contact with the speaker, avoid distraction, and avoid jumping in to conclusions. Books, magazines and other sources contain a huge body of knowledge that when extracted through reading, can boost one’s knowledge about issues of interest.

9.Critical research involves reading parts of text and organizing them by writing in own words. It includes creation of mind maps to boost understanding. This style of reading is highly productive and thus worth using in order to make reading more resourceful. While conducting research, I use this method since I find it as the best method of reading especially when interested in details. I take short notes and write mind maps where necessary in order to keep records. Writing meanings in own words is appropriate  after reading in order to be able  reflect and write the key information obtained from the reading based on the objectives of the research (Whittaker 2012, p.8) . The record that has been read is kept by writing key points after reading and understanding the text carefully and carrying out all the critical appraisal of all the aspects on the text before writing critique of the research.

10.Attaining expertise in a career is a wish that most people would hope for. An expert is one who is very knowledgeable or skilful in a particular area (Rychener 2012, p.9).The time someone takes to become an expert depends on personal goal and the amount of time one has set for himself. Top performance universally requires extensive practice, and research has shown that individuals specifically identified as ‘ordinary’ rather than talented can become exceptionally skilled with the right training  (Trevelyan 2014, p.17) . People should stop worrying about whether they are talented enough and  learn more to obtain experience since all experts were once learners. It can also take a special, inborn talent to become an expert in a particular area. Some are slow learners taking a much longer time to become an expert compared to others who can achieve the same in a short time.

Reference List

Arnold, E.C. and Boggs, K.U., 2015. Interpersonal Relationships-E-Book: Professional Communication Skills for Nurses. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Allee, V., Schwabe, O. and Babb, M.K., 2015. Value Networks and the true nature of collaboration. Meghan-Kiffer Press.

Brownell, J., 2015. Listening: Attitudes, principles, and skills. Routledge.

DuBrin, A.J., 2014. Human relations: Interpersonal job-oriented skills. Pearson Higher Ed.

Hill, D., 2013. A history of engineering in classical and medieval times. Routledge.

Reis, R.M., 2012. Tomorrow’s professor: Preparing for careers in science and engineering. John Wiley & Sons

Whittaker, A., 2012. Research skills for social work. Sage Publications.

Rychener, M. ed., 2012. Expert systems for engineering design. Elsevie

Tribus, M., 2016. Rational Descriptions, Decisions and Designs: Pergamon Unified Engineering Series. Elsevie

Trevelyan, J., 2014. The making of an expert engineer. CRC Press.

Wagner, T. and Compton, R.A., 2015. Creating innovators: The making of young people who will change the world. Simon and Schuster.

Yates, J.K., 2012. Engineering careers case study: K–12 recruitment initiative. Leadership and Management in Engineering, 13(1), pp.3-10.