Can America compete in the engineering world in the next century?
NEWS– The world of engineering is changing. New pressures affecting manufacturing mean that long-established approaches to standard products are now being revised, while new products continue to emerge at speed. Today’s engineers need to be smarter and more flexible than ever. Over the past two decades, America has seen its once impressive position within the global industry slip, but with ten of its universities still ranked in the global top 50 for quality of engineering talent they produce, it retains the potential to get to the top if its young people are up for the challenge.
The environmental revolution
If you are thinking about an engineering career today, you will be going into it with very different expectations from those in the generation before you. One of the biggest factors to have reshaped the industry is the environmental movement. Consumers now want cleaner, greener products that won’t pollute their local areas and limit climate footprint. This means many products need to be redesigned at the most basic level. The automobile industry has come under particular scrutiny and has responded not only by introducing new technologies to capture pollutants but also by pushing hard for improved efficiency. Improvements in precision manufacturing using the highly sensitive load cells produced by Transducer Techniques have made an important contribution to this.
Safety concerns have also played their part in reshaping automobiles – literally! A completely new approach to structure and control has led to an ongoing race to be the best at making consumers feel secure as they drive, and this isn’t the only industry to change in this way. A greater public and state focus on safety is changing everything from travel to domestic electronics to industrial machinery. This approach is gradually spreading around the world as developing economies reach a point where safety becomes a priority, and this is creating opportunities for engineers from developed countries who are already used to taking this approach. It’s one of the reasons why, as an American engineer, you might find yourself with exciting opportunities to work abroad, while companies based in America see their exports grow, creating more work opportunities at home.
The impact of fashion
In addition to the above, engineers today have to pay close attention to fashion – that is, to changes in what consumers are looking for, in terms of both image and practicality. It’s this which drove much of the movement over the past 25 years to make electronic devices smaller, and presently it’s driving domestic technology to become friendlier, with things like rounded shapes, faces and speech being incorporated into an increasing range of products.
By getting ahead on issues like these, America can make itself highly competitive in the changing global marketplace. It’s up to each engineer like you to exercise the imagination needed to get there. Engineering has never required more creativity and has never been a more exciting profession to work.