Posts in category: ‘Engineering Management’

To Manage, or Not to Manage, From the Perspective of a NASA Engineer

When my first engineering internship turned into a full-time job after graduation, my supervisor called me in for a chat. He wanted to talk about possible opportunities in the company, and give me some advice based on his experiences. When he asked me where I saw myself in five to six years, I told him I expected to be in management. I didn’t have the gall to say it to his face, but basically I figured I wanted his job.

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The end of part numbers

A new year is a time for renewal, opportunity, and new beginnings. For engineers, however, it's a chance to argue about part numbers some more. I love the smell of part numbers in the morning. Whether your allegiance lies with the Generic Numbering Coalition (GNC) or the Confederacy of Intelligent Numbers (CIN), valid arguments worth defending exist on both sides. We've covered both factions and spaces in-between. The pursuit of part number perfection, however, may lie in mutually assured destruction. The part number is a lie. For one day, perhaps sooner than you think, part numbers will be no more.

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What’s the root of ethics in engineering?

In all the fireworks debating whether software engineering is somehow a subversive underling of "real" engineering, we've only touched on the underlying core issue: engineering ethics. In the Twitterverse, many were quick to invoke the Calling of the Engineer ceremony, specifically citing a symbolic iron ring as indicative of the higher standard for which software engineers are not invited. Here's the problem: costume jewelry doesn't magically impart ethics, unless perhaps you graduated from Hogwarts. I might as well have fabulous secret powers revealed to me, hold aloft my magic sword, and say "By the power of engineering!" Fantastic magical crap aside, what then is the root of ethics in engineering?

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Why co-ops are rocket fuel for your early engineering career

What if you had a dollar for every time someone grumbled about a young engineering grad creating impossible to manufacture designs due to lack of practical experience? And what if you also had a dollar for every engineering grad that wished their degree program gave them more job relevant skills and/or some viable experience? You'd probably have something like two times infinity dollars, and I'd be writing your biography for a perfectly reasonable six-figure retainer. If you're in engineering school now, there's no reason to wait for a miracle in education reform. Take matters into your own hands and be part of your school's cooperative education (co-op) engineering program.

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