Analysis of Employer Interviews

This is a summary table containing highlights from the employer interviews we have conducted to date. This summary was prepared using the notes that each of
us took during or after the interviews (I did not use the recordings at this time).

With the upcoming AB meeting in mind please review this summary and think about:

  • What are the common themes?
  • What are the most important points?
  • What are the main points with regard to what the industries need/expect from the eng. graduates?
  • What are the main themes about the future of the engineering practice?
  • What points are specific to 2 year technical programs?
  • What points are specific to 4 year programs?
  • What is missing?
  • Anything else...

Use the table below to add your comments.  

common themes most important points
industries needs/expectations 
future of the engineering practice
2 year technical 
4 year programs 
Louise Communication (verbal, written, intranet, ...), ability to learn/adapt, problem solve Communication, use of databases, business aspect, problem solving Software: CAD, spreadsheet, database, collaboration,simulation,data analysis

People:  communicate, problem solve, manage, stay current, multi-task
More use of technology -simulation
Pay more attention to environmental concerns
Depends on company
2-yr can do CAD, some simulations, data analysis, ... - depends on level
Ditto what is said below
Daina Companies are always looking for the best people; the expectations for computing skills seem to be presenting some common themes. It is interesting that programming has been mentioned at least a couple of times Excel is a common expectations.  For ChEs, the ASPEN simulation tool has been mentioned.  Knowledge of some programming (e.g., Visual Basic). Adaptability and flexibility are important traits in the context of using a company's "homegrown" software or learning new software in training. I didn't really hear that much about the future of engineering practice. Two-year folks will most likely be the ones running the plants as operators, at least in ChE. This is the grounding for life-long learning.
Neeraj Need folks who are critical thinkers (problem solvers).  Good communication(both verbal and written) skills. same as the previous column Need basic computational skills.  Job specific skills can be picked up on the job.  Should have the skill set to adapt to new tools for efficient operation.  Knowledge of CAD would be nice. Management skills.  People skills to advance the business.  Corporate development, leadership skills..... Some employers will hire folks with a 2 year associate degree (eg MDOT).  However a four year degree will be required in order to move up the employment ladder. Sound technical knowledge in the discipline.  The "real" world needs can be picked up on the job.
Mark Software:
CAD, data and statistical analysis, MS Office, modeling/simulation

Communication skills & soft skills.

Knowing how to apply tools to solve problems.

Using technology to collaborate across/outside organization

Integrating design, manufacturing, plant control using software

Accelerating development cycle; increased productivity, reduced time.

Using tech to support broad problem solving and decision making.

Ability to move between abstractions in software and physical systems. 

Understanding what is being modeled and limits of the models.

Increasing integration of engineering data across larger systems (i.e., logistics & ordering).  More business intelligence embedded in systems.
More focus on operations.  Heavier emphasis on CAD design work.
More focus on modeling and simulations as part of design.
Cindee While technical/computational skills are important; students must have skills that allow them to think critically, problem solve, manage, mine, and make meaning of data, and communicate to others through multiple ways such as in-person, in groups, virtually, in writing, in presentation, etc. Same as previous column, plus emphasis on ability think through how to use/apply computational tools to solve problems or help visualize, and understand process (i.e., process/systems thinking, process management) and product life cycles process flows, project management, Excel, sumilation, data anlysis; ditto Taryn's comment Simulation; ability to think about how to apply existing applicaitons to meet future needs; application that promote or aid intergrative data analysis and manipulation Ditto Mark Ditto other comments; also emphasis on increasing opportunity for students to build problem solving, critical thinking, proces thinkning, communicaiton skills within the curriculum
Taryn Ditto Neeraj comment.  Understanding of business as well as technical engineering versatility as opposed to deep expertise Desire for hires to be familiar with a multitude of software systems, which may or may not share general operating principles, at the same time desire for hires to be able to figure out what is going on absent fancy computer diagnostics. increasing use of simulation to reduce materials usage in design phase, track requirements and reduce carbon footprint not familar with content enough to say ditto prior column
  • Multiple CAD programs
  • Process simulation packages (from design to manufacturing
  • Software collaboration tools (share info and manage data)
  • Excel (High levl capabilities)
  • MS Office
  • Modeling software

  • Other skills:
  • Communication
  •  abiity to learn
  • Operational engineering (hands on)
  • team work
  •  problem solving
  • data mining
  • globalization (computational)
  • Collect data, organize and present
  •  Critical thinking
  • Understanding of principles and application of right tools
  • Multitasking
  • team work
  • ability to learn
  • Communication
  •  Globalization
  • full life cycle (DFE) environmental impact across disciplines
  • High computational level (Programming to an end result)
  • Broader experinece in R & D
  • new applications for existing materials
  • material development
  • electronic communication
  • Next generation of technology?
  • Agree with Neeraj and Mark's comments
  • understanding what tools to apply, how and when to apply them. Thinking about problems in innovative ways and applying computational thinking
  • basic computational
  • ability to work with a team and learn job specific skills
  • to think conceptually to practical application and product devlopment
  • technology simulation
  • green/LEED design
  • Working with global timetables