Why is Mathematics and Science important in Engineering?

We take many things for granted in our life. For example, our cell phones, internet, FM Radio, microwave oven etc. But from where do all these things come? Yes, you are right. These things come from mathematics, science, technology and engineering. In a simple sentence, we can say that these things come from those people who are specialized in those streams.

 

Our future depends on our scientific spine. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM are very important for our country.  STEM Education is important for our children future. If you think where STEM applies in our life, you will realize that it applies in each and every aspect of our life. Science includes our natural world. For example sun, moon, stars, weather, animals, plants, food etc. Technology includes cell phones, computers, television, radio, telegraphs etc.  Engineering includes designing roads, bridges and building. It also deals with challenges related to transport, global warming, systems and appliances. We come across Mathematics at grocery stores, banks, family budget, and tax forms.

 

 

School and college going students of America are the future of the country. They are very important for a dynamic economy. Here is the fact about them.

 

The National Academies is the non-profit organization that advises on science and technology. Many years ago a warning was given to U.S by The National Academies, that the U.S. will continue losing ground to foreign economic rivals unless and until it improves the education quality of maths and science.

 

Last year, experts reported that, U.S ranked 27th among 29 wealthy countries in proportion of university students with degrees in mathematics and science. Among developed countries, they ranked 31st.

 

The National Academies are taking initiative and urging government to improve mathematics and science curriculums. The National Academies wants to increase the number of qualified science and maths teacher by 10000. The students who have thorough knowledge of STEM think critically and innovatively. In future the highest paid jobs will be in STEM and all the employees will have to utilize their STEM skills to solve problems in a wide range of industries.

 

According to U.S. Department of Education, only 16% high school students have proven their proficiency in mathematics and are interested in STEM. Only 28% of high school freshmen showed their interest in STEM related field.  Due to these reasons, Obama started “Educate to innovate’ campaign in 2009 so that the students get inspired and excel in STEM subjects.  The campaign also showed the number of insufficient teachers skilled to educate in these subjects. The mission is to get the American students from the middle to the top of the international arena.

 

The Importance of STEM education:

 

STEMconnector.org projects that there will be around 8.65 millions of STEM related jobs by 2018. Projection of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is that, by 2018, the bulk of STEM careers will be 2% in Mathematics, 4% in life Science, 7% in Physical Science, 16% in Traditional Engineering, and 71% in Computing.

 

Only Americans don’t have this problem. Countries like U.K, Germany do face the same problem. According to Royal Academy of Engineering reports, the Brits should graduate more than 1lakh STEM majors till 2020 just to meet its demand. Germany has the scarcity of more than 2lakh workers in Mathematics, National Science and Computer Science disciplines. Ethnically, Asian students have shown much interest in the field of STEM.

 

STEM based learning combines learning methods and subjects rather than keeping them separate.  Different types of disciplines are taught by integrating what students know to solve a new problem. STEM makes use of student’s strength and challenge them to learn more and think innovatively.

 

What Essential Qualities Make An Excellent Engineer?

quality-of-engineer

An engineer is a scientifically trained professional, who is able to design and develop products such as software, machines, structures etc. In other words, an engineer is a person responsible for all technological innovations.

We cannot count and list down the qualities of an engineer. He/she may have infinite skills and knacks that differ from person to person. Although, some of the qualities of a great engineer are given below for your reference.

1) Attention to detail
An ideal engineer must possess attention to even minute details. A minute carelessness can destroy the entire project. No matter in which stream you are specialized, the responsibility is the same.

2) Strong analytical skill
An outstanding engineer has strong analytical skills that aids in solving problems easily. They will be in a constant analysis of issues and bugs arising from their products and fix them. Engineers also consider the future queries or problems that may arise after the product delivery and take necessary steps.

3) Excellent Communication skill
Communication skill is not simply the fluency in language. It involves the translation of technical details into native language or English by how a layman can understand. He/she must be able to communicate well with the clients as well as colleagues.

4) Updated about innovations
A true engineer even after his UG or PG will show interest in updating themselves with the new technological innovations and discoveries. They will be very enthusiastic about the innovations.

5) Logical thinking
The prime difference between a common man and an engineer is the ability to think logically. Problem solving requires supreme logical thinking ability. Without this quality, one cannot become a good engineer.

6) Innovative as well as creative
Innovation and creation relates very close to each other. For a good innovation, the engineer must be creative. They need to think of future possibilities that may seem impossible in the present.

7) Team player
Team work leads to success. Engineers work in teams to fulfil a project. It is through co-ordination of different ideas from the team members, a new product is developed.

8) Tech savvy
The term ‘tech savvy’ is quite familiar to all. An engineer must have strong technical knowledge not only in his/her own sector but also in devices that is used in the project development.

9) Great Mathematical skills
Mathematics is the core subject that is applicable in all the areas of engineering. An engineer must have the excellent mathematical skills. He/she must be able to break down the complexities in a large problem into smaller ones and solve it with ease.

10) Good problem solving skill
It is common in a project or in an industry for problems to arise. Hence, an engineer must have the knack of solving those issues arising in the industry. The problems may include bug fixes, servicing of a machine, maintenance of a structure etc. These issues need to be fixed within specific time limits that add to the quality of an engineer.

If you are a student who foresees your career in Engineering, make sure that you can acquire the above mentioned qualities flawlessly. Some are knacks and some are skills. Knacks need to be in one’s blood and skill can be obtained by training.

Engineers

Engineers – “The problem solvers”

the future of india: Engineers

Here is a true event that happened in my workplace. We were discussing about a new promotional campaign titled “Innovation is invention” for our online website. We needed a new set of banners and an interactive landing page for our campaign. But just two days prior to the “crunch day” the only developer assigned to our campaign fell ill. Arun, the lead campaigner, was pacing around nervously, scrambling his mobile, all very depressed. In the meantime, I was sitting down carving out a plan B (which to be honest, we never had). It didn’t take me long to figure out that we could use the online templates to start an initial campaign until our lead developer returns back. And, thankfully, the ‘plan B’ worked. Later Arun asked, “How did you manage to be so unperturbed by the unseen disaster our marketing campaign faced with?” “I am an engineer, and problem-solving is in my DNA,” I replied promptly.

We, engineers, are an interesting breed of people. We simply relish a challenge. And to the utter dismay of many, the harder it is to solve, the better! The irony, however, is the fact that irrespective of the monumental role engineering has played in shaping the world to what it is today, people still ignore its importance. For starters, if I were to ask you to notice the room you are sitting in? Or for that matter think about the chair you sit on. Can you see the engineering around you? If you are an average individual belonging to age group 15-55, you are almost certainly carrying a smartphone. If so, then you are surrounded by engineering! Yes, you read it correctly.

So why is it that we do not appreciate the engineers more? Often, engineering is highlighted when there’s a catastrophe – for instance, the recent Nepal Earthquake. The truth, however, is engineering has played a significant role in shaping the world to what it is today. Road, rail, aeroplanes, medical equipment is just a few of the many marvels created by beautiful minds of engineers – the creative thinkers. By only highlighting the negatives of engineering, we impose a bad impression on people, and more alarmingly, the profession. These obsolete, damaging perceptions of engineering are upsetting our capability to recruit the next generation of engineers.

Why sudden dearth of engineers?

Engineering’s greatest strength and perhaps the biggest challenge is its diversity. For years, the magnificent work done by engineers has moulded our lives, but hasn’t received its due. Name any assignment, and I can assure you that there are thousands of invisible engineers slogging their hearts out. And it is time we wave our arms and celebrate the tireless effort done by millions. Maybe we equate technology with nerds. Fortunately or unfortunately ‘nerdy’ is the next “in-thing” and it needs its share of importance.

However, the present teaching methods in engineering schools have become repetitive and it has become increasingly difficult to attract the best of the minds to the profession. What if we could inspire kids to see engineering in action? I would predominantly like to see a closer working relationship between schools and manufacturing hubs. While interactive sessions are doing a great job of making the classroom more interactive and less monotonous, however, you simply can’t compete with the experience of going into a factory full of gadgets/machines (lots of noise) – watching a plastic toy or an iPhone being made. Imagine how impactful it will be for children to witness it first-hand.

Anything we can do to make kids understand the importance of the subjects will be extremely important for them to turn them into the next generation of engineers, mathematicians, scientists, and technicians. By opening the world of engineering, we will help children to join the dots about the technologies. Furthermore, it will make them aware about facts and findings to which most children and for that matter many adults too are oblivious.  Those who work in academic world have a primary role of inspiring the next generation. Our country boasts of some of the best engineering schools and engineering brains.

Also, there is an urgent need to assess the teaching quality in our higher education institutes. However, when our government decides on funding an engineering institute receives, its quality of teaching does not count for much and it is awarded mostly on its research output. Our company has been involved in developing educational content and information with focus on engineers. Our blog has had somewhere close to 10,000 viewers worldwide. The major response that we receive is the beleaguering state of Indian engineering schools. Anyone looking objectively at these sorts of activities can see their value yet universities don’t have a tangible way to recognise that value.

My plea is to those in government to recognise the importance of public engagement, and for universities to find a way to support it. That way, the passionate ambassadors who already work in many faculties will be encouraged and supported to go out and spread the wonderful bug that is engineering. It may be all around us, but if we don’t open the door, how will future engineers ever find us?

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