Garyk, Engineers get to make certain decisions; just not the one central to their future. Imagine this scenario. The electronics engineer designs the product and decides which parts should go on the board. He/she turns it over to the purchasing guys who look at the board and chuck out all the parts the engineer designed into it in favor of cheaper alternatives from their favorite suppliers (not the suppliers the engineer bought the samples from).
Then purchasing turns the bill of materials/components over to the contract manufacturer specified by the CFO (who doesn't even know engineers exist) and the products are made in China where the engineer has never been and most likely will never visit because he/she is already designing the next winning product and (1) has forgotten about what he previously designed that's winning in the market and (2) has been forgotten by the sales/marketing/executive team being applauded for the great product.
20 years later, the engineer tells his grandchildren how he helped in desigining that great product or solved that great engineering riddle that resolved a major technology crisis. By then, though, the great product has been swept into the historical bin of great products. Anybody remember the Motorola Startac? It was released in 1996 and wowed the market. You'll be able to find references to it on Google, where (if it doesn't fall into the history trap too) you'll be able to find historical references to the iPhone in another 15 years.
I've worked at several companys and the problem with Engineers is that they don't make decisions, they will argue/discuss either side, black or white usually alot of gray area. We've all heard the Engineering jokes. Two Engineers walking down the hall way, and a SIGN said wet floor! So they did.
What has happened is that there has not been as much money in engineering as in the other things that some people do for money. Presently, we engineers work in areas that are sometimes regulated quite intensely, which renders them less profitable.
Engineers tend to appear conservative because we mostly demand information before making choices, and we tend to think logically, and make decisions based on more than emotions. And because we often consider the secondary impact of our choices, they are in fact, more conservative. The sad fact is that avoiding irrational behavior does make us tend to fit in more poorly.
In addition, making choices based on an understanding of the real physics of an activity instead of just emotions or "what everybody else thinks", we do seem to be out of place.
@chipmonk We doctors of English learn to appreciate engineering, especially when we teach engineering students at NJIT in writing across the curriculum projects that include readings on what causes bridges to collapse.
Engineers have to be conservative at work, not even an English major would like to have the Bridge crash under her ! The same goes for Doctors too. In general, Engineers hold in poor regard those who try to make up for dearth of data, logic and hard mathematics by emotional blackmail and political manipulation. Thus the scepticism, if any, about Global Warming.
@Eldredge: Right on! The choice of career should have nothing to do with your philosophy, although I find we tend to gravitate toward like-minded people, if not professions. Conservatism, BTW, can also be refeshing :-) I make myself listen to a conservative talk radio show here in Boston just to make sure I am not completely out of touch with other points of view. I draw the line at FOX TV, though...
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.