June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Educational Research and Methods
The importance of communication in the engineering profession is widely acknowledged by various stakeholders, including industry, academia, practicing engineers, and engineering students. Even though alternative strategies to help students improve their ability to communicate professionally have already been in practice in engineering programs across the country, research indicates a dissatisfaction of employers when it comes to the performance of engineers as communicators in the workplace. This perspective suggests that efforts to improve students’ communication skills in the universities may be inconsistent with the workplace’s needs, revealing an apparent gap between what has been taught and what is expected from engineering professionals. This gap provides an opportunity for additional research on identifying the specific communication skills required for engineers to succeed in the workplace. Particularly, the requirements of industry concerning engineers’ communication skills need to be understood more deeply, so that new educational interventions may be carefully tailored according to employers’ expectations and that both communication and engineering faculty can revisit their strategies to teach students to become better communicators. In order to obtain a deeper understanding of industry’s expectations concerning engineering communication skills, a qualitative research study was implemented to provide a detailed description of the communication skills practicing engineers need while working in industry. The exclusive focus on industry was pursued through the development of case studies. Based on information collected from multiple sources, four industrial segments (high-Tech, automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing) that employ a significant percentage of engineers in the U.S. were selected. Data collection included qualitative interviews with engineers in leadership positions. The results revealed that: 1) oral communication is prevalent in the engineering profession; 2) engineers need to tailor their messages to multiple audiences and to select the most appropriate type of medium; 3) written communication is expected to be clear, concise, and precise; 4) global communication is an increasingly demanded requirement to work in industry.
de Souza Almeida, L. M., & Becker, K. H., & Villanueva, I. (2019, June), Board 40: Understanding Industry’s Expectations of Engineering Communication Skills Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32343
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