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Soft and Hard Skills Balance among Engineering & Engineering Technology Graduates

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

ETD - Technical Session 7 - ET Pedagogy I

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Paper Authors


Yury Kuleshov Purdue University at West Lafayette (PPI)

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Yury A. Kuleshov is a graduate student earning his Ph.D. in Technology degree from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. He received his Diploma in Engineering (6-year program) from Bauman Moscow State Technical University, where he majored in Robots and Robotic Systems, and specifically Underwater Robots and Vehicles, and his M.S. in Engineering Technology degree from Purdue University. He has experience working as an engineer, a research assistant, and an instructor. His research as a Ph.D. student is in autonomous vehicles, engineering education, and K-12 education.

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Anne Lucietto Purdue University at West Lafayette (PPI)

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Twenty-first-century life requires a sophisticated combination of "hard" and "soft" skills, especially for young engineers entering the workforce. Engineering and engineering technology students have historically had different college program requirements with parallel curricula. The engineering curriculum has been predominantly theoretical, while engineering technology programs focused on practical application. The two curriculums tend to become closer in the recent inclusion of experiential learning in engineering courses and informal student activities.

The existing literature focuses on inquiries into computer science and computer engineering student skills, while less literature is devoted to developing skills for traditional engineering majors such as mechanical and electrical engineering. Engineering technology student experiences have not been a popular topic among education researchers until recently, wherein a few works focus exclusively on the engineering technology student population. Because of this dichotomy, the authors hypothesize that engineering technology vs. engineering student skillsets can incorporate a soft skill component, significant enough to give the first an advantage on the job market when both compete for similar positions. This hypothesis will require a rigorous multi-step study, which shall start with a literature review on the subject.

The current paper will serve as a literature review component of the multi-step study focusing on anticipated skillsets of engineering and engineering technology students. The authors will search for literature on academia and industry expectations for future engineers. The authors will search for literature on engineering and engineering technology student anticipated skills upon graduation. The authors will compare engineering and engineering technology student skillsets from academia, industry, and student perspectives. The primary focus of engineering technology students and their engineering employers will explicitly address the "soft" skills that they value during their studies and hiring process, respectively. The literature review will aid in the identification of gaps in the literature and support the development of addressing the gaps in future research.

Kuleshov, Y., & Lucietto, A. (2022, August), Soft and Hard Skills Balance among Engineering & Engineering Technology Graduates Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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