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Tool Use and Activities of Practicing Engineers over Time: Survey Results

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Professional Development and Scholarship

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1533.1 - 22.1533.13



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Paper Authors


Michael D. Johnson Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M, he was a senior product development engineer at the 3M Corporate Research Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota for three years. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University and his S.M. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Johnson’s research focuses on design tools; specifically, the cost modeling and analysis of product development and manufacturing systems; CAD methodology; manufacturing site location; and engineering education.

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Malini Natarajarathinam Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Malini Natarajarathinam is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Distribution in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University. She received her B.E. from Anna University, her M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University, her M.A. in Management Science and MS in Applied Statistics from The University of Alabama and her Ph.D. from The University of Alabama. Her teaching activities surround classes in purchasing, distribution networks and strategic relationships. She has been involved in numerous research and consulting engagements in the area of inventory management, supplier relationships and improving profitability at several large and mid-sized distributors.

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Tool Use and Activities of Practicing Engineers over Time: Survey ResultsA major goal of higher education is to provide students with the knowledge they need to besuccessful in their professional careers and prepare them to be lifelong learners who can adapt ina dynamic environment. To understand what that knowledge entails requires insights into whatactivities current practicing engineers are engaged in and what tools they use in the workplace.How those activities have changed over time will provide insight into how to properly trainstudents to be lifelong learners. To assist with this effort, this work undertook a survey of arepresentative group of practicing engineers. The link for a web-based survey was sent to achapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. In addition to demographic and employerinformation, details regarding work-related activities and how those activities have changed overtime was requested. Additional information regarding the tools used by the respondingpracticing engineers was also collected.Initial survey results show design, manufacturing engineering, and project management as themajor activities of the respondents. Results show that these activities have requiredapproximately the same amount of time over the respondents’ careers; with the exception ofproject management, which has increased. 80% of respondents’ companies use product platformsand manufacture outside their home countries. The majority of respondents companies’ use sometype of cost estimation tool. The greatest number of respondents had a Bachelors degree andworked for companies with less than 1000 employees. These results will be discussed in thecontext of the current engineering technology curriculum at the author’s institution.

Johnson, M. D., & Natarajarathinam, M. (2011, June), Tool Use and Activities of Practicing Engineers over Time: Survey Results Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18622

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