August 23, 2022
June 26, 2022
June 29, 2022
There is a mismatch or gap between the job-related skills that industrial companies want from Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) graduates and what academic institutions provide when students graduate from ECE programs. Consequently, and based on the literature, the number of contemporary graduates that lack the industry-required skills has increased. Because of the skills gap, newly hired engineers may require additional training to attain critical competencies, which cost employers time and money.
This paper examines the skills required by ECE graduates in the United States and presents survey results from ECE professional engineers. The survey used in this study was obtained from The College and Career Readiness and Success Center at the U.S. Department of Education. The survey focuses on nine major categories: applied academic skills, critical thinking skills, interpersonal skills, personal skills, resource management skills, information use skills, communication skills, system thinking skills, and technology use skills. ECE professional engineers were asked to rank skills on a 1-5 Likert scale where “one” is not important and “five” is vital. They also were asked to rate the degree of preparedness upon graduation for the same skills on a 1-5 Likert scale.
This paper highlights the perspectives of 45 ECE professionals regarding the required skills ECE graduates should possess upon graduation and how vital these skills are. The results of the survey highlight the gap between the level of importance and the degree of preparedness for ECE graduates regarding these skills. The results also show that communication skills, system thinking skills, technology skills, and critical thinking skills are more important than applied academic skills, interpersonal skills, and personal qualities. It is apparent that the existing skills gap between the degree of importance and how prepared ECE graduates are is a concern of industry, and the lack of preparation for these skills can severely impact the employability of ECE graduates. System thinking skills, with an average value of 4.68, are clearly the most significant abilities, followed by communication and technology skills, with average values of 4.52 and 4.40, respectively. The average rating for all of the survey respondents is 3.54, indicating that ECE graduates are highly prepared in applied academic skills. The most striking findings from the data revealed that ECE graduates are underprepared in system thinking skills, which have been given the highest importance. This has significant implications for the pressing need to promote the use of novel teaching approaches that help ECE graduates develop system thinking skills.
Al Mestiraihi, M., & Becker, K. (2022, August), Work-in-Progress: Skill Requirements for Electrical and Computer Engineers (ECE) Graduates in the United States: Industrial companies' perspectives Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/40760
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2022 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015