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Kasum, Emil (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Volume 52, Number 1 (October 1947)

Engineering opportunities,   p. 9


Page 9


Engineering
Opportunities
Introducinq a Series of Articles
T HE situation of a senior engineer about to be gradu-
    ated is well expressed by the cover picture on a
brochure left in the placement office recently by one of
the larger manufacturing firms. A capped and gowned
figure, with diploma in hand, is shown about to step onto
a large jig-saw puzzle, each section of which is labelled
with some phase of engineering or related - engineering
work. Shown on this particular sketch were (1) Engineer-
ing, (2) Manufacturing, (3) Design, (4) Research, and
(5) Business.
  Actually an engineer can readily enter any one of these
fields, though these five by no means cover the full range
of work open to the engineering graduate.
  The jig-saw analogy is perfectly practical even if carried
farther. True, any single engineer can enter any of a
given number of phases of work, but consider also the
many variables which affect the eventual placing of that
man in any single field. The evaluation of these "variables"
is somewhat analogous to the odd shape of each of the
puzzle parts. For example, the requirements for success
in each field differ radically with respect to the tempera-
ment of a person, to the personality required, to individual
capabilities, to the ability to solve large general problems
or definitely stated problems, to interest in highly technical
problems extending to semi or even non-technical prob-
lems, to the ability to work with people and other require-
ments of the work itself. Many more variables could be
mentioned, such as the type of company the man is enter-
ing, the character of its organization, and its operating
and personnel policies.
   It can be noted, however, that every placement prob-
lem resolves into two sets of factors, (1) those concerned
with the individual, and (2) those concerned with the
company. Combine these two sets of variables and you
have the jig saw puzzle idea pretty well explained.
   The engineering student is faced with a broad range of
opportunities. Before he leaves school it will be of consid-
erable advantage for him to find out as much as he can
concerning these various fields. He should first attempt to
narrow his original area of interest down to those channels
which most appeal to him and then to work toward place-
ment in one of those selected channels.
   The series of explanatory articles to be featured by The
 Wisconsin Engineer is. an attempt to define some of these
THE WISCONSIN ENGINEER
areas of opportunity. During the coming months typical
fields will be discussed to acquaint student engineers with
various phases of engineering. It is suggested that students
individually study the fields they may wish to enter by
reading as much as possible the technical magazines in the
Engineering library so as to gain a "talking acquaintance"
with the various fields, by talking freely and asking ques-
tions of practicing engineers and instructors, by getting
first-hand experience from field trips or part time work,
by selecting electives in those fields of interest, and by
making use of available interest and vocational tests on
the campus.
  For example, a student can learn a tremendous amount
about design by regular perusal of (1) Machine Design,
(2) Product Engineering, (3) Mechanical Engineering and
a number of other current publications. The student may
find no specific articles in any six-month period regarding
the duties of a design engineer, but he will begin to build
a conception of what types of problems the design engi-
neer handles. The advertising in the first two of these
magazines is directed mainly at design engineers and one
can quite readily begin to picture the design engineer's
field. The same is true of the industrial, research, develop-
ment, sales, and other engineering fields normally open
to the engineer.
  In trying to define his interests, to progress gradually
in any given path, the average student may often be sway-
ed by individuals or immediate considerations of concerns
visiting the campus. Interviewees often exhibit "chameleon-
like" tendencies from day to day as evidenced by past
experience. On any one day the largest percentage of men
may be interested in manufacturing administration, on a
successive day some interviewing representative converts
the largest percentage of interest over to sales, on still a
third day the same group are "all-out" for design or devel-
opment work. While this is an exaggeration to a certain ex-
tent, it merits some consideration and arises from two
sources. The first is a lack of sincere and continuing in-
terest in any one or two fields of work through insufficient
knowledge about those fields; the second is an obtaining
of vague or doubtful information about each field as it
comes along.
                  (continued on page 28)
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