I am reading a new book on Engineering Education called, A Whole New Engineer. My years of professional experience give me cause to agree with many of their conclusions and propositions. I will post occasionally from this book. Speaking of current engineering education practices, authors David E. Goldberg and Mark Somerville state, “Once students are studying engineering, there is a heavy emphasis on development of logical and mathematical capacities, to the exclusion of the other intelligences. Too often this is reflected in students’ attitudes: ‘I don’t need to learn to write–I’m an engineer!’ This single-minded focus in engineering is in part due to the emphasis on depth in engineering education. There’s a sense that because there’s so much technical stuff to learn, we can’t afford to spend time developing students’ other intelligences.” (David E. Goldberg and Mark Somerville, A Whole New Engineer, The Coming Revolution in Engineering Education, ThreeJoy Associates, Inc. Douglas, Michigan, 2014)
I have personally found that, being willing to write, proactively learning to write, and striving to write well, have opened doors of engineering opportunity that I would not have otherwise had, if not for a pursuit of improved writing skills. Math and science are important, even expected, but communication skills brings power to an engineers ability to move projects and ideas forward.
Your message here is an important one that I wholeheartedly agree with.
Writing, speaking, listening, and all of the other so called ‘soft’ skills are critical for engineers to excel, and to do what I like to call “remarkable engineering”.