In the last decade, there's been a dramatic shift in technology. Since 2010, we've seen the rise of 4G internet (with 5G making waves in 2020 and beyond), cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI), to name just a few. The evolution of the smartphone and wearable devices have also taken off in this decade, making an impact on everyday routines, such as commuting via rideshare apps, ordering groceries using voice control devices like Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Google Home, unlocking your phone with facial recognition.
These technological breakthroughs in the 2010s revealed new opportunities for growth and change not only in everyday routines, but industry as well. Particularly in the world of engineering, these technologies have impacted the processes and quality of products created to cater to consumer demand. Examples of emerging technologies in engineering in this decade include 3D printing, digital twin, and generative design technology to name a few.
As an engineer, you might wonder how to keep up with and participate in shaping the future of engineering as industry trends are constantly in motion. To develop, nurture, and prepare yourself for what could come in the next decade in engineering, here are a few resolutions to consider in 2020:
1. Envision Your Future: With digital transformation (DX) technologies like IoT, AI, augmented reality (AR), computer-aided design (CAD), and additive manufacturing becoming more and more ubiquitous, it’s starting to look as though those sci-fi movies that portrayed a future filled with robots and automation weren’t too far off. For instance, AI, AR, and CAD can be combined with computer vision (CV) in the industrial enterprise space to improve processes on factory floors or remotely help technicians recognize any part on a deployed machine instantly. Completion times are reduced, as well as the amount of resources needed to solve a problem. As DX technologies continue to transform the way the workforce and factory operates, the demand for new talent to fill roles in the skills gap grows.
New careers have emerged in this decade and continue to do so with these technologies. Roles for AR engineers and industrial engineers using CAD software, such as Creo, have evolved to meet the demand of new technologies coming into the market. Growth in these emerging technologies also means growth and opportunity for you.
2. Develop Your Skills: Nurture soft skills along with your hard skills, which are those technical skills fundamental to any career, and you’ll gain a competitive edge in the application process and in your chosen career. Soft skills like communication, adaptability, and time management, coupled with growing technical skills, will set you apart from other candidates and employees. Not sure how to improve your soft skills? Here’s a blog on how to develop, record, showcase, and apply soft skills in your application materials and in your career!
3. Become an Expert: Leaving the classroom after college doesn’t mean your formal learning has to end. Continued learning is essential for professional growth and online guides and tutorials like LinkedIn Learning and YouTube, or Udemy for Business make it easy. To stay on top of industry trends, take advantage of these online resources or see what your company has to offer if you’re looking for development in your current position.
4. Showcase Your Work: Taking a project and showcasing it to potential employers can be crucial in the application process or when seeking a promotion. For many candidates, particularly engineers, this means adapting and considering an online portfolio to track, showcase, and provide potential employers with content that is relevant and embodies the characteristics they are seeking in the right individual. Our recommended best practices for showcasing your work via ePortfolio can be found here. Leveraging these resources will give you a competitive edge and is particularly valuable for engineers pursuing careers in industries like aerospace, automotive, and more.
5. Make Sustainable Choices: As you move forward into the next decade, addressing ways that cutting-edge technology and digital transformation can positively impact the Earth will become more important. These powerful technologies give you a platform to share information easily in a captivating way, which can help relay things like how to properly dispose of waste, report on natural disasters through visual journalism, and even provides communities with safe water through smart, connected systems. In an AR experience created by PTC Academic for Earth Day, eco-friendly life choices are depicted in a gamified learning experience. The entire design process is paperless, creative, and showcases how technology can make an impact on everyday choices by sharing invaluable lessons like maintaining a sustainable lifestyle. Similarly, news outlets have leveraged this AR technology to show events happening around the world, like the forest fires in the Amazon and how the people in the community are affected—see the AR experience here.
This company has used IoT technology to create a smart, connected solution for the water crisis that affects many rural communities. This company has leveraged IoT to develop a comprehensive remote monitoring system that uses sensors and cloud computing technologies to collect the real-time data on water systems installed globally. These sustainable solutions that have developed in this past decade have set a strong precedent for initiatives that are sure to come in the future.
6. Find Balance: Staying organized, making healthy choices, and simply getting from point A to point B can be challenging, even with apps for accountability, scheduling, and improving focus readily available. Taking the time to reflect on what you’re currently doing and where you’d like to go doesn’t have to be intimidating – resources like these make it easy. Work on finding balance this year and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
7. Understand the Technology You Use Daily: Consider the abundance of resources readily available and how you can use DX technologies not simply to replace old systems and technologies, but to improve the way you work in industry alongside technology. As you interact and familiarize yourself with these technologies, consider sharing this knowledge with non-technical people. Many people go everyday using the popular devices that use AI, AR, IoT, and more, as mentioned in the introduction, but how do you explain or show to them how that power can be leveraged in industry? Show your family and friends how the technologies work by demoing an interactive AR experience or by watching a video or two. Discussing how the physical and digital worlds are converging is exciting and you have the ability to help spread the wealth of knowledge!
A new year brings new opportunity for reflection and growth. In an era of digital transformation, it’s inevitable that society as a whole will continue to change. As the new year rolls in and a new decade with it, explore the opportunity for transformations of your own in your personal life and career.
Interested in learning about digital transformation technology offerings like computer-aided design and augmented reality? Visit the PTC Academic website.
Delaney McDevitt is the marketing copywriter for the PTC Academic Marketing team. In her role, she creates content that embodies the Academic team's mission to empower students and educators to succeed in the digital transformation era.
As a professional writer, she has experience in copywriting, editing, email marketing, content strategy, blogging, document design, and creative writing.