This book explains engineering practice, what engineers actually do in their work. The first part explains how to find paid engineering work and prepare for an engineering career. The second part explains the fundamentals of engineering practice, including how to gain access to technical knowledge, how to gain the willing collaboration of other people to make things happen, and how to work safely in hazardous environments. Other chapters explain engineering aspects of project management missed in most courses, how to create commercial value from engineering work and estimate costs, and how to navigate cultural complexities successfully. Later chapters provide guidance on sustainability, time management and avoiding the most common frustrations encountered by engineers at work. This book has been written for engineering students, graduates and novice engineers. Supervisors, mentors and human resources professionals will also find the book helpful to guide early-career engineers and assess their progress. Engineering schools will find the book helpful to help students prepare for professional internships and also for creating authentic practice and assessment exercises.
James Trevelyan (The University of Western Australia Crawley Australia)
Country of Publication:
18 December 2020
Further / Higher Education
PART I Preparation for an engineering career 1 Engineering: doing more with less Transforming the planet Engineering disciplines 2 Engineering practice How to use this book 3 Seeking paid engineering work Fear of failure Stage 1: Preparation Stage 2: Visit engineering suppliers and potential employers Relocating for opportunities? 4 Neglected perception skills Perceiving reality Prior knowledge influences perception 5 Listening Practice exercise: observing listening lapses Active listening and paraphrasing Writing accurate notes Contextual listening Helping others to listen An imperfect, interactive, interpretation performance More listening and note-taking exercises 40 6 Reading documents Practice exercise: reading documents to learn from them Practice exercise: written requirements 7 Reading people Avoid email and text messages for sensitive conversations 8 Seeing and creativity Why is sketching so difficult? Practice exercise: evaluate your seeing skills PART 2 Workplace learning 9 Learning the ropes 10 Engineering knowledge Knowledge and information Types of knowledge Knowledge transfer Acquiring new knowledge-learning 11 Knowledge is a social network Mapping knowledge Distributed knowledge Distributed cognition 12 Making things happen Step 1: finding a peer Step 2: discovery, organisation Step 3: monitoring-another discovery performance Step 4: completion and handover Informal leadership, face to face Social culture Practice exercise-knowledge network mapping 13 Working safely Identify hazards Identify hazardous events Identify likelihood, consequences, and risks Risk control measures First steps Cultural influences Human behaviour 14 Making big things happen Information, knowledge, and diversity Project life cycle Project planning Negotiate and define the scope of work, calculate the time schedule Specifications Risk analysis and management Approvals Final Investment Decision (FID) approval Monitoring progress-continuous learning Completing the project 15 Generating value Innovation, research and development (1) Product differentiation (2) Efficiency improvements (3) Reducing technical uncertainties (4) Performance forecasts (5) Inspection, testing, and design checking (6) Project and design reviews (7) Compliance with standards (8) Reliable technical coordination (9) Teaching, building skills (10) Social licence to operate: co-creating value with communities (11) Sustainment: operations, asset management, and maintenance (12) Environmental protection (13) Defence and security (14) Small and medium enterprises Balancing value generation with cost Quantifying value generation Learning more 16 Estimating costs Estimating Labour cost What does it cost to employ you? Low-income countries 17 Navigating social culture What's different? Some products can succeed Think in terms of value generation Outsourcing Opportunities 18 Sustainability Climate change UN sustainable development goals Overcoming resistance to change Renewable energy Efficiency gains, new ideas, or behaviour change? Opportunities 19 Time management Understand daily physiological patterns Classify tasks Adapt your schedule Keep records Schedule major tasks Allocate time to help others Say no by saying yes Defer or delegate: documentation and filing is the key Unforeseen disruptions, avoiding overwork 20 Frustrations Frustration 1: Working hard is not getting me anywhere Frustration 2: I can't get a job without experience and advertised jobs require experience Frustration 3: Admin, meetings, accounts, and procedures: this is not what I was educated for Frustration 4: This job does not have enough intellectual challenges for me Frustration 5: Has this been done before? Frustration 6: Constrained by standards? Frustration 7: Yearning for hands-on work Frustration 8: I can't get other people to understand my ideas Frustration 9: This company is run by accountants Frustration 10: They always cut the maintenance budget first Frustration 11: They are only interested in the lowest price Frustration 12: Net Present Value (NPV) shows the project is fine-why don't they approve it? Frustration 13: My skills and knowledge are only valued in rich countries Frustration 14: I would much prefer a job where I could do something to help people Frustration 15: My emails go unanswered Epilogue - next steps Online Appendices
Emeritus Professor James Trevelyan is an engineer, educator, researcher and recently became a start-up entrepreneur. He is CEO of Close Comfort, a tech start-up introducing new energy saving, low emissions air conditioning technology to Australia, Indonesia, Pakistan, and other countries with a large potential global market. His research on engineering practice helped define Engineers Australia professional competencies for chartered engineers. His book The Making of an Expert Engineer and advances in understanding how engineers contribute commercial value are influencing the future of engineering education in universities and workplaces. Another book, 30 Second Engineering , is helping to build greater awareness of the key importance of engineering and will reach a global audience. He is best known internationally for pioneering research that resulted in sheep shearing robots from 1975 till 1993 and for the first industrial robot that could be remotely operated via the internet in 1994. He received the leading international award for robotics research, equivalent to the Fields medal in mathematics. In 2018 he was awarded West Australian of the Year in the professions category in recognition of his achievements.