If you’re a young engineer, you'll have to come to grips with one undeniable fact: globalization will affect how and where you work.
In 1995, nearly 40 percent of the world's engineering work hours were based in the United States. By 2010, only 10 percent of engineering work was performed stateside. Companies are moving jobs and their R&D efforts to China, India and other countries where they can find qualified engineers at a reduced cost.
The reason is simple: products are becoming increasingly more complex, calling for multiple disciplines. Tech-savvy countries like China, India, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea have been investing heavily in engineering and science education. As an engineer, you’ll have to compete with--and work along side--fiercely competitive and talented engineers in these countries. That means, to survive, you’ll need to embrace a more global view of engineering.
Tomorrow’s engineers will need to be multilingual, multicultural and multinational. That means, in addition to technical competence, you’ll need to understand innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as faster product development cycles and how to integrate diverse systems. Your new worldview will have to include ways to effectively work with other cultures.
You may even have to learn another language and spend some time in other countries. You’ll become a “passport engineer,” racking up frequent flier miles as you wok with talent on the other side of the world. You may grow to like working in other countries and decide to live there. Yes, you'll probably earn less money, but the cost of living will be far lower in most cases. And you’ll have access to increasing pools of talented colleagues and ever-expanding silos of information as these hotbed-engineering countries continue to grow technologically.
For an added perspective, check out this video:
Got any thoughts on how globalization will affect today’s engineers? Include them in the comments section below.
Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.