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The new financial year has begun, and now is the time to boost your skills, further your career and take charge of your professional development. Easy said!

In a competitive market such as engineering, there’s a lot of unprecedented change and uncertainty. With that comes pressure to stand out from the crowd, to show initiative and to broaden your experience. CPD, or continuing professional development, is an ongoing process which never seems to end throughout your professional career. It’s one of those things that most of us are aware of, but never really invest in as often as we’d like to, both from a cost and time perspective.

In today’s competitive market, keeping work skills up-to-date and continuously advancing your professional development is crucial in maintaining a competitive edge. Here’s why:

  • it helps you to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of processes, technology and legislation
  • it ensures you stay on top of current methods, rules and innovation
  • it positions you as an indispensable member of project teams
  • it gives you greater levels of agility from which to move into different areas as market needs change
  • it gives you skills in areas which may not be covered at university; such as business management, project management, workplace communication, client relationship building and cultural awareness

Continuing professional development should be engaging and fun, however sometimes it’s difficult to find a relevant course that fits in with your other obligations.

Engineering Education Australia (EEA) offers flexible learning options, making it more manageable for those who work full-time. Below are some of the courses on offer:

Project Management: in partnership with an engineering faculty from a leading university in Melbourne, this Australian-first, nationally-accredited project management course is designed specifically for engineers and related professionals.

Technical Engineering: designed and delivered with an interactive learning approach, this technical engineering courses is facilitated by industry experts and leading engineering professionals.

Business and Leadership: designed and delivered by industry experts, the business and leadership courses provide interactive case studies to ensure you get the most out of your learning. Courses include key topics such as: Contract Management, Influencing and Negotiation Skills and developing skills to Write a Winning Technical Document.


Originally published by Engineering Education Australia.

Modern engineering graduates not only have to navigate the technical challenges of their new found roles in engineering, but also the difficulties of working in professional environments.

While many graduates are armed with the technical skills from their years of training and study, there isn’t a lot that prepares them for navigating the workplace, building a brand or even communicating effectively.

Chris Davis is Engineers Australia’s Digital Content Manager. As part of his role, he understands the pain points for engineers. To give graduates a head start, Chris has compiled a list of must-have skills for graduates joining the workforce.

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Opinion Piece 

At a recent career fair, I realised that doing well on test after test doesn’t impress employers – proof of applying knowledge to real-world problems does. So why don’t my engineering courses reflect this reality?

Out of all the countless circuit designs and calculus equations that I came across this year during my engineering courses, the things that stood out most in my mind were two projects: simulating a 16-bit processor and creating a pulse oximeter.

These projects were done in pairs, and the six weeks doing these were more memorable than the rest of the other 34 weeks combined. Despite being the weaker of the partners in both these projects, being able to see concepts such as high pass filters, amplifiers and bus signals in action completely transformed my mind.

However, I had a major issue with these projects: these were time-consuming, in-depth projects, yet they represented a small proportion of my final grade. This might help an individual like me, who is better at the theoretical side of engineering and can handle exams that are worth 70 per cent of the final grade. But innovativeness and creativity – key attributes to a STEM-based economy – are not rewarded if projects are not weighted appropriately when it comes to final grades.

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Starting a business isn’t for everyone, but it seems to be an increasingly popular choice for young Australians.

Maybe you could put it down to things like high-profile, hyper-successful young role models (think of Mark Zuckerberg or the Atlassian founders), the fairly recent option of crowdfunding an idea, or the feeling that the workforce is changing so quickly it might be easier to make rather than find your next job.

Whatever the case actually is, starting a business appears to be more popular among young people than ever. A GMA global survey from last year of 15,000 prospective MBA students found 28 percent wanting to be entrepreneurs after finishing (up from 19 percent in 2010). According to the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), 40 percent of its students want an entrepreneurial component to their degrees.

Most graduates have gone through their education aiming to get a job working for someone else, said Dr Jochen Schweitzer, Director of UTS’s new MBA Entrepreneurship (MBAe) program. However, he believes that’s changing, suggesting that the generations coming through will see things differently.

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The field of robotics is accelerating at an increasingly rapid rate and is showing no signs of slowing down. But there remain some significant robotics challenges standing between us and real progress.
Recently, a team from the journal Science Robotics conducted an open online survey to better understand some of the major unsolved robotics challenges – aka what keeps roboticists up at night?

Following the survey, they created a panel of 10 experts who shortlisted the 30 most important topics and research directions. These were then grouped into 10 major robotics challenges that “might have major breakthroughs, significant research, and/or socioeconomic impact in the next five to 10 years”.

Many of these challenges build on each other and require collaboration and innovation to solve them. But the benefits are manifold, as these challenges – and resulting solutions – will transform almost every facet of our lives in the decade, from medical care to exploration to offices.

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