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Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering, 3rd Edition



Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering, 3rd Edition

Stuart G. Walesh

ISBN: 978-0-470-90044-4 March 2012 504 Pages


Round out your technical engineering abilities with the business know-how you need to succeed

Technical competency, the "hard side" of engineering and other technical professions, is necessary but not sufficient for success in business. Young engineers must also develop nontechnical or "soft-side" competencies like communication, marketing, ethics, business accounting, and law and management in order to fully realize their potential in the workplace.

This updated edition of Engineering Your Future is the go-to resource on the nontechnical aspects of professional practice for engineering students and young technical professionals alike. The content is explicitly linked to current efforts in the reform of engineering education including ABET's Engineering Criteria 2000, ASCE's Body of Knowledge, and those being undertaken by AAEE, AIChE and ASME. The book treats essential nontechnical topics you'll encounter in your career, like self-management, interpersonal relationships, teamwork, project and total quality management, design, construction, manufacturing, engineering economics, organizational structures, business accounting, and much more. Features new to this revised edition include:

  • A stronger emphasis on management and leadership

  • A focus on personal growth and developing relationships

  • Expanded treatment of project management

  • Coverage of how to develop a quality culture and ways to encourage creative and innovative thinking

  • A discussion of how the results of design, the root of engineering, come to fruition in constructing and manufacturing, the fruit of engineering

  • New information on accounting principles that can be used in your career-long financial planning

  • An in-depth treatment of how engineering students and young practitioners can and should anticipate, participate in, and ultimately effect change

If you're a student or young practitioner starting your engineering career, Engineering Your Future is essential reading.

Related Resources

Preface to the Third Edition xix

Acknowledgments xxvii

List of Abbreviations xxix

Chapter 1 Introduction: Engineering and the Engineer 1

The Playing Field 1

Definitions of Engineering 3

The Seven Qualities of Effective Leaders 8

The Engineer as Builder 19

Concluding Thoughts: Common Sense, Common Practice, and Good Habits 20

Cited Sources 22

Annotated Bibliography 23

Exercises 24

Chapter 2 Leading and Managing: Getting Your Personal House in Order 27

Start with You 27

Employment or Graduate School? 46

The New Work Environment: Culture Shock? 49

The First Few Months of Practice: Make or Break Time 51

Managing Personal Professional Assets: Building Individual Equity 59

Concluding Thoughts: Getting Your Personal House in Order 67

Cited Sources 68

Annotated Bibliography 69

Exercises 70

Chapter 3 Communicating to Make Things Happen 73

Five Forms of Communication 73

Three Distinctions between Writing and Speaking 75

Listening: Using Ears and Eyes 77

Writing Tips: How to Write to Make Things Happen 80

Speaking Tips: How to Speak to Make Things Happen 97

Concluding Thoughts about Writing and Speaking 118

Cited Sources 118

Annotated Bibliography 120

Exercises 121

Chapter 4 Developing Relationships 123

Taking the Next Career Step 123

Personality Profiles 124

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 125

Theories X and Y 127

Delegation: Why Put Off Until Tomorrow What Someone Else Can Do Today? 129

Orchestrating Meetings 135

Working with Technologists, Technicians, and Other Team Members 145

Selecting Co-Workers and “Managing Your Boss” 150

Caring Isn’t Coddling 151

Coaching 152

Teamwork 153

Effective Professional Meeting and Conference Attendance 158

Concluding Thoughts about Developing Relationships 163

Cited Sources 164

Annotated Bibliography 165

Exercises 166

Chapter 5 Project Management: Planning, Executing, and Closing 167

Project Broadly Defined 167

Project Management Defined 168

The Centrality of Project Management 169

Relevance of Project Management to the Student and Entry-Level Technical Person 172

Planning the Project 173

Executing the Project 188

Closing the Project 190

Closure: Common Sense and Self Discipline 192

Cited Sources 192

Annotated Bibliography 193

Exercises 194

Chapter 6 Project Management: Critical Path Method and Scope Creep 195

This Chapter Relative to the Preceding Chapter 195

The Critical Path Method 196

Scope Creep 210

Cited Sources 227

Annotated Bibliography 228

Exercises 228

Chapter 7 Quality: What Is It and How Do We Achieve It? 231

Everyone Is for It! 231

Quality Defined 232

A Caution for Engineers and Other Technical Personnel 235

Quality Control and Quality Assurance 236

Suggestions for Developing a Quality Seeking Culture 237

Tools and Techniques for Stimulating Creative and Innovative Thinking 250

Closure: Commit to Quality 264

Cited Sources 264

Annotated Bibliography 266

Exercises 267

Chapter 8 Design: To Engineer Is to Create 269

The Root of Engineering 269

This Chapter’s Approach 270

Design in the Context of Major Engineering Functions 271

The Disproportionate Impact of the Design Function 274

Design in Terms of Deliverables 274

Design as Risky Business 278

Design as a Personally-Satisfying and People-Serving Process 279

The Words “Engineer” and “Create” 280

Closing Thoughts About Design 281

Cited Sources 281

Annotated Bibliography 282

Exercises 282

Chapter 9 Building: Constructing and Manufacturing 283

The Engineer as Builder 283

Constructing 285

Manufacturing 290

Differences between Constructing and Manufacturing 294

Closing Thoughts about Constructing and Manufacturing 294

Cited Sources 295

Annotated Bibliography 295

Exercises 296

Chapter 10 Basic Accounting: Tracking the Past and Planning the Future 299

Relevance of Accounting to the Engineer 299

The Balance Sheet: How Much Is It Worth? 300

The Income Statement: Inflow and Outflow 304

Personal Income Statement 305

Business Income Statement 306

Relationship between the Balance Sheet and the Income Statement 308

Accounting for Your Future 309

The Impact of Time Utilization Rate and Expense Ratio on Profitability in the Consulting Business 314

The Multiplier 319

The Income Statement as Part of the Business Plan for a Consulting Firm 320

Project Overruns: Implications for Profitability and Personnel 321

Concluding Thoughts about You and Accounting 324

Cited Sources 324

Annotated Bibliography 325

Exercises 325

Chapter 11 Legal Framework 329

Why Law for Engineers? 329

Legal Terminology 332

Changing Attitudes: Forewarned is Forearmed 334

Liability: Incurring It 334

Liability: Failures and Learning from Them 336

Liability: Minimizing It 339

Maintaining Perspective on Liability Minimization 344

Legal Forms of Business Ownership 344

Concluding Comments about the Legal Framework 347

Cited Sources 347

Annotated Bibliography 349

Exercises 349

Chapter 12 Ethics: Dealing with Dilemmas 353

Inevitable Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions 353

Defining Ethics 355

Teaching and Learning Ethics 356

Legal and Ethical Domain 359

Codes of Ethics 362

Dealing with Ethical Dilemmas: Using Codes and Other Resources 370

Ethics Codes 371

Case Study: Discovering a Major Design Error after Construction Is Complete 374

Concluding Thoughts: Seeing Sermons 376

Cited Sources 377

Annotated Bibliography 378

Exercises 379

Chapter 13 Role and Selection of Consultants 381

Consultant Defined and Why You Should Care 381

Why Retain a Consultant? Let’s Do It Ourselves! 383

Characteristics of Successful Consultants 385

Consultant Selection Process 387

Price-Based Selection: Three Costs to the Consultant 397

Conclusions about the Role and Selection of Consultants 400

Cited Sources 401

Annotated Bibliography 401

Exercises 402

Chapter 14 Marketing: A Mutually-Beneficial Process 403

Consider Your View of Marketing: Are You Carrying Some Baggage? 403

Chapter’s Scope 404

The Economic Motivation for Marketing Professional

Services 405

Marketing and Selling: Different but Related 406

Marketing Techniques and Tools 412

What Works and What Doesn’t Work 426

Marketing Concluding Comments 427

Cited Sources 428

Annotated Bibliography 429

Exercises 429

Chapter 15 The Future and You 431

What Does the Future Hold? 431

The World You Will Work In: Same Role but New Stage 432

How to Lead Change 438

Concluding Thoughts about You and the Future 451

Cited Sources 452

Annotated Bibliography 453

Exercises 454

Appendix A: Engineering your Future Supports ABET Basic Level Criterion 3 455

Appendix B: Engineering Your Future Supports ABET Program Criteria for Civil and Similarly-Named Engineering Programs 457

Appendix C: Engineering Your Future Supports the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge 459

Index 461

About the Author 469