Whilst optimized curriculum vitae look good, professional licensing also speaks volumes to employers. But is the professional engineering status necessary? Can you call yourself an engineer without the formal designation of Professional Engineer?
In the fourth industrial revolution, with automation replacing many repetitive roles, a more fluid and dynamic set of engineering skills may be necessary. The future is very likely to require engineers to amass as many skills as possible.
To be employable practical skill and theoretical knowledge are a powerful combination. A qualification is highly valued and certainly makes finding a job that much easier. But a qualified individual with relevant experience is likely to be best placed to win a sought-after job.
There is also a notion of professionalism in the engineering industry. The question is: what truly makes an engineer an engineer? The job title is thrown around casually in some countries. In others the engineer is only recognized by prescribed professional status.
Should you get your PE status?
A common question among wannabe engineers is whether or not getting the formal credentials is necessary. In some states in the US, for example, it is illegal to call yourself an engineer if you do not have the Professional Engineering (PE) status.
A forum chat amongst the engineers on social media site Reddit discussed PE status. A question about getting PE status in the aerospace industry was posed. A user named Red_Eye responded to the question, saying:
“PE in aerospace industry here. Will it benefit you on paper in any way? Not directly. Companies like Lockheed are structured in such a way that your pay and promotions are based on years of experience, and nothing more. I will say, however, that it may increase your prestige and level of responsibility, thus increasing your job satisfaction. Eventually, you can use this to leverage a pay increase.”
Experience, on the other hand, is not being questioned; it is highly valued by industry. Unfortunately, students straight from university are not adequately equipped for the workplace so are often overlooked by experienced candidates and can struggle to secure work.
How the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) does it
EIT provides education and training options and pathways that can be acquired alongside full time work. Their live, online platform of learning enables this. EIT ensures all programs are driven by the skills required by industry which in turn are presented to students by industry experts.
Through a flexible, yet intensive system of education EIT qualifies individuals as technicians, technologists and engineers, whereafter graduates can apply for professional status in their own countries.
The Dean of Engineering at the Engineering Institute of Technology, Steve Mackay, highlights that the workplace for an engineer is vastly different to thirty years ago. And he feels that this is the same with tertiary education. Instead of attending a class on campus, engineers can now become qualified whilst earning money and gaining experience on the job.
An added bonus is that this often makes the process of study much more meaningful.
Each person’s career path is unique, but some things have become clear: we all need to remain nimble and do our best to remain at the forefront of changes in technology. We also need to avoid lengthy stints in positions which may become hollowed out by automation.
“Does Having a Professional Engineering (PE) License Benefit You in Anyway If Your Working for the Aerospace Industry like Lockheed Martin? • r/AskEngineers.” Reddit, www.reddit.com/r/AskEngineers/comments/64heyg/does_having_a_professional_engineering_pe_license/.