on August 12th, 2020

Lifelong learning is imperative for an engineer. Sometimes it is thought of as an informal process consisting of collecting small skills after university graduation and applying them to whatever the engineer's daily tasks are. While that may be true, continued professional development within the industry you are working in is crucial too.

In an ever-changing world transformed by technology, there are vital skills to amass in a way that complements your career and employability as technology continues to reshape the industry. Luckily for the full-time employed engineering professional, upskilling can be done swiftly. The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) provides intensive three-month Professional Certificates for professionals in engineering fields. The best part is that the short courses can be completed online and part-time through EIT's unique delivery model. This allows students to continue to grow their engineering skill-sets and develop their careers.

EIT is aware of the constant advancement and rapid automating of industry and is continuously upskilling engineers to meet the requirements of these ongoing developments. Companies that engineering professionals may have been working all their careers for have likely begun automating portions of the business. As a consequence, those engineers require a crash-course in automation. EIT recently hosted a webinar to introduce keen lifelong-learners and industry professionals with some options in the continued professional development realm.

Dr. Akhlaqur Rahman, a specialist within the Electrical and Mechatronics fields who is based on EIT's Melbourne campus, outlined what the institute offers and what value upskilling and future-proofing skills can have for a professional in the engineering industry. EIT's professional development courses are set up in a way that reflects the engineering industry's current needs; of skilled professionals with up-to-date theoretical knowledge.

"Professionals need to keep up to date with the changes that are constantly happening in industry. With the arrival of the age of the internet, everything is moving at such a fast pace. Even if you've got a degree, in five years, there will be something new you need to know in the industry. That is where the professional certificate comes in. We help you rapidly come to grips with what knowledge and skills the industry requires today," said Dr. Rahman.

The advent of the internet and the arrival of industrial automation saw the implementation of concepts that were once foreign and rarely found in historical engineering programs. This has led to already experienced engineers seeing the need to sharpen their skills to keep up with these developments. EIT is constantly working to reach some of the corners of the newer engineering world. The content and theoretical knowledge of the new-school is what professionals may be lacking.

"If you are hoping to go into an industry but only have 50% of the skill-set from a previous degree and you require the other 50% in an unfamiliar role, you need to update your skills. Through EIT's integrated learning approach, you can get that other 50% so that you can not only be exposed to the new concepts in an industry you are venturing into, but also shine in that role," Dr. Rahman explained.

While some professionals may feel like they have been dropped in the deep end of the new concepts in engineering, they should not fret. EIT has a network of 300 lecturers with substantial industry experience. Plus, even before the coronavirus pandemic converted traditional class-based lecturers into online lecturers, EIT's lecturers have cultivated the synchronous online engineering education system for more than a decade.

"EIT is not limited to the lecturer's location. We have highly qualified and experienced instructors really from anywhere in the world. They can share their knowledge and their skills with students equally right around the world. It's important to note that our lecturers are not just qualified; they have extensive experience in the industry as well," said Paul Celenza, the College Manager at EIT.

EIT delivers over 25 Professional Certificate Courses spread across the various engineering disciplines. The courses are three months in duration but designed to fit around the schedules of the attending professionals — factoring in the time zones of students around the world. In five to eight hours per week, professionals can grow and recalibrate their knowledge to the many facets of the industry they are currently working in, or a field they are looking to journey into. The academic benefit for professionals enrolled in the courses is that they combine a unique approach to both theoretical and practical studies.

"EIT utilizes virtual and remote labs — the latter with real engineering tech connected to the internet, ready for engineers to manipulate. We want to give you industry-standard access to software. Students can complete practical exercises using the combination of remote and virtual labs. You are getting industrial environments simulated in the labs. Students have reported that they felt like they were physically in the lab when using it — the simulations to them felt real," Dr. Rahman concluded.

Equipped with a Professional Certificate of Competency short course from EIT, professionals will have increased job satisfaction along with the expansion of knowledge within their field.

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