An Engineering Career : Only A Young Person 's Game?

886 Words4 Pages
When reading “An Engineering Career: Only a Young Person’s Game?” by Robert N. Charette, we are able to grasp the meaning behind the half-life engineering knowledge and how it affects the general engineer in the workplace. Charette also provides other articles that will give tips on how to use lifelong learning to counter the effect of becoming obsolete in your knowledge. Charette starts off by explaining how any engineer or computer professional is in the process of becoming obsolete, or out of date. Fritz Machlup is the owner behind the expression “half-life of knowledge” and he describes it as the time it takes for half of a person’s knowledge to become superseded. The half-life of knowledge has been steadily decreasing; 35 years in 1920 to 10 years in 1960, in 2008 the half-life of knowledge was said to be less than 5 years. I looked up another article by Kubel, Ed, Jr called “Engineering Knowledge has 2-8 Year Half-Life”, and in this article Kubel goes into further detail about how quickly technology and the requirements for different companies are changing in order to keep their product up to date and to “optimize manufacturing processes”. Kubel states the time it takes for an engineer, on average, to lose half the knowledge that they’ve acquired is around 2 to 8 years. Kubel agrees that it is crucial to continue the learning process in order to postpone the escaping of knowledge that will happen over time. Thomas Jones, IEEE Fellow and President of the University of South Carolina, wrote a paper called “The Dollars and Cents of Continuing Education”. In this paper, he was able to calculate what a person would need to do in order to refrain from being obsolete. Charette wrote, “ Jones postulated that a typical undergradua... ... middle of paper ... ...n about how to look younger than you are. Some of the suggested things were to remove your wristwatch, use Apple or Android products instead of Blackberries, dress in more “modern” clothing, and some even went as far to get eyelid surgery in order to look younger. According to all these different articles that Charette provided; being obsolete is inevitable. However, by keeping up with your studies, and keeping up to date on the current knowledge, it is easy to postpone the inevitable. Studying multiple hours every day just learning new skills and new technology will help keep you from being obsolete too quickly. However, if you get to the point where you are too old to work, and are being pushed out of your job, just do what Adams did in “Special Report: Silicon Valley 's Dirty Secret - Age Bias” and cut your hair and change your clothes in order to look younger.
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