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Competencies for Professional Engineers


Discuss about the Communicative Competence Language Pedagogy.

In Australia, as well as many other countries in the world, engineers are expected to demonstrate high levels of competence before they are allowed to practice engineering. The competencies they are expected to fulfill are outlined in the Engineer Australia- Chartered Status Handbook (Canale, M, 2014). Professional engineers are expected to take responsibility for their projects and programs (. In order to enable the engineers to bring together technical and non-technical knowledge in the attempt to solve complex problems and manage risks, engineering competence plays a critical role in the process. Knowledge and Skills Base competence consist of, comprehensive, theory-based understanding of physical and natural disciplines related to the engineering field, conceptual understanding information sciences and numerical skills which reinforce the specific engineering discipline, in-depth understanding of specialist organs of the engineering practice, knowledge of engineering contextual factors impacting design practice of the discipline and perspicacity of information development and exploration guidelines within the specific engineering field.

The first element of knowledge and skill base competence is comprehensive, theory-based understanding of the underpinning physical and natural sciences and all the applicable fundamentals in that specific engineering discipline (LoBiondo-Wood, G., & Haber, J, 2017).  For an engineer to indicate that he/she has this competence they have engaged with the specific engineering discipline at a phenomenological level as well as apply engineering fundamentals and sciences to systematically investigate, analyze and innovate solutions to complex engineering problems and other aspects of engineering.

The other element is In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge in engineering. A competent engineer should adroitly apply advanced technical skills and knowledge in at least one engineering specialist domain (.De Los Ríos-Carmen and  Lopez,. ,2015)A competent engineer should, therefore, identify one field of engineering and specialize in it so that they can have a comprehensive understanding of all the principles governing that specific discipline.

Competent engineers should have the ability to apply all the technical and non-technical knowledge as well as all the engineering principles applicable in the specific engineering discipline (Saorín, J. L., & De La Torre-Cantero, J, 2017) . Engineering Application Ability has two main elements namely application of established engineering methods in solving complex problems and fluent application of engineering tools, techniques and resources.

An engineer can successfully demonstrate the application of established engineering ability through various activities.  The engineer should identify, characterize, predict performance, determine and analyze causes and effects and apply simplifying assumptions in developing sustainable conclusions (Takey, S. M., & de Carvalho, M. M., 2015). By diagnosing and taking the suitable strategies with data and documented information the engineer will ensure that all the project activities are based on fundamental engineering practices. The engineer should research methods and research-based knowledge to investigate complex problems, conceptualize all the alternative engineering approaches, and evaluate their potential outcomes in problem solving.

Elements of Knowledge and Skill Base Competence

An engineer should have the competence to proficiently identify, select and apply the components, materials, systems, resources and devices that are relevant to the specific engineering discipline. The engineer should also demonstrate the ability to determine engineering tool properties such as performance, safety working limits as well as failure modes (Li, Z. H. U., Junhua, S. H. I., & Xiaozhou, L. I. A. N., 2017). The engineer should also design and conduct experiments using the various appropriate tools and be able to analyze and interpret the results using the fundamental engineering criteria. Planning and quantifying performance for the full lifecycle of the project is also an ability that a qualified engineer should demonstrate as they try to solve engineering problems.

Professional and personal attribute competence is also a key element of any qualified engineer in Australia (Carter, D. Alcott, B., & Lattuca, 2016).  There are various elements of professional and personal competence namely, ethical behavior and personal responsibility, in effect written and oral communication in both formal and informal domain, innovative, creative and proactive demeanor, professional management and use of information, effective team contribution and leadership and finally orderly self-management and professional conduct

In order for an engineer to demonstrate personal accountability and ethical conduct, they must indicate the commitment to uphold the Engineers Australia- Code of Ethics in all their engineering projects (Lindberg, O., & Rantatalo, O., 2015). The engineer should observe of the established engineering norms in the specific engineering discipline. He should also understand the importance of certification and risk management mechanisms that are expected to be observed.  Accountability for other engineers and the safety of the environment is one of the personal attributes a competent engineer should demonstrate in the process of solving any problem. He should also have and demonstrate knowledge of fundamental principles in rights of property and protection.

A competent engineer in any engineering discipline in Australia should possess effective written and oral communication skills in both formal and informal domain (Canale, M. (2014). Effective communication is a critical tool for engineers to pass information about their project, coordinating the various activities involved and promote good relationships with other team members (Khairullina, E. R. & Masalimova, A. R, 2016). Good communication skills will also boost the engineer's ability to acquire relevant information in the field about their project.

USQ policies have been established to provide guidelines on the development of curriculums and facilitate proper learning and instill employability qualities and skills for bachelor degree students. Every USQ graduate is expected to exhibit several qualities and meet certain standards upon graduation (Kinash, S., & Dowling, D, 2015). The qualities of a USQ graduate consist of discipline expertise, professionalism, global citizenship, scholarship and lifelong learning. The graduates are trained to demonstrate and practice these qualities in various fields they trained in including the various engineering disciplines.

In-depth Understanding of Specialist Bodies of Knowledge in Engineering

In terms of professionalisms, the graduates should elaborately demonstrate the relevant skills required for the students to participate in their chosen working environment. They should observe the professional ethics governing their line of work (Gorodetskaya & Khramov, V. Y, 2015). Global citizenship requires the graduate to have the capability to connect the theory learnt in the discipline and practice to promote the sustainability of economies, environments and communities in a global point of view. Scholarship qualities require the graduate to have the urge and ability to make a scholarly contribution in their area of work and the society.  The university also expects that the graduates should pose lifelong autonomous learning skills upon graduation.

Engineering Australia is the national authority responsible for the accreditation of all engineering programs in Australia. The authority provides guidelines for engineering educators and curriculum developers to ensure the graduates have the required skills and knowledge for them to practice engineering in Australia (Meenakshi, S., & Mohanty, S. (2015). The accreditation criteria used by Engineers Australia are categorized into quality systems, the academic program and the operating environment.

According to Engineers Australia, the generic attributes of an engineering student include, underpinning knowledge of information systems, mathematics, physical sciences and engineering fundamentals suitable to the learning discipline. Secondly, the ability to apply the above to solve complex engineering and technology problems observation of all the engineering codes and risk management systems included. A specialization in at least one engineering discipline is one of the attributes. The other attribute is professional development such as effective communication, leadership skills, strong team culture and proper information management systems. Last but not least, application of engineering principles, ethics and responsibilities of practicing engineering.

The Engineers Australia generic attributes of engineer graduates are mainly the qualities that employers would desire to find in an engineering graduate in Australia. The attributes concentrate enhancing competence in the various engineering disciplines in the country (Thurner, Bottcher & Kamper, 2014). A graduate possessing these attributes will be competent enough to handle the complex engineering problems and promote the sustainability of communities and the world at large. Reflection on Researched Definitions of Hard and Soft Skills Desired by the Industry

The various skills possessed by graduates specifically engineering graduates can be categorized into hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills refer to all the teachable skill that can also be measured such as reading, typing and math while soft skills are not tangible and cannot be quantified easily (Ramadi, E., & Nasr, K., 2016). Soft skills include how a graduate can get along with others, etiquette and how they engage with other team members.  There are differences between these two categories of skills and it is a competent engineering graduate should possess and have the ability to demonstrate them in their various projects.

Engineering Application Ability

For an engineering graduate to be good at hard skills they require IQ or smarts whereas for soft skills all they require is EQ or let us say emotional intelligence.  The hard skills can be taught and learnt easily while the soft skills mainly depend on the personality of the individual (Thomas & Day, 2014). Soft skills such as stress management, etiquette and self-confidence depend on the emotional intelligence of the graduate. For hard skills, the rules stay constant even if one moves from one company to another while soft skills can change depending on the people we interact with and the company culture.  For instance, the procedures for doing calculus would not change if one moves from one company to another but the communication skills will have to be adjusted to some extent depending on the new audience and existing communication structures. Most of the soft skills cannot be learnt in school or from books but they are acquired through experience and trial and error methods.

Both the hard skills and soft skills are equally important for graduate engineers. The hard skills are an essential part of solving the complex engineering problems but the soft skills have to facilitate the problem-solving process (Holtkamp, Jokinen, & Pawlowski, 2015). Hard skills help engineering graduates to learn and apply the fundamental engineering principles to solve problems faced by the community and humanity at large. The engineering graduates are dealing with human beings, therefore, soft skills play a role in how they relate to others and this determines the success of their various projects.

By the end of the 21st century, the population of the world is predicted to be about 9.5 billion and many engineers are concerned that we are heading inexorably to a point where the earth natural resources will not be sufficient to sustain such a huge population. Population growth increases the pressure on food production, energy supply, land use, the environment, the climate and the infrastructure and this is a threat to the sustainability of humanity.

Many of these challenges can be overcome by successful application of existing engineering proficiency all over the world. This is according to a report published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). The demand for water is expected to increase by 30 % by the year 2100. Augmented automation, mechanization, and application of innovations can help remedy the situation. The project suggests building giant ponds to collect and hoard rainwater to reload underground aquifers (Hurst, A., Jobidon, E., & Bedi, S, 2016). The planet is covered with large water bodies and it would be ironical if water needs of the increased population cannot be met (Chen, Sivakumar & Peart, 2016). The project suggests that engineers should use developments in desalination technology to boost the utilization of the water covering the earth surface. The technology can be used to refine the water and make it fit for human consumption and that will make the population sustainable in terms of water needs. The effectiveness of Our Team in Developing and Sharing Researched Information for Our Project

Professional and Personal Attribute Competence

Population growth has been a key concern for engineers all over the world with the rapidly increasing growth rates and it is therefore important to conduct thorough research on the topic and share the information developed in the research. Teamwork is important since it brings together a range of knowledge and skills for the common good of solving complex engineering problems. The contribution of every team member is important in ensuring the project objectives are met (Zamyatina & Mozgaleva, 2014). Our team was well coordinated in obtaining information from various sources and good communication skills enabled an efficient sharing of the information to all our team members. The project can only be a success with the collective contribution of the team members and as it is required for engineering graduates to demonstrate a strong team culture in their working environment.


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Chen, J., Shi, H., Sivakumar, B., & Peart, M. R. (2016). Locations of future dams for supporting future population growth and the demand increase of water, food, and energy. In Annual Meeting of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society, AOGS 2016.

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Qualities of a USQ Graduate

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