Engineering Students’ Perceptions of Soft Skills, Industry Expectations, and Career Aspirations

TitleEngineering Students’ Perceptions of Soft Skills, Industry Expectations, and Career Aspirations
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsItani, M, Srour, I
JournalJournal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice
Volume142
Issue1
Pagination04015005
Date Published2016
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsCAREER , ENGINEERING , Program , soft , student
AbstractBecause of globalization and the rapid advancement of technology, researchers and employers agree that the 21st-century engineer must have a set of skills (e.g., teamwork, communication, and management) that were not emphasized in the past. In response, many universities have started to implement program changes in order to graduate well-rounded engineers. As an attempt to assess the gap between what universities are exposing their engineering students to and the requirements of the industry, this paper examines the perceptions of a sample of engineering students about the importance of various soft skills and how well their universities have prepared them in gaining the associated abilities. Students were also surveyed about their career aspirations in an attempt to determine whether these aspirations affect their perceptions. The results revealed that, although the students showed a significant understanding of the importance of soft skills, some of these perceptions can be attributed to their career aspirations. This finding implies that universities need to play a stronger role in strengthening students’ nontechnical skills in specific areas such as oral communication skills. Read More: http://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/%28ASCE%29EI.1943-5541.0000247
DOI10.1061/(ASCE)EI.1943-5541.0000247
Full Text
Because of globalization and the rapid advancement of technology, researchers and employers agree that the 21st-century engineer must have a set of skills (e.g., teamwork, communication, and management) that were not emphasized in the past. In response, many universities have started to implement program changes in order to graduate well-rounded engineers. As an attempt to assess the gap between what universities are exposing their engineering students to and the requirements of the industry, this paper examines the perceptions of a sample of engineering students about the importance of various soft skills and how well their universities have prepared them in gaining the associated abilities. Students were also surveyed about their career aspirations in an attempt to determine whether these aspirations affect their perceptions. The results revealed that, although the students showed a significant understanding of the importance of soft skills, some of these perceptions can be attributed to their career aspirations. This finding implies that universities need to play a stronger role in strengthening students’ nontechnical skills in specific areas such as oral communication skills.

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