5 Reasons for Engineering Continuing Education

In modern engineering, continuing education is a vital move. Like many other technical professions, the nature of engineering has been changing drastically as new techniques and new methodologies take over the profession. There are good business reasons for continuing education, too. Competition for contracts is fierce, and the bar is constantly being raised for engineers as new graduates come into the employment market.

Whatever form of engineering you're in, mechanical, construction, aerospace, IT, or others, the fact is that the job market is now driven by emerging commercial applications in the field. It's quite common for engineers to find that their ten year old qualifications are out of date in various areas. Continuing education is becoming as necessary as currency of experience in terms of employment.

Good reasons for continuing education

The practical reasons for a continuing education are overwhelming:

Retraining: The retraining scenario is a tough road for people in professions like engineering. It's time consuming, it's after the event, and it requires a period while your career is on hold.

Access and support: Continuing education provides access to skills required for new job opportunities, and more importantly, a support mechanism to deal with any requirements of new jobs. The fact is that as the jobs change, the professions change, and so do career paths. Engineers, who have to deal with a series of moving targets in terms of jobs and skill requirements, need to be able to maneuver their career tracks and qualifications to match the market.

Career advancement: Another major issue for engineers is that career advancement in their fields can be like rock climbing. They need to get secure footings in qualifications to move at all. Skills in the engineering fields come in degrees of difficulty, and in many cases you need a virtual pedigree of prerequisite qualifications to do the more advanced work. Continuing education allows that, and it can also provide excellent, up to the minute, advice about training in new areas.

Viability: Most people can't drop everything and do full time professional qualifications on a needs basis. Trying to do that as a "catch up" in a career is even less likely to be workable. Continuing education allows a realistic approach. You can structure your qualifications and do some fine tuning of your education at the same time.

Integrated studies: Anyone who's ever tried doing "occasional training", tacking on short courses and the odd qualification to a professional degree, will know that doesn't work very well. Refreshers and upgrades do have important uses, but they tend to be undertaken after the problem of outdated skills has become an issue. That's a very long way short of the standards of continuing education in terms of postgraduate standards. Integrated studies allow a holistic improvement and development of skills.

Managing commitments: Continuing education is a more rounded, more efficient, and definitely less stop/start approach to personal, training and financial commitments. The usual obstacle to further training is "other commitments" and continuing education provides a good, stable method of managing your life and your professional needs.