How do engineers perceive, assess and maintain their competence when almost everything they know keeps changing?

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 92, No. 1031, 1999

M. Matthias, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Mississauga, Ontario

A study, part of a doctoral dissertation (Matthias, 1991), was conducted during 1987 and 1988 to establish the means by which professionals assess and maintain their competence during the various stages of their careers. The study elicited responses from fifty-nine subjects representing engineering, pharmacy and medicine (twenty subjects from engineering, nineteen from pharmacy and twenty from medicine) on their perception and assessment of continuing competence. The findings revealed a wide variation of how professionals perceived their continuing competence and the means they adopted to keep current. The implications of the study are significant for adult education practice and theory building. The author strongly believes that now, more than ever, engineers must take ownership of their careers and professional development activities. While management and supervision have a key role to play, it is the engineer, who is ultimately responsible for the scope, planning and implementation of her/ his professional development needs. An example from one high technology company will illustrate these po
Keywords: Human resources, Education.