When I was a kid I remember being impressed by how quickly new technologies seemed to come about. To me, some new “modern” product seemed to come out every year. Of course a lot more was going on in the technology world beyond the eyes of a kid.
What I do remember most are things like the year my parents purchased a microwave oven, the year we got a VCR and especially the video game arcades that took in every quarter I could cash in a few Coke bottles to get. I’ll never forget the first time I got to play Pong on a neighbors Atari. Then of course there were digital cameras, my first home computer (a TI-99), a brick cellphone, the must-have Sony Walkman, and music CD’s.
I started my electronics design career at Harris Corporation in the mid 80’s; the projects we worked on were BIG and could span years. It was great to be a part of teams that were designing electronics for the B1 bomber, space shuttle, MICNS, and numerous other projects for the military, aerospace and information systems.
Believe it or not, in the mid-80’s there was still a combination of designing on the drafting table and using early CAD systems like Calma and Computervision, which limited how quickly design and engineering tasks could be accomplished. Innovation could certainly move faster in other industries like consumer electronics, of course, but there is no comparison to how quickly products are designed and brought to market today.
Fast forward to 2016: scientific and technological advancements are transforming our world faster than ever. Engineering education and advanced tools are empowering engineers from all industries to invent, develop, kick start, and even create new product categories at an unbelievable pace.
From think tanks to the Shark Tank, engineers are bringing technological creativity, innovation, and inventions to the world faster than ever. Instead of my “kid perspective” of noticing big new products every year, new products and advancements in today’s most popular products seem to bring something new to market nearly every week.
Engineers Week calls attention to the contributions that engineers make to society. It is also a time for engineers to emphasize the importance of learning math, science, and technical skills. I’d like to send a shout out to the public school systems that have set out to empower, educate, and improve competitiveness in science and technology development through providing academic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic) curriculum choices. I can’t help but look forward to what the next generations of engineers will come up with!
Thanks for reading,
What does engineers week mean to you?