As technology continues to advance, many industries are experiencing major, critical changes. While many engineers and manufacturers fear for their jobs as machines become more automated and self-sufficient, job descriptions are merely evolving into more advanced, technology-driven work.
In a time of digitalization and “smart” machines taking over, engineers are faced with new challenges and trends to look out for that are changing the ways in which we view the industry. Here are three current trends that will shape the future of engineering:
A greater focus on sustainability.
Businesses are beginning to focus more on their environmental impact than ever before. To do this, companies are adopting sustainability into their business models. Sustainability focuses on reducing as much waste as possible by eliminating physical waste products and minimizing energy loss. With this practice in mind, manufacturers will produce products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impact while conserving energy and natural resources.
There are a number of reasons why companies would want to adopt a sustainable business model, including reducing overall costs and waste, boosting operations, increase a competitive advantage, reach new customers and build a brand reputation. For engineers, this means new environmentally conscious technology is in demand for development and implementation.
The continued development of artificial intelligence.
The introduction of artificial intelligence created a wave of emotions in the manufacturing industry. While it meant greater opportunities for production and performance, it also meant a lot of changes needed to be made in the job descriptions of manufacturers and engineers.
For engineers, AI combines both software and hardware components in developing more complex manufacturing capabilities. An important capability that AI promotes, especially for engineers, is machine learning. This technological concept focuses on studying exactly how machines learn and communicate. Advancing in this field will greatly impact the collection and use of data, which can easily be overlooked. With advancements in AI and the promotion of greater machine learning, data collection will become more accessible in the future, creating smarter manufacturing as a whole.
Advancements in IoT
The Internet of Things, or IoT, intelligently connects devices through a network to leverage and transfer data. For engineers, IoT is changing the future of their careers with new opportunities in hardware, software, mechanical engineering and manufacturing. It is projected that IoT will cause high-skill engineers to replace low-skill jobs to keep up with advancements and company demands. Since businesses are using IoT and connectivity as a method for boosting their overall performance, more engineering jobs will be created than ever before.
In the manufacturing industry, IoT will eliminate the need for individual machine maintenance and programming. Instead, one singular technology will control all equipment and connect data from all operations. This is beneficial because data collection is so crucial for any functioning company. Data can be used to analyze systems to find problem areas and eliminate any wasted time or material. This will maximize efficiency, productivity and sustainability. IoT is going to continue to transform the manufacturing industry and the engineering career path as it continues to advance and become more complex.
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