The Engineer of 2020

Source: National Academy of Engineering


What attributes will the engineer of 2020 have?

Given the uncertain and changing character of the world in which 2020 engineers will work, engineers will need something that cannot be described in a single word. It involves dynamism, agility, resilience, and flexibility. Not only will technology change quickly, the social-political-economic world in which engineers work will change continuously. In this context it will not be this or that particular knowledge that engineers will need but rather the ability to learn new things quickly and the ability to apply knowledge to new problems and new contexts.

Encompassed in this is the imperative for engineers to be lifelong learners. They will need this not only because technology will change quickly, but also because the career trajectories of engineers will take on many more directions—directions that include different parts of the world and different types of challenges and that engage different types of peoples and objectives….

What attributes will the engineer of 2000 have? He or she will aspire to have the ingenuity of Lillian Gilbreth, the problem-solving capabilities of Gordon Moore, the scientific insight of Albert Einstein, the creativity of Pablo Picasso, the determination of the Wright brothers, the leadership abilities of Bill Gates, the conscience of Eleanor Roosevelt, the vision of Martin Luther King, and the curiosity and wonder of our grandchildren.

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