Dec. 12, 2018

A technological revolution is transforming engineering

Students need a digital and entrepreneurial mindset to succeed

Developing Calgary’s tech talent is critical for its economic future. That’s why the Schulich School of Engineering launched a new master’s program this year to help train existing engineers in advanced software engineering skills.

Within days of announcing the pilot this summer, the University of Calgary’s engineering faculty received hundreds of calls, emails and applications. When recruitment was suspended three weeks later, 60 students had enrolled in a one-year master’s program originally meant for 40.

The new masters of electrical and computer engineering with a focus on software engineering is the latest example of how Calgary’s engineering school is poised to help deliver the workforce Alberta needs, said Schulich School of Engineering Dean Bill Rosehart.

“We know we are living in a digital revolution that is influencing every single industry. The pace of knowledge development is growing at exponential rates and we need to prepare our students for careers that don’t even exist yet,” Rosehart added.

The new program’s early success was showcased as part of the engineering school’s 2018 progress report.

Entrepreneurial-thinking is the answer

 

Keeping ahead of a technological revolution means fostering an entrepreneurial mindset in students. Instead of training on specific programs or tools, we need to teach problem-solving and critical thinking skills so they can harness whatever technology has to offer, said Rosehart.

That’s why Schulich launched the Maker Multiplex – a basement design lab where students can build prototypes, test designs and grow problem-solving skills. The new space is a hub of student activity with its 40 high-end 3-D printers, soldering equipment, and techs to help guide in developing prototypes.

With over 25 per cent of the ventures to graduate from the first cohort of the Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies, there’s long been a connection between engineering and entrepreneurial-thinking.

“Engineering leaders spark new ideas and find solutions never before imagined,” said Rosehart. “By embracing entrepreneurial thinking, hands-on learning and a digital mindset, we’re preparing engineers to be the innovators and disrupters society needs.”