Survey analysis of engineering graduate students' perceptions of the skills necessary for career success in industry and academia

Catherine G P. Berdanier, Sara E. Branch, Jeremi S. London, Benjamin Ahn, Monica Farmer Cox

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    4 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    The current research explores doctoral students' perspectives on the skills that are essential to career success as an engineering Ph.D. Past research has explored essential skills for engineering Ph.D.- holders, primarily using reports and ratings from those who have earned a Ph.D. in engineering and are currently working in industry or academia. This body of work has been influential in determining what faculty members believe are the skills that graduate students should develop during their educational training. However, graduate students' willingness to participate in opportunities to develop those skills is likely to depend on what skills they perceive as essential to their career success and important for them to develop during graduate studies. The current study builds on prior work (Authors, 2011): Using coded interview responses from 40 engineering Ph.D. professionals working in either industry or academia, the researchers designed a survey to explore what skills graduate engineering students believe are necessary for career success and to what degree they believe those skills should be developed during their graduate training. The initial survey included 91 items. For each item, participants indicated 1) the degree to which they believed the listed skill was important to their future successful job performance and 2) how well their Ph.D. program had prepared them in that area. This paper describes the trends that resulted from analyzing participants' responses to the survey items and identifies the skills that graduate students perceive as most important to their future career success. The findings of this study will be used to assess agreement between graduate students and engineering professionals regarding what skills are necessary for future careers. This research has practical implications for curricular improvements in doctoral engineering education and can be used to modify courses and methods of instruction to help students recognize and build the skills essential for career success.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
    Event121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education - Indianapolis, IN, United States
    Duration: Jun 15 2014Jun 18 2014

    Other

    Other121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education
    CountryUnited States
    CityIndianapolis, IN
    Period6/15/146/18/14

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Engineering(all)

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  • Cite this

    Berdanier, C. G. P., Branch, S. E., London, J. S., Ahn, B., & Cox, M. F. (2014). Survey analysis of engineering graduate students' perceptions of the skills necessary for career success in industry and academia. Paper presented at 121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education, Indianapolis, IN, United States.