Ethical Issues in My Profession
The issue of ethics seems to constantly arise in a variety of professions almost on a daily basis. For each new product on the market, professionals need to meet certain ethical standards to ensure the safety of their products to everyone involved in the manufacturing, distribution, and consumption of these products.
For software engineers, a lot of ethical dilemmas arise when looking into big data which involves a great amount of information from users. With the recent Facebook incident involving data misuse, it is very important that when developing new systems and apps, engineers keep ethics in mind. At what point do you draw the line between what should be private versus public? At what cost are you willing to breech the confidence and trust of users? These are the kinds of questions we need to ask ourselves to ensure we are upholding our profession to high standards.
Educational Breadth as Professional Development
Each time we went on a company visit during this trip, I was constantly reminded of the importance of diversifying your knowledge sets. This immediately became evident to me because looking at a larger scope, no industry can survive on its own. If engineers were to build a new highly coveted device for example, they would still need several groups of professional to bring their product to life. They would need marketers, finance managers, logistic groups, and producers, just to name a few. If it is marketed incorrectly for example, no one would buy it no matter how cool it seemed. So, for me as an engineer, it is very important that though I may not be an expert in any of those fields, I have a good enough background to contribute and make wise choices in releasing products.
During the trip I also learned the importance of building relationships with people with other educational majors and backgrounds. These connections opened my mind and enlightened me on the importance of the various things that effect the economy, society, and thereby quality of life around the world. A businessman’s great knowledge on the concepts of supply and demand, the trade wars and so on will help me understand the society a bit more.
One major takeaway for me is that I have to broaden my scope. I have made a decision now to pursue a certificate in either Supply Chain Management or Innovation, Product Design, & Entrepreneurship. Hopefully through one of these, I will be able to supplement my knowledge in engineering with broader topics.
Lifelong Learning, Continuing Education as Professional Development
Back in high school, I would frequently complain to my dad about the amount of coursework (I had 12 courses at a time), and how I really needed a break from learning. He would always chuckle, much to my annoyance, and say “You’ll never stop learning”. He would give little anecdotes about how he still actively learns and has to keep up with changes in his field. He would talk about how I had exams to test my knowledge, but he had the trials of life to test his. I share this story because my experience on this trip has only solidified this truth: Learning is continuous.
As time goes on and the world becomes more and more advanced, there are countless things to learn and keep up with. Every day, new ways are being invented to simplify processes and improve the ways things are done. There is always something new to learn and it’s a concept I try to remain open to. It is really important that I never give up trying to better myself intellectually and professionally. With this open mindset, I will hopefully be able to keep up with changes in the world and in my profession as time goes on.
The Social Environment of Professional Life
During this trip, I learned that a lot of socializing is necessary in the professional world. First and foremost, I discovered that someone could have the most intelligent, groundbreaking innovation man has ever come across but if he/she is unable to articulate the importance and the ideas behind that innovation, it is as good as nothing. It is very crucial to learn communication skills and techniques to be able to explain to others all the complexities of your profession, keeping in mind that they may not have the same knowledge of common terms in your profession.
Through our presentations, I also learned that these skills also come in handy in marketing and advertising. It is really important to be able to persuasively share your ideas with the world.
In addition to these things, great social skills are needed to connect with others professional in your line of work. You will need to establish a good social-professional network that will enable you to ask inquisitive questions, contribute on teams, and share your ideas.
Functioning on Multi-Disciplinary Teams
Through this trip, I have learned the invaluable skill of working on a multi-disciplinary team. I’ve had a lot of experience with team work in the past year through the engineering curriculum, however, all those teams consisted purely of engineers, as expected. Even on those teams, things were not totally easy because even though we were all engineers, we were still all in different disciplines within engineering.
So, for Plus3, having a group consisting of engineers and business students was huge for me. It was a different experience talking about a concept and having to recall that not everyone had taken the class where that concept was taught. It was also a new experience being on the other hand and having to ask for clarifications on business topics. All in all, it was great because we all got to learn something about “the other side”.
This also made me think of how in the real professional world, I may not be on teams with only engineers and I will need to learn how to productively work with the team regardless. Although my team members and I never fought, if the occasion ever arose, I wouldn’t be able to storm off and say “Fine! I’ll just do it myself!” because chances are, I NEEDED their input for the topics that involved business topics and they would need my input for the engineering aspects. I learned how important active listening, humility, respect, and cooperation was on working on any team but specifically a multi-disciplinary team.