After 2 weeks in a completely different culture I was able to learn several things through our cultural visits and company visits. Through discussions with these companies and the lectures, I was able to get a keen insight to my profession.
Whatever country you are in, companies will always have ethical issues to deal with. Since Plus3 Korea was about smart systems, we were able to see some companies that really highlighted my profession. One of the big issues comes with testing the new products. I was able to experience this during the trip to Samsung Biologics. Being an engineer we are constantly creating new things and this means testing has to occur. At Samsung Biologics, they create biological drugs. These drugs are created by finding a very specific compound in a living being. The issue then comes with the conditions these biological beings are needed to be in when extracting the specific compound that will become a drug. So the big ethical issue is testing with animals. The Chief Information Officer reassured us though that every process they go through follow strict standards of not just South Korea’s regulations, but the United States and the world’s regulation. Another big ethical issue with my profession, especially to computer engineering, is privacy dealing with technology. As a computer engineer I will be working mainly with technology and with it comes the privacy of the users information. There is that line with being able to use user’s information to give a better experience and tailor the experience for the user. But the user also has a right to his or her privacy. All these new online services have to some degree the ability to gather user information, but to make sure it is ethical, they all need to have the agreement of the user and can never do anything with this information that would breach the trust between the company and the user.
What additionally stood out for me was the breadth of knowledge that the employees had. Several had a major in one thing in undergraduate school and then learned something else at graduate school. I believe this highlights something very important in that having a breadth of knowledge is very important. It is important for all people to learn about several things to gain the most knowledgeable opinion. This is crucial for professional development as you will increase your effectiveness in the workplace. By maybe having engineering knowledge but also business knowledge you can make the most well-rounded decisions and be better in your profession. Through all the company visits we had the pleasure to visit many successful professionals, and all of them were not limited to one scope of education or major, but had branched out to learn more to become the successful worker they are now. This also ties in to lifelong learning and constant education.
To develop as a professional and as an engineer you need to be constantly learning. One reason for this is because of the continuous advancement in technology. As a computer engineer your field is always advancing and so you need to be constantly learning to stay up to date and be at the forefront of your profession. Trainor Korea utilizes the lifelong learning with their training courses by requiring continuous updated courses for people to keep their certificate. This is to make sure the people are always knowledgeable about new advancements in their field and how to stay safe. Continuing education is also important because it promotes an open mindset. By allowing yourself to always learn you keep an open mind. Being closed minded can be dangerous and can allow you as a worker to adamantly go down a wrong path when it comes to your job. Lifelong learning is important in this continuously advancing society and you want to go through your life with an open mind.
Being an engineer means constantly working on projects and constantly working with teams. This means I will have a very social environment in my professional life. Engineers work in teams when they design and solve problems. This is because being in a group allows for the most diverse and better ideas to be created. People act as check and balances and the diversity will promote better outcomes. One person working alone is limited by their knowledge while several can unlock a greater potential. I was lucky enough to see this social environments during our visit to Naver. Naver highlighted how with all their projects in advancing technology there is a group of people. Additionally, Naver gave me a glimpse of the life of computer engineering and I got to see the average age is relatively young. Since the field is always advancing it could be described as a young field and this shows with the average age. Even with visit the Seoul Global Startup Center I noticed most of the start ups on average included a team of young professionals.
Plus3 was an amazing experience that taught me a lot through the visits. It furthermore taught me through the people in my group. I was able to work in a multi-disciplinary team for the first time in college. The group of people who went to Korea was half business kids and half engineering kids. Through the two weeks I was able to learn the dynamics of a multi-disciplinary team and overall it is worth it in professional fields. The diverse opinions allows for the most well-rounded and best ideas. It is not always the best thing to have an engineer or a business major decided the fate of a product, but the teamwork between them is most successful. There of course will be difficulties as there always is when people with different opinions work together, but overall teams function the best when there is the multi-discipline that allows for better and more successful idea.
Plus3 Korea offered an impressive schedule that offered professional and life advice that will be invaluable in my upcoming career.