For an upcoming Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP) Career Corner column, I'd love to hear from you:
o What are you doing adapt to the changes in your field?
o Have your efforts to stay up-to-date had a positive or negative impact on your career? Why?
o What advice would you give others about continuous learning?
When you comment, please include your full name, city & state in your post - so that I can quote you in the article.
For a lot my technological needs, I have found specific MOOCs classes extremely helpful in my current needs in specific algorithms and big data applications. I also have found Medical Statistics and some medical overview classes to be good refreshers as well.
One way I keep my skills up-to-date is by being the trainer. A very effective way to learn a topic quickly is to conduct a training on it. Writing an article about a topic is a similar way to stay on top of a subject. Another way is by networking with both experts and the end users. This can be done at trade shows, company meetings, site visits, and professional social media. Lastly, learn by giving. Give of your talents and knowledge to your colleagues freely (or as freely as your business model would dictate). Become the "Technical Resource" that others go to when they have a question or need help. Just knowing the expectation that others have of your abilities is a real motivator to stay on top. James McDonald, Dayton, Ohio
In my opinion, learning is an endless activity. There are more things that must be learned after graduating the university if we want to survive and flourish in our career. So far, what I do as a chemical (process) engineer: (1) Read chemical-engineering related magazines. (2) Joining a group of some topics that I like in Linkedin. (3) Having discussion from senior engineers. (4) Read the global news, in order to get some ideas about what is going on and how it will affect your future. Santi, The Netherlands
Thanks everyone, for your comments. I think you raise some excellent points about learning being a ongoing endeavor. I'm also a big believer in teaching as a way to learn more. I know I have to really brush up on a topic if I have to stand up in front of an audience (or present a webinar) and sound like I know what I'm talking about! Great idea also to become known as the Technical Resource - you become like a central clearinghouse for all information related to a certain topic.
Lots of good points here, continuing education is expected for life to maintain professional licensure. Not many Chemical Engineers get their PE certification as we often operate within industry exemption in many (most?) states. Eleven years after graduation I took the exam for the PE license. I studied my head off for 110 nights to prepare. I felt like I had to re-learn the whole ChE curriculum again but I succeeded on the first attempt. It was a great refresher and the licensure cannot hurt my career. I like having the extra impetus to earn/maintain Professional Development Hours.