Report: Continuing education key to success in engineering field

Penn State responds to needs with online master's degree in systems engineering

University Park, Pa — According to the latest job outlook by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), engineers must continue their education to keep up with the latest advancements and technologies in their fields. In an effort to help busy engineers continue their education without interrupting their careers, Penn State's World Campus, a unit of Outreach, is now accepting applications for a new online Master in Systems Engineering.

Craig Weidemann, vice president of Outreach, said that the online master's program in systems engineering was developed to suit the lives of adult and nontraditional students. "Technology advances at such a rapid rate that engineers need to replenish their technical knowledge before it becomes outdated," Weidemann said. "What they need are educational opportunities that allow them to remain in their fields while they learn new information through programs such as our online master's degree in systems engineering."

The BLS recently reported that "it is important for engineers, as it is for workers in other technical and scientific occupations, to continue their education throughout their careers because much of their value to their employer depends on their knowledge of the latest technology."

The report goes on to say that job opportunities for engineers are expected to be "good" since the number of engineering graduates is roughly equal to the number of positions that are expected to open. It predicts there also will be strong demands in the near future for engineering firms to replace engineers who are retiring.
James Nemes, lead faculty for the systems engineering program, said that an undergraduate degree is increasingly looked on as an entry-level qualification. To advance into management positions, engineers need to broaden their knowledge and skills. "While an undergraduate degree offers a solid foundation in science and mathematics for engineers, employers are looking for more," Nemes said. "Students in the systems engineering program develop skills that go beyond that core foundation, such as project management, system management and communications skills."

Systems engineering is a holistic approach to managing complex engineering projects that was first developed in the aerospace industry and the military and has been adopted by professionals in other engineering disciplines. Systems engineering applies to many types of systems -- large systems, such as power plants; small systems, such as circuit components; or computer hardware and software systems.
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Penn State World Campus specializes in adult online education, delivering 62 of Penn State’s most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. Founded in 1998, Penn State World Campus is the University’s 25th campus serving more than 7,000 students in all 50 states, in 42 countries and across six continents. For more information, visit online. Penn State World Campus is a part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 80 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009