Importance of technical education in engineering


The general assimilation of the term “technicality” does not necessarily refer only to engineering, but includes all sciences and their subfields. It involves an application of ideas to present or understand a representation of individual understandings and to assess the evidence for learning or study purposes.

Student life from freshmen to final year students, according to several surveys studied at vocational institutes, showed their ideas about how this particular education represents the need for hours and jobs, is a necessity for everyone and how it relates to the job and the work affects. It is further crystallized in one of the most important issues of the communication gap between two main professions of a work area; If necessary, engineers and technicians can be shortened by a small change and addition in a course description.

The results show a greater preference for certain forms of technical thinking among engineering students. The commitment stems from the notion that “technology decisions can have positive and/or negative impacts on individuals, communities and the general public”. These results are particularly remarkable when viewed in the light of recent research that emphasizes the importance of contextualized problem formulation and solution processes in a broader technical context. Finally, we examine ways in which the results open up multiple directions for future research.

Image 1: Summary


Today’s demand for engineers requires a more solid and meaningful education, rather than skimming books to solve complex engineering problems. The outdated curriculum with limited resources, consisting of early stage engineering models, cannot be compared to today’s challenging and complex automated predicaments that require a mind to walk in every dimension and possibility. Research on engineering practice reveals interactions between the theoretical and technical aspects of complex engineering problems, but relatively little content within engineering education focuses on such interaction. The engineering curriculum often neglects the broader implications of such training, where technical designs, products and services are created and used, and how shortcomings might impact the future of our engineers. During our survey, our research examines whether undergraduate engineering students and technical students express similar or different perceptions about the integration of technical thinking into engineering curricula, and how bridging this gap with the right knowledge could close the communication gap and improve the possibility of complicated addressing as a result of correlation with perceived learning preferences and broader interests. After reviewing relevant literature and surveys, this paper analyzes quantitative survey data on students’ perceptions of the importance of technical education in engineering education.

As stated, “the ability to read and process scientific and technical information and to assess its meaning”. continues: “In this approach, the emphasis is not on how to ‘do science’. It is not about creating scientific knowledge or retrieving it briefly for a final examination…. Therefore, in science, students should be asked to demonstrate their ability to evaluate evidence; to distinguish theories from observations and to assess the degree of certainty attributed to the claims made” (Millar and Osborne, 1998). [11]. These should be the products of science education for all students. For some students, the minority who will become tomorrow’s scientists, this extends to engaging with scientific ideas and developing the ability to ‘do science’.

Bridge between professionals and engineers:

A trend continues even as professional engineers emphasize the importance of understanding social contexts, collaborating with non-engineers, and incorporating diverse perspectives into their work [3]–[7]. To fill this gap, it has been suggested that engineering curricula could benefit from socio-technical integration into undergraduate engineering education to encourage the development of socio-technical thinking and habits [4]. Sociotechnical thinking is defined as “…the interaction of relevant social and technical factors in the problem to be solved” [2].

Figure 4: Bridge between technical staff and engineers

Technical thinking in engineering education and in the work context:

There is increasing evidence that the technically based engineering curriculum is inconsistent with the work of professional engineers. Although an overview of engineering career studies recognizes that there are too few such studies [6], the existing studies show similar patterns. Overall, such research suggests that professional engineering practice, while heterogeneous, involves interactions between the social and technical dimensions of complex problems. For example, a longitudinal study that included over 300 interviews with practicing engineers, survey data from nearly 400 engineers, and multi-year participant observations from Australasian engineers found that “…more experienced engineers…had largely recognized that the real intellectual challenges in engineering are people and technical problems simultaneously.” include. Most found working with these challenges far more satisfying than being completely confined to the technical domain of the objects.” [3]. Another study, a review of mostly US workplace studies that focused primarily on US engineering practice, found: “Students often have vague images of professional engineering work, and the images they have are strong of the experiences in theirs Educational careers shaped … As a result, students often ignore, ignore, or don’t see, or simply don’t see, images of engineering that emphasize its non-technical, non-calculating sides.” [4]. This may explain why researchers studying Australasian engineers have uncovered serious student misconceptions about the actual work of practicing engineers.

Figure 3: Technical thinking in the context of engineering institutes and workplaces

Evidence to date suggests that there is a mismatch between what practicing engineers do and their training. In particular, engineering curricula overall privilege the technical aspects of the profession, including complicated theories, equations, and closed-loop, decontextualized problem solving, but tend to exclude or marginalize the social, contextualized dimensions of open-ended problems [3]–[6]. As such, engineering students may be ill-prepared for the forms of socio-technical thinking required in their future profession. After describing several differences between the types of problems typically solved by undergraduate engineering students and practicing engineers, Jonassen concluded that “learning to solve problems in the classroom does not effectively prepare engineering graduates to to solve problems in the workplace”. [5]. Thus, there are opportunities to bridge the gap between the undergraduate educational experience and the reality of professional engineering practice. One such possibility involves the integration of socio-technical thinking.

Future requirement for engineers:

The engineer of 2021 and beyond must be prepared for the socio-technical realities of the engineering profession for professional success on a personal and global level. Many of the NAE recommendations focus on contextualizing the role of engineers in undergraduate engineering curricula: “Technical excellence is the defining characteristic of engineering graduates, but these graduates should also possess teamwork, communication, ethical thinking, and societal and global leadership skills feature context analysis” [9]. The quote above implies that technical excellence can easily be separated from excellence in teamwork, communication, ethical thinking and other skills.

Image 2: Future obligation of engineers

However, complex problems come as a whole, and as research in engineering education and science and technology studies has emphasized, solving social dimensions of problems can often influence the framing and solving process of technical problems, and vice versa [1], [10].


Provided with graphs, tables and charts, the results present the idea about the importance of technical education and its relevance in the life of the individual, be it in engineering or any other field. The questionnaire was prepared for both types for the convenience of the students. For engineering students, questions are created with very basic vocabulary, making it easy and effortless for engineers with little or no knowledge of English to fill out the form. For those who cannot read or understand, the questions are explained individually and the answers noted.


[1] J Leydens and J Lucena, Engineering Justice: Transforming Engineering Education and Practice. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-IEEE Press, 2018.

[2] J Leydens, K Johnson, S Claussen, J Blacklock, B Moskal, O Cordova, “Measuring Change over Time in Sociotechnical Thinking: A Survey/Validation Model for Sociotechnical Habits of Mind: American Society for Engineering Education” , in Proceedings for the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, 2018.

[3] JP Trevelyan, The Making of a Skilled Engineer: How to Make a Wonderful Career by Creating a Better World and Spending Big Money That Belongs to Others. Leiden, The Netherlands: CRC Press, 2014.

[4] R Stevens, A Johri and K O’Connor, ‘Professional engineering work’, in Cambridge handbook of engineering education research (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp 119-137.

[5] DH Jonassen, “Engineers as problem solvers,” in Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 103–118.

[6] G. Downey, “Are Engineers Losing Control of Technology?: From ‘Problem Solving’ to ‘Problem Definition and Solving’ in Engineering Education,” Chemical Engineering Research and Design, vol. 83, No. 6, pp. 583–595, June 2005.

[7] GL Downey et al., “The Globally Competent Engineer: Working Effectively with People Who Define Problems Differently,” Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 95, No. 2, pp. 1-16, 2006.

[8] National Academy of Engineering, Educating the Engineer of 2020: Adapting Engineering Education for the New Century. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2005.

[9] AF Valderamma Pineda, “What can technical systems teach us about social (in)justices? The Case of Public Transportation Systems.” in Engineering Education for Social Justice: Critical Explorations and Opportunities, JC Lucena, Ed. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2013, pp. 203–226.

[10] DA MacKenzie and J. Wajcman, The social shaping of technology. Maidenhead: Open University Press, 1999.

[11] MILLAR, R. and OSBORNE, J. (1998) Beyond 2000: Science Education for the Future, King’s College London School of Education, London.


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