With the digital transformation taking place in every aspect of our current work environments, it also affects numerous parts of engineering disciplines. This transformation is influenced by many factors and parameters, e.g. economic, sociocultural, technological and political ones. To find out what could be possible future skills of engineers we set up a theoretical framework for an engineer’s competence and future skills set and, in the next step, conducted semi-structured interviews with engineering experts in order to obtain information about their future qualification needs in their operating sectors as well as their personal development and foresights about what is needed to be able to work as an successful engineer in the future. Within the multiplicity of different engineering disciplines we followed a pragmatic approach to limit the field of engineers to the group of mechanical and electrical engineers, who have been working in the automotive industry sector for at least four years.
What did we find out?
- Key results show that the interviewees describe their knowledge gap mostly in programming and IT knowledge, such as the ability to analyze data and draw serious conclusions for product development of uprising technologies such as autonomous driving, driving assistance systems, but also electronics and battery composition.
- The interview experts claim to have received a very high quality education in theoretical-technical competences which seems to qualify them for most of the future challenges.
- Next to technical competences, social and personal competences, i.e. the ability to adapt to changing economic and social conditions in the form of agile work change the engineering profession significantly would be necessary.
- Intercultural understanding and being able to communicate with different customers or colleagues seem inevitable for an effective and successful engineering team.
What does this mean for lifelong learning activities?
In terms of lifelong learning offerings, universities can add their offers besides operational measures in the sense of holistic approaches to upskill engineers in personal and social competences with a tailor-made technical upskilling in a previously specified field of area.
The main findings of the work also include a proposal to conceptualize competences of an engineer from an educational perspective, results and findings of the experts regarding their future job profiles and an exemplary approach to identify needs and develop upskilling programs for the target group. The development of upskilling strategies for the target group of engineers in the automotive sector will be compiled in the next project phase of BoostEuroTeQ of work package 3.