Customer Success Story: IEEE Xplore Provides Ongoing Education
A top concern for engineers is ensuring their knowledge of the changing technology landscape remains current, and it’s driving many of them online to hunt for information that will help keep their skills sharp and advance projects for their employers.
But studies show engineers feel technology knowledge in today’s world has a “shelf life,” and a traditional four-year college education, and even more advanced engineering degrees, are not enough.1 To succeed in any industry, engineers must be prepared to be lifelong learners, and the demands of their jobs require it now more than ever.
Rapid technology changes have led to greater pressures to bring products to market faster to meet customer demands. Simply put, those demands move faster than the ability to stay up-to-date on technology education.
“Business priorities and technology are always changing, so you have to be able to adapt and learn,” one systems engineer said. “We have to be able to quickly consume a lot of information and make judgment calls on what directions to explore and what things to rule out. That requires literature to support those decisions.”
The IEEE Xplore digital library—which houses more than 4 million research documents authored by engineers and scientists who have mastered their respective fields of study—is an essential platform for those in the technology field to remain informed. Besides being able to access the educational information, they can also rest assured that it’s accurate and reliable, which is critical as they work to get products to market.
Expanding Technology Knowledge: From AI to AVs
An R&D systems engineer with a major telecommunications company has worked in various focus areas throughout his career—neuroscience, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and more. He is often brought in to work on projects in areas in which he has little background knowledge, and no matter how unfamiliar he is with a topic initially, he is able to find papers in IEEE Xplore that allow him to educate himself.
For instance, this systems engineer was recently asked to present information about ‘decision-making under uncertainty’ for a key artificial intelligence project using a Monte Carlo tree search—a class of algorithms that uses random simulations to solve problems. He used IEEE Xplore to quickly and successfully discover a large body of work to educate himself on the topic. From there, he was able to identify the major players in the field, mentally devour a credible group of papers, and create a presentation outlining the state of the technology for his team to successfully move to the next phase of their project.
“It’s a great research and search tool. Searching the web directly, via Google or another generic search engine, is usually not productive,” he said.
Fast-Paced Learning: Gallium Nitride Amplifier Design
Having access to reliable research can also help engineers solve critical problems. A tool like IEEE Xplore provides answers, allowing them to quickly identify the source of a problem.
A design engineer at a leading defense company was recently tasked with troubleshooting a design with which he was not familiar, specifically for a gallium nitride amplifier, which is a kind of compound semiconductor. Leveraging the extensive collection of electronic design and semiconductor research in IEEE Xplore, the engineer was able to gather information on the device, its behaviors, and how to bias this type of amplifier.
“With that kind of background, I can understand what I’m observing, or what I’m seeing, either in data or out in the lab where the design is being built. I can get a better sense of what might be happening when it’s not working correctly,” noted the engineer.
Engineers are frequently asked to solve problems in areas in which they’ve never had formal education or hands-on experience. With the IEEE Xplore digital library they can expand their personal field of knowledge to unravel advanced problems, further their education, and improve upon their engineering skills.
Learn more about how IEEE Xplore can benefit your organization. Request a quote today.
1 National Academy of Engineering. 2005. Educating the Engineer of 2020: Adapting Engineering Education to the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11338.
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