Proceed with Caution: Balancing the Allure of Tech Fads (Electrical Engineering Association)

By Terry Costlow
Published in IEEE-USA InSight
December 15, 2016

I was quoted in the December 15, 2016 article by Terry Costlow in IEEE-USA InSight entitled “Proceed with Caution: Balancing the Allure of Tech Fads.” This is one of the main publications for electrical engineering worldwide. The focus was on job training for engineers and IT talent, ranging from an engineer who is still in college looking to start their career to an experienced engineering professional looking to augment their career.

Specifically, Mr. Costlow wanted to know what engineering, scientific or technology skills or development tools a scientist, engineer, technical, IT or R&D job seeker should focus on learning for long-term benefit? Should they focus on Google Glass, Cloud computing, AI (artificial intelligence), VR (virtual reality), robotics or another hot innovation? Additionally, what can this technical or engineering job seeker do to uncover whether or not this technology is just a passing fad?

Here are some of the quotes I shared:

  1. I recommend Google Alerts. I practice what I preach on this subject including I have about 20 Google Alerts for keywords like artificial intelligence, AI, robotics, technical, engineering, scientific and recruiting to keep abreast of the latest trends in science, engineering and technology. They are free and will help you to keep you abreast of the latest engineer, scientist and technical tools and skills to focus on.”
  2. Another thing I recommend is researching the technology, engineer or scientific fields that you are interested in. There is a wealth of materials available at your local library. There is no magical formula to determine if a scientific, engineer or technical tool or trend has long-term staying power. Instead, if you uncover a trend from Google Alerts, research it at your local library.”
  3. Additionally, I recommend networking to both develop interviews and uncover the best research and development tools. Meet experienced engineers, scientists, and technical professionals. IEEE has a lot of good networking events. Ask professionals at technology, scientific and engineering events what are the best engineering, scientific and technical development tools that they are using?
  4. Take technology, engineer and scientific seminars or e-seminars, contribute to technical or science blogs and ask technology professionals what they think.”
  5. To uncover technology, engineering and scientific trends read not only the technology journals, but also business journals like the Wall Street Journal (e.g. the Wall Street Journal article on VR), Business Week or Forbes because if the technology is not making money for the company, then that engineering, technical, research and development or scientific tool or trend is not going anywhere. Look at the technology company stock price. By following the stock price of technical, scientific, engineering, IT and R&D companies you can tell if the technology has long-term benefit or is just a passing fad.”