The engineering-management career dilemma came to my attention while serving as director of a management development center at a small private liberal arts college. The professional life of an engineer is limited, and during his late 20's or early 30's he must acknowledge his impending professional obsolescence. He must decide whether to embark on a new career in another profession; namely, management, or to enhance or update his professional training. professional training. Many of our students were engineers who were writhing in the pygmalian agony of determining whether to commit themselves wholeheartedly to the practice of management. This loomed particularly problematic for them because the role of problematic for them because the role of a fledgling or beginner threatened their established image of themselves as highly qualified professionals.

This paper will review several dimensions of this topic. Briefly, these are the changes in attitudes, skills, and career planning necessary to parlay engineering temperament and ability into a successful management career.


Certainly not all professional engineers experience difficulty in adapting to a management career. Those that do, however, find that the very temperaments, skills, and training which served them well in applying their professional knowhow become impediments professional knowhow become impediments which handicap their ability to master supervisory-management duties. Although we have a number of scientific tools which apply to the solution of management problems, there is still a considerable margin of error between the formula's illumination of a problem and actual decision-making.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.