As the world becomes more fast paced and more interconnected through the internet, some students decide that online tertiary institutions would probably fit them more than an on-campus solution to engineering studies. These students are usually cautioned and told that online qualifications do not lead to employment in the industry and that online studying still has a long way to go before it is fully recognised. However, engineering qualifications over the internet have become more respected over time. Open distance learning in the engineering field is becoming more frequent in the world where engineers are required to be on site, working, and broadening their knowledge as their industry changes.
USNews spoke to Jack Cullen, president of Modis, a tech staffing agency. He said: “Now that you’re seeing more and more people in that hiring chair that have come from perhaps their own online education, you’re seeing a lot more acceptance of it.”
Cullen believes that online engineering education solutions are beneficial due to an engineer being able to “work and pursue a degree at the same time”. He also says engineers studying towards a master’s degree usually apply what they are learning to the work they are currently doing.
Dani McDonald, vice president of national engineering recruitment at Kelly Services, said: “The degree at the end of the day is really just a credibility statement. They’re looking for your experience and what you’ve contributed and what you will contribute to their organization.” However, she also says employers like to see a name of a university they are familiar with.
Charles Muwandagara, an engineer who is currently working on power stations across Africa, recently graduated with his advanced diploma in mechanical engineering from the Engineering Insitute of Technology (EIT), an online institution. Through broadening his knowledge in the industry he was currently working in, he was promoted to project supervisor.
When asked about his diploma and whether he felt it was a necessary addition to his skillset through online education, he said: “It was very practical. To run a project you need those basic skills.”
Muwandagara also says that studying engineering whilst already in an engineering role can lead to promotion. He said: “There is promotion. I could be superintendent on my next project.” He also said that he is setting his sights on a master’s of industrial automation through online institutions whilst working in the field, certain that it would boost his career. Colleagues of Muwandagara have also taken to online institutions due to noticing how beneficial it can be to further build on their curriculum vitae.