on October 19th, 2018

EIT alumnus Allan Butler conducted a presentation on “Ethics in Engineering” for our students at our East Perth campus last Thursday.

Allan, who is currently a SCADA Engineer at Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, graduated from EIT’s Master of Engineering (Industrial Automation) in 2018. His main role is to manage the SCADA system at the Dampier Bunbury Pipeline.

EIT is committed to delivering education programs that are aligned with real industry needs. We also want our students to have ongoing access to relevant information, so they can continue learning and improving well into their career. As a result, we’re collaborating closely with industry to bring our students relevant guest speakers who can provide meaningful technical insight.

With over 20 years of experience in the engineering industry, Allan was able to share his advice about life beyond the classroom.

His presentation started with a question: “Would you rather take a 50% chance of getting the problem correct and $1 million, or a 99% chance of getting the problem correct and $10?

“If you said 50% and $1 million, you can stand and leave.”

With a focus on ethical decision making throughout an engineer’s career, Allan then talked about avoiding disaster when a project goes wrong.

“The only way to remove any uncertainty is to remove the doubt,” he said.

“As an engineer your ability to question and simplify the most complex and critical issues you face will prevent a disaster.”

He encouraged the students to own their signature and warned against signing off on a project if they’re not completely certain there are no problems with it. He reminded them that the public puts their faith in the engineers’ abilities to keep them safe. For example, most people don’t expect structures such as bridges and buildings to collapse at any moment.

“Your signature is your word that you have agreed with a statement of engineering fact. Time, money and ignorance is not an excuse for signing off on poor design or recommendation.”

He also emphasized the importance of taking control of your own educational experience.

“Your lecturer gives you a series of questions followed by examples and maybe the answers. Your lecturer is only responsible for half of your experience.

“Your job is to help yourself and your class mates. The question you ask is possibly the one everyone else was considering.”

To listen to the recording, click here.

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