Counting and Quantifying
At this final stage, the total number of papers for each set of skills was calculated as a percentage of the total number of references for each of the two domains. This has been done to quantify the emphasis on each set of skill at each of the engineering skills and the general skills (or what we call the twenty-first-century talent competencies) literatures. Further comparisons, implications, and elaborations are given in the following section, see Fig. 2.4.
The review indicated that the most highly emphasized 6 skills in the literature for the engineering skills are as follows: 1—communication skills, 2—business and
Fig. 2.5 Skill sets that have more difference in emphasis comparing both general skills and engineering skills literatures
management 3—teamwork skills, 4—problem-solving, 5—lifelong learning, and 6 —ethics and responsibility. While for the general skills there were 1—communication skills, 2—problem-solving, 3—teamwork, 4—ICT experience, and 5— business and management. Significant gap of emphasis between the ENGD and the general skills is found in 12 skills. A significant difference in emphasis (i.e. > 15 %) was found for 12 of the skills illustrated in Fig. 2.5. The greatest difference in emphasis was noted for ICT skills, design, ethics and responsibility, problem-solving, and multidisciplinary knowledge when comparing the generic to the engineering skills literature.
The greater emphasis on system design and thinking skills in engineering references could be attributed to the nature of the profession itself, which requires more of these skills as compared to other professions. Practical experience being more emphasized for engineering indicates the greater need for engineering graduates to be prepared for the huge complexity of the twenty-first-century working environment of engineers. Surprisingly, there is greater emphasis on ICT experience and problem-solving skills as generic skills rather than engineering skills. However, it could be hypothesized that engineering graduates are more familiar with the new technology as compared to graduates from other disciplines, such as medicine and business, requiring less emphasis in the literature. The same could apply for decision-making skills because the engineering profession involves decision-making by its nature (mainly technical, but many times non-technical too). Also, engineers during their studies have to take numerous decisions while working on projects, engineering design courses, or even complex open-ended problem-solving. The higher emphasis on ethics and responsibility of engineers shows the greater than ever need to integrate ethics into engineering education.
Fig. 2.6 Skill sets that have less difference in emphasis among general skills and engineering skills literatures
Ethics are vital to be considered while designing, deploying, and servicing engineering solutions. Foreign language skills have been closely emphasized as both engineering and generic skills, which can reflect the global multinational multicultural working environment of today’s world. Communications skills were among the most highly emphasized set of skills from literatures. Adding to that the high emphasis on teamwork, this can be attributed to the team-based practice of many professions. Being a lifelong learner is critical not only for engineers but also for other disciplines in the world of rapidly expanding knowledge (see Fig. 2.6).