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Globalization Brings Forth New Era in Engineering

You're hard at work on a project when you have to stop everything to fix a computer problem. You call your computer manufacturer's help line, where a technician diagnoses and helps you solve the problem. Pretty soon, you return to work. Do you realize that the technician who just saved your project may have been continents away? Globalization is here. Globalization is linking national economies. And it is causing unique technical challenges for the business world - in the engineering field, for instance.

The growth of the global economy can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it gives nations the opportunity to reduce manufacturing costs and to compete in a global market. But on the other hand, it becomes more challenging for a business to survive. Matching the best technical strengths in the world with the lowest cost is the essence of globalization. But with companies engaging in worldwide redistribution of labor and production, engineers in today's workforce are starting to see the effects that the global market has on their jobs.

Now engineers must understand the dynamics of the global marketplace. And there's even more of a challenge for those in the field to expand their traditional technical skills to other areas such as project management, global marketing and foreign languages. Many colleges and universities are taking a new approach to training and instructing future engineers. In order to prepare students for working abroad and functioning effectively on international design teams, educators have started including technical coursework that includes studying foreign languages and project management. Beyond these courses, colleges and universities must also create nontraditional academic programs such as intercultural teaming, distance learning and cross-cultural communications. ASME, a professional organization of engineers, realizes the need for a more global educational engineering curriculum and has started two programs for this purpose. Its Global Training Program trains engineering instructors in many global markets to administer ASME-approved continuing education courses in their native language. Engineering Management Certification International is another globally focused program created by ASME; its students earn credentials in project management that are recognized worldwide. ASME takes pride in identifying the emerging needs and market standards in the engineering industry. For example, ASME has identified China as one such emerging market and soon will open an office in Beijing to promote the use and acceptance of North American standards.


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