This week’s selection is “The Unwritten Laws of Engineering” by James G. Skakoon and W. J. King.
There’s the stuff they teach you in school, and then there’s the other stuff you need to know. This book is all about that “other stuff”.
Engineering programs for years have covered all aspects of the technology involved in engineering. The formulas, mathematics, processes and more recently computing are all familiar.
But when fresh engineering students hit the job market and end up in a firm, exactly how are they to behave? They’re actually interacting with people, not bridges, circuits and pressure flows.
This requires skills not often taught by engineering programs.
In 1944 W. J. King published the original “The Unwritten Laws of Engineering”. It was an attempt to provide a near-complete compilation of what they describe as “house rules” for engineering behavior, a kind of “professional code”.
More recently the book has been updated by Skakoon to account for societal changes in the workplace, as we have all witnessed. Additionally, the structures of companies and the relationships they have with other entities has similarly changed. In either case, the revised edition is quite up to date.
However, to give you a good idea of what’s happening in this book, consider what reviewer Jeannette M. Pepin said:
“It’s a testament either to the insightful nature of this book, or the essential sameness of human organizations, that all the principles and scenarios described in this 1944 text are intensely familiar and relatable to me as a software engineer working in 2018.”
These soft skills are truly required in ANY job, just not engineering. It’s a pity that relationship skills are not taught by default by today’s educational institutions, but then it’s possible to catch up with this book.
If you’re an engineering student or just someone that wishes to improve their effectiveness in a work environment, this book is for you.
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