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Accenture unearths engineer ennui

4/27/2009 02:00 PM EDT
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Softweyr
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re: Accenture unearths engineer ennui
Softweyr   5/1/2009 3:11:59 PM
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This isn't that unique to chip designers, the same thing is happening in the software world. After 17 years of software product work and two nearly disastrous layoffs, I'm back in the world of creating software for end-users that are an arm's length away and I love it. The software industry is so inbred and run by children it's a huge relief to punt out of there and actually get to talk to the real users and solve their problems again.

eng1230
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eng1230   4/30/2009 4:59:46 AM
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Not mentioned in the article is the brutal politics, especially in the big companies. One may trace this to the dotcom days when they hired anyone they could find and who are now well entrenched as managers. Something is amiss in the engineering profession.

DickH
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re: Accenture unearths engineer ennui
DickH   4/28/2009 10:17:24 PM
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an engineer is enthused and fulfilled when he sees his ideas carried forward and made something of, and when he is free to have a good idea and pursue it. In this age of 'standards, standards, standards' most are forced always to further and implement someone else's ideas - and proposing a standard and getting it accepted is seen as much more important than simply (often not at all simple) getting it to work well, or just to work at all- and there's not seen to be any kudos in this, no points, no prizes, by 'the management' who here at least, are mostly ignorant of engineering, being mostly accountants and bean counters - they think, if he can't get it going, he's simply no good and we need someone else, not that it was a poor, difficult or inefficient idea in the first place. When I started 30 years or so ago, any good idea was worth pursuing - but now the management are always looking for confirmation of the 'next big thing' before they begin to believe it might be worth putting money in that direction.

SomeRandomGuy
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re: Accenture unearths engineer ennui
SomeRandomGuy   4/28/2009 5:56:03 PM
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Why the hate Dave, even if every IC designer bought a Ford, you'd still be in trouble. Even if every American bought a Ford, you'd still be in trouble. It's not about company performance, it's about labor as a commodity, and your relative cost versus someone elsewhere. "Buy American" is not the right solution, it doesn't help you keep your job, it doesn't help the factory workers keep their job, your company thinks it doesn't need YOU, period. What you really want is an incentive for companies to use American labor, or a dis-incentive for them to use foreign labor. We are always going to be more expensive than our overseas counterparts. We have strict labor laws, we have environmental laws, we have higher taxes, more government funded programs, better funded police forces, tighter and more powerful monopolies for basic services, etc. We have a good life, it costs a lot to maintain, and corporate leaders don't want to pay the bill (although note they all live here). This is where unrestricted globalism breaks down in the short run. There is no incentive to raise the bar globally, only an incentive to force the bar down locally.

Semiconductor Design Engineer
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re: Accenture unearths engineer ennui
Semiconductor Design Engineer   4/28/2009 5:25:06 AM
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A few comments: As a 22 year veteran of working in design engineering of VLSI components I became "distrustful" of management many, many, many years back when I was asked to train my replacements in Bangalore. Don't get me wrong, I Love India, the country, the people (especially the food :-) are all great, it's got nothing to do with other engineers in any country. Oh, actually, no, it was before then, perhaps the corporate wide layoffs (I lost track of how many), or the canceled projects, or... Geeze, I could have written this report a decade ago! In response to the automotive engineer from Ford's comment, I can't remark on others in my field, but I certainly gravitated to automobiles with significant amount of high tech features. According to iSuppli report your foreign brethren design engineers (BMW, Toyota, etc.) are packing their vehicles full of high tech goodies for improved vehicle performance, safety, or convenience. In short, their semiconductor content is higher. Which is why I choose to buy a BMW 3 series back in 2004, which had a iPod connector with hands free bluetooth cell phone operation, etc., etc., etc. Good luck to you. It's good we have companies like Tesla who are driving automotive innovation in this country when the Detroit big three do not.

george.leopold
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re: Accenture unearths engineer ennui
george.leopold   4/28/2009 12:39:40 AM
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(Editor's note: We have received several other letters from readers in response to Junko Yoshida's April 27 story on the Accenture engineering employment report and George Leopold's related EE Times Newsletter commentary. Here they are):

To the editor:

I was amused to see "semiconductor engineers are 'distrustful' of management," but about your advice to upper management to see this as a wake-up call. After 20 years of working for MBA-types who consider themselves the "chosen few" and look on engineers as easily-replaced commodities, I finally had quite enough. I've been the proud owner and CEO of my own company for 20 years now ... and never been happier. I'm also happy to say there are no MBAs (mindless bottom-line analysts) on my payroll. If I want advice from one of them, I'll ask ... but put one in a position of power, never!! Engineers are indeed the lifeblood of any company whose success depends on innovation. In my opinion, much of the financial mess we have today can be laid at the doorstep of Harvard Business School and its philosophies about "running a business" and being fixated on the next quarter's bottom line. Yeah, I feel pretty much the same about "marketing weasels" too!
Thanks for the "venting" opportunity!

Cordially, Bill Whitlock, president & chief engineer Jensen Transformers, Inc.


To the editor:

You touched a nerve with this article. As a software provider to the silicon industry we've been fighting the offshoring culture for years now. In my opinion there are a few key issues here: 1. Managers and executives who make offshoring decisions move on to new jobs before the total impact of their offshoring decision is known. They are never held accountable for wrong decisions.
2. A basic assumption is made that one engineer in the U.S. is equal to one engineer in Bangalore or Shanghai
3. Any industry has an ecosystem which is like a fabric. Once you start offshoring one element, it is like pulling the thread. The process only ends when the whole fabric has been undone. We tend to not hear about the macroeconomic analysis of offshoring.
Regards,
Gopal Miglani, President
BitRouter
Message was edited by: Yo Yo

DaveR1234
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re: Accenture unearths engineer ennui
DaveR1234   4/27/2009 7:45:49 PM
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Well, well. So you poor IC engineers are feeling a bit stressed. Did any of you think about the stress you were causing the Detroit automotive engineers when you bought your Toyotas, or Hondas, or BMWs? I'm only a poor midwestern born engineer who doesn't know what ennui means (but I hope it's bad, and I don't care). No one owes you a job and no one owes me a job -- we earn it! I'd rather my company goes bankrupt than live on government (taxpayers) handouts and rules.

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