Throughout the engineering community, we keep hearing about how companies want new engineering graduates to be productive on their first days. In other words, universities should produce more engineers who are ready to join the workforce and have practical experience. A recent announcement by Agilent Technologies highlights a program by which universities can train the next generation of RF/µW engineers.
In The Agilent RF and Microwave Industry-Ready Student Certification Program, universities agree to use Agilent EEsof EDA software and microwave test equipment to train students, who can then earn a certificate. According to the program brochure, students must pass an RF and microwave design course and lab, completing a required number of hours using Agilent EEsof tools and test equipment. Students must:
- Complete the required experience in using Agilent instruments learning key RF measurement fundamentals for accurate RF measurements for calibration and measurement
- Be nominated by their professor for certification
- Satisfactorily pass a final hands-on test demonstrating aptitude in the subject matter.
The brochure goes on to describe in detail the requirements for a certificate. It includes requirements not only for using EEsof as a design tool, but lab experience must include the use of equipment such as vector-network analyzers, signal analyzers, and signal sources. Some 20 universities currently participate in the program.
Take a look at what the program entails and tell us what you think of it. Would you have liked to have that certification and experience on your resume when you entered the workforce? What if you're already out of school and would still like that certification? Should it be open only to university students?
On the other hand, should companies be offering such certifications to engineers before they graduate or is that something to attain after graduation? The advantages to Agilent are obvious, for students will come out of universities with knowledge of Agilent's software and test equipment. It's an interesting long-term education strategy for engineers.