Probably there may not be huge change in Job titles but it will become more and more important that engineers are aware of other disciplines to deisgn the products optimized in terms of all the performance requirements.
The Googles, Yahoos and Facebooks have helped create the new title of data scientist, the person who helps tackle and mine big data. I suspect that is related to what Horowitz calls information engineering.
In general, there's a trend toward more hiring in software than hardware engineering, too.
Very interesting article Jessica! It nicely highlights changes undergoing in our field and quotes reliable and respectable sources...having said that I doubt that job titles will change much although nature of EE work will...a simple example is power engineering, this used to be boring now is sexy due to smart grid concept, the job is quite different but the title is likely the same...the only exceptions are few truly new things like data mining example Rick brought up...again I truly enjoyed reading this piece! Kris
some of the jobs are amalgamation of 2-3 traditional jobs with some automation. Most of the embedded designer would agree that without the commecially available software tools it will be virtually impossible design and write algorithms at the same time. There are some new jobs that did not exist in the past such as Data Scientist. These jobs typically require a mix of Maths, CS and Statistics knowledge. Most of such jobs are limited to PhDs but i think that in some years these kind of jobs will be more popular.
@Rick: "In general, there's a trend toward more hiring in software than hardware engineering, too."
I agree with you as you have said hiring for software engineers is more than the hiring for the hardware engineers and I too believe that is an increasing trend. Here, by hardware engineer I mean the board designers (not the IC designers). One of the reasons for that could be that the open source hardware platforms are getting more and more available. The same hardware platform, once built could be used for different applications by developing different firmware/software programs. Can you think of any other reasons?
Over the last 20 years, computer engineering has gone from about 50/50 HW/SW to about 25/75 HW/SW. The reason is that as the NRE for ASIC design has risen, ASICs have had to become more programmable to amortize the NRE over a larger set of applications. The programmability also provides the flexibility to meet new standards, quicker time to market, and in-field updates. Standards and open platforms amplify this process.
Our curriculum is not 25/75, since a computer engineer still needs to learn all the fundamentals of electrical engineering and all the fundamentals of computer science, even if they will spend the majority of their time on software.
My daughter is in high school and thinking about a career in engineering. I am finding a lot of outreach from the professional and educational community to encourage that. For instance, she will be attending an engineering colloquium at Princeton University next month, and she has applied for the one-day STEM program at the upcoming IEEE IMS 2014 in Tampa, FL. I hope these opportunities continue to come her way!
@Jessica: Thank you for a nice article!! All of the latest trends of the EE Job Titles are highlighted in this article. With the increasing trend of more companies getting actively involved in IoT applications, cloud computing, security engineers would be more in demand.
Similarly, there is an increasing trend of microprocessor getting combined with an FPGA fabric or the FPGAs having "hard" processor cores boosting the usage of SoCs more and more in design, where the hardware engineer (FPGA designer) would need to acquire some knowledge on writing the firmware code for the processor or the other way, as new trend of system engineers emerging, who are supposed on be jack of all trades & master of all to some extent.
Speaking as a programmer who respects engineering, but isn't an engineer, there's been an unfortunate tendency to inflate job titles in the field. Systems analysts have become "data architects". People writing web sites are calling themselves "software engineers", when they barely even qualify as computer programmers. (HTML is not a programming language, even if media types refer to it as "code".)
You aren't an engineer unless a mistake on your part could potentially kill people and/or destroy property. The worst a bad website could do is cause nausea.
@Perl_geek: there's been an unfortunate tendency to inflate job titles in the field
Good point. We laugh at the garbage man who calls himself the sanitation engineer. The thing that surprised me about this article when Jessica was writing it was that there weren't any fancy new titles (despite us media types' desire to find a new title).
Good article it is. In my opinion, I think that what will definitely change is the nature and trends of EE work but just like CEO is putting it, job title will not change much in the future. It true that most students are ignorant about various fields in the world of engineering, and this is one of the reasons which will lead to changes in the nature of EE work, why am I saying this? It is because many people are nowadays seeing the need of engineering, and many students are becoming interested in this field.
The growth of EE in terms of student enrolment will only be boosted if the students are exposed to the job opportunities and career directions that are open to the modern day electrical engineer and I strongly believe that, as opposed to them waiting to see the new job openings showing up, more seminars and workshops should be organized by the training institutions and the training should be geared towards exposing the students to what they can achieve as electrical engineers.
This article brings to mind a particular quote that says " the more things change, the more they remain the same". Let me explain; even though the work of the modern electrical engineer may seem to change on a near daily basis, the objectives that he or she is supposed to achieve will essentially remain the same. It is only the tools and methods used to achieve these objectives that will change and more training will be necessary in order to adapt the EEs to the new tools and methods.
It is great to learn that major institutions such as MIT and the like have understood the need for an overhaul of their EE curricula in order to cover for the ever evolving nature of the field, especially in the more recent years. That said, there is still more to be done since these institutions contribute a very small fraction of the prevailing work force. Other institutions that provide computer science and electrical engineering training should realize that it is about time that they too should adopt the same trend.