Lifelong Learning


Importance of Lifelong Learning as a Professional: One of the Learning Objectives for CE 401 is to emphasize to students the important role that their commitment to a career bouyed by lifelong learning. This point of emphasis will appear in various forms over the course of the semester long dialogue in CE 401, and the emphasis can be summarized with three points of emphasis:

Lifelong Learning Is A Mandate Of The ASCE Code of Ethics!!!


Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers, and
shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision. 

a. Engineers should keep current in their specialty fields by engaging in professional practice,
participating in continuing education courses, reading in the technical literature, and
attending professional meetings and seminars.

b. Engineers should encourage their engineering employees to become registered at the earliest possible date.

c. Engineers should encourage engineering employees to attend and present papers
at professional and technical society meetings.

d. Engineers shall uphold the principle of mutually satisfying relationships
between employers and employees with respect to terms of employment including professional grade descriptions,
salary ranges, and fringe benefit


1. Civil Engineers Should Be Reading Regularly:

Publications such as ENR, Civil Engineering, Engineering Journals, and
News About Our Profession and News That Affects Our Profession
should have a prominent place on an engineer's reading list.

2. Civil Engineers Should Participate in Continuing Education:

The Engineer, at a minimum, should participate in organized seminars, short courses, and technical meetings on a sustained annual basis. In addition, an Engineer should show leadership in these activities by participating in the planning, organizing, and presenting the Seminar, Short Course or Technical Meeting.

3. Civil Engineers Should Contribute to the Advancement and Well Being of the Profession:

Each engineer benefits from a strong, thriving profession. Each engineer enjoys these benefits because previous generations of engineers gave of their time, talent, and resources for the benefit of the Profession. Each generation of engineers should pass the profession to the next generation in better condition than received from the previous generation.

The CE 401 Handout Materials Include Readings about Lifelong Learning for Engineers

Learning for Professional Development:   Our capacity to earn is directly related to our willingness to learn.

Master Your Learning because Learning Gives You Options

Develop the Habit of Lifelong Learning for Professional Development


Lifelong Learning for Engineers and Scientists in the Information Age


Lifelong Learning for Engineers: Riding the Whirlwind
Author: Ernest T. Smerdon


Consider the following statement about the half life of engineering knowledge:

A decade ago, a group of experts estimated the half-life of an engineer's technical skills--how long it would take for half of everything an engineer knew about his or her field to become obsolete. For mechanical engineers it was 7.5 years. For electrical engineers it was 5. And for software engineers, it was a mere 2.5 years, less time than it takes to get an undergraduate degree. Today, those numbers are surely even smaller. To Read More ..... CLICK HERE

Some Additional Observations about the Half-Life of Knowledge:

"2005: " The half-life of knowledge has become miniscule in many fields. Having once undergone training or holding a degree or degrees is not enough. Lifelong learning is essential to competitiveness . "

The American Academy of Political and Social Science "
estimated the half-life of an engineer's skills in 1986 at
-  2.5 years in software engineering,
-  5.0 years in electrical engineering.. ."

IN 2001 " the half-life of an engineering degree is now projected to be something like seven years "

IN 2002, Penn State noted that " the half-life of one's Internet/Web knowledge obsoletes every two years "

" Where technologies and training once changed every 20 years , today the half-life of rapidly advancing technologies may be anywhere between three and five years.

Such rapid development requires the education of current workers and professionals in the latest technological advances and related applications."

"Pace of Change

And lastly, the pace of change in itself is a change. There was a workshop at the academy before I got there, so I heard about this indirectly. They were talking about the pace of change and somebody proposed a measure of the rate of change as the "half-life of engineering knowledge".

In this workshop, they estimated that the half-life of engineering knowledge varied by field, but the limits they put on it were 2.5 years up to 7.5 years.

So, half of what we are teaching our students in some fields
- ( computer science , by the way, was the field of 2.5 years )
is obsolete by the time they graduate. "

Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering


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