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09/08/14
Trends in Technical Careers. Alert to Unexpected Situations, Combining things in different ways
Filed under: Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:44 am

It was inspiring hearing words describing the IEEE
outstanding educator award presentation of Professor
Jamal Dean.  Professor Dean is now at McMaster
University in Hamilton, ON and remarked:
(A. Kumar, Interface, Fall, 2014, 42-3)

Be prepared for the unexpected.  It may be upon you
before you know it.  So adapt and use your knowledge
and skills to create novel and workable solutions.  And
do not be afraid of controversial areas of research,
even if there is opposition from mainstream ‘experts’”…

Why mention Jamal Dean?  He works to solve big
problems with significant impact in cross-disciplinary
fields
.

An example of this is the use of unexpected elements
in semiconductor manufacturing.  You know well Moore’s
Law about the prediction of exponential improvements
in digital electronic devices.  Did you know hafnium,
ruthenium, tantalum (ok, I knew about this), zirconium
(this, too) and cobalt are all used in discrete elements
of chips to make true the ‘Moore prediction.’  Why? 
The article by Michael McCoy   (p. 16) states, “because
it works.”
There is a lot of chemistry, physics, engineering and
economics that will continue to play a role.  Consider,
for example, Moore’s second law of semiconductor
manufacturing
, known as Rock’s Law.  Technical people
should be curious about this “intersection”…

Susan Ainsworth reported in an earlier CEN issue about
what pharmaceutical firm representatives look for in
candidates:
BS:  higher level organic, physical organic, and theoretical
organic chemistry with advance laboratory work
in which synthetic routes are designed, enzymatic
reactions are characterized or there is exposure to
receptor pharmacology..
         challenging research experience gives a leg up.

PhD:  challenging research projects in solving or
gaining understanding of complex problems, say
signal transduction, protein structure, multistep
synthesis.

All should be able to demonstrate communication
skills to be able to go up to a board or with pen and
paper field questions or propose solutions to problems.
Of course, be able to deliver an elevator speech.

What stood out was a segment on “being situationally
aware
” outside of classroom or formal structure
situations.  It is more behavioral than textbook.

Combining things in different ways can be an example
of what is sought in candidates.  This is demonstrated
by for example photoswitchable antibiotics which were
recently reported in Ang. Chem.  doi:10.1002/
ange.201310019 and in Photonics showcase.

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