An Engineering Degree is Not Enough: The Tools Necessary for Engineering Students to be Successful in a Competitive Job Market

Abstract

abstract: A survey of 133 engineering students at Arizona State University (ASU) was conducted to determine if extracurricular activities correlated to the amount of internships a student receives. The problem that ASU engineering students are having is that finding an internship during college and consequently finding a job after graduation is getting more difficult due to the intense competition, not only at ASU, but at every other college and university across the globe. The literature review showed that employers are looking for more from a potential candidate besides a degree and a good GPA (Grade Point Average). Employers are looking for well-developed leadership and soft skills (Dalessio, 1989). These attributes are not always learned in the classroom and many students are under the false impression that an engineering degree alone is enough to land them a job. The survey that was conducted proved that the more engineering-related extracurricular activities a student engages in, the greater the chance of finding an internship. Similarly, a linear relationship was also found between the number of activities involved in and number of interviews received. From the literature review, relevant experience is of utmost importance to many employers. Because of this, not receiving an internship throughout college greatly lessens a students’ success finding a job after college. The survey showed male students do far less extracurricular activities according to the survey compared to females. The males from the survey had a 51% percent success rate of finding an internship compared to the 71% success rate of females. As a Peer Career Coach at ASU, students come to me far too often and far too late in their academic career with empty resumes and lack of involvement. Each and every one of these students struggle heavily to find internships and eventually jobs. This problem can easily be addressed, but students must be aware that a high GPA in an engineering degree alone will not make them competitive in the job market. (abstract

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Last time updated on 08/04/2021

This paper was published in ASU Digital Repository.

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