F5-C1-1 - Engineering Education, Moving into 2020s: Essential Competencies for Effective 21st Century Electrical & Computer Engineers

2. Research-to-Practice Full Paper
Junaid Qadir1 , Kok-Lim Alvin Yau2, Muhammad Ali Imran3, Ala Al-Fuqaha4
1 Information Technology University, Lahore, Pakistan
2 Sunway University, Malaysia
3 University of Glasgow, UK
4 Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar

As we move into the third decade of the 21st century, the 2020s, the unprecedented rate of technological disruption and the short-lived nature of the specifics of engineering state-of-the-art require us to carefully evaluate what it takes to be an effective engineer and what this entails for engineering education and their lifelong learning. While it is true that certain basics of engineering will not change, there will be an increased premium for some skills (such as lifelong learning, meta-learning, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication skills, and cultural/global literacy). 21st-century skills are, as such, timeless skills: it is paradoxically the volatile nature of the modern world that has forced us from ephemeral vocational fads back to these permanently valuable skills. In this full research-to-practice paper, after reporting on the skills that policy think tanks and thought leaders deem necessary for the 21st century, we provide a synthesis in which we describe the pulls and pushes that learners and educators will face in the turbulent times of 2020 and beyond, and how they can thrive in the uncertain future through holistic well-rounded engineering education.