Four Engineering Trends Millennials Favor

From crowdsourcing to AI, the millennial generation is changing the face of how engineering tasks are approached

1 August 2017

Because of their unique perspective, the young adults who make up the millennial generation are likely to help grow several engineering trends. Born between 1982 and 1996, millennials are confident, team-oriented, and want meaningful employment.

They are the largest generation in America’s workforce, and they're flocking to cities to live and work, while changing the manner in which metropolitan centers are designed. Millennials are concerned about environmental issues and want to clean up the environment. They are embracing new ways of accomplishing engineering tasks, which are unique to this generation. As a result, they are embracing a number of engineering trends.

  • #1 Crowdsourcing

    Many software development projects today use crowdsourcing for fixing bugs and testing or collecting alternative designs for new user interfaces. Crowdsourcing helps teams of engineers gather information for tasks or projects by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, via the internet. Think of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk as an example. The strategy takes open source to the next level, from peer production to competitions and microtasking.

  • #2 Personalization

    The Internet of Things connects shoppers to their purchases, so retailers can learn not only about general demographic trends, but also create experiences for specific customers or specific groups of customers. For example, each of luxury retailer Burberry’s sales associates has an iPad that can instantly display customers’ purchasing preferences and habits. Every item in the store is tagged with an RFID chip that interacts with sales floor mirrors to present information on that product.

  • #3 Apps

    Millennials expect effortless transactions. They understand that the companies they work for must now use technology to innovate in ways that create seamless customer experiences. Mobility is also a big part of the equation. This generation also realizes that “useful” is the new “sexy.” Millennials believe technology is most beneficial if it offers a useful interaction with their products or services, but technology in and of itself is unappealing. For example, the Krispy Kreme app is fun, yet practical. The app can map the nearest Krispy Kreme location and alert the user when the neon glow of “Hot Now” is on nearby.

  • #4 Automation and Robotics

    Kelly Services reports that improvements in worker productivity are at least partly due to the widespread adoption and recent developments in robotics and plant automation systems. In the near future, there will therefore be a need for talent in the areas of instrumentation and control technicians, automation engineers and industrial control systems designers. In addition, Deloitte’s sixth annual Millennial Survey found that the millennials in India are likely to be the biggest endorsers of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. More than 83 percent of those surveyed by Deloitte said that AI will boost the overall productivity of their work, and 77 percent responded that they expect robotics will improve economic growth.

    Overall, millennials are 2.5 times more likely than older generations to embrace new digital, social, and mobile channels. They want technology integrated into their customer experiences, and the engineers of this generation are motivated by their own view of how they want things done to ensure that happens.

Content sponsored by Digi-Key Electronics.

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