The Top 3 In The Next 15 Years

In the next 15 years I believe that the following will be the most important engineering disciplines in terms of employment impact for the reasons given.

Engineering Discipline

Reason for Importance

Employment Effects During Period

Software Engineering

We are currently in a stage of high productivity of software tools, with every indication that the productivity will continue or increase. We should see:

Parallel computing capabilities
Inexpensive voice recognition
Commercial level speech translation
Large scale systems control including systems currently too complex for individual comprehension - e.g. markets.

Increased world-wide software jobs, with greater decrease in Medium and Low-skill job.

Dispersion of high-skill jobs world wide with local disruptions.

Large scale change in commerce systems with concurrent employment shifts.

Electrical Engineering

Continued improvements of the computing, sensing and control capabilities of devices at all scales. These will include:

Robotics
Universal Connectivity
Efficient Identification and tracking devices.

Increased world-wide software jobs, with greater decrease in Medium and Low-skill job.

Dispersion of high-skill jobs world wide with local disruptions.

Mechanical Engineering

Increased energy transformation, distribution and storage will produce global shifts in manufacturing capabilities. Also, miniature machines will becoming increasingly important toward the end of the period.

Transfer of jobs from current high-skill areas through the globe.

Update 10/19/97