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Degree vs. Knowledge

mattwardle

Plastic
Joined
Jul 13, 2016
My shop has a great tradition of promoting from within. Recently, a couple of our CNC programmers have asked about the value of them going back to college to get a 4 year degree. My opinion is that if they have a personal desire for a degree, go for it. As far as their pay and growth potential, I feel that there is more headroom if they can become more knowledgeable and proficient in their jobs designing fixturing, programming machines and squeezing every bit of productivity out of our spindles.

My question to you all is what training resources are you aware of that we can tap into to give these guys more machining and CAD/CAM knowledge that they don't normally gain doing their jobs day in and day out?
 
I find the best way to learn is by "doing" not "reading". Every business is different and they can teach things in college that one will never use in the job/career they end up entering.

I would say to have them get some part time work at another company on a 2nd shift or something like that. It would get them paid and get them experience in a different atmosphere. This might be difficult though as the other employer might want to steal them from you or they might like the change in atmosphere too much that they quit working for you and go elsewhere.

I dont necessarily believe the college thing will make them better at their jobs. I think it would give them a resume for a completely different position than they currently have. This might end up moving them into new positions, but leaving the old ones behind which leave you with another issue to solve.

I always want my guys to learn and be better workers, as its easier to be around them and easier to get more work done.

Send them to Titans cnc classes. They are free and I am sure very helpfull to people with access to the machines. Can be done at home without putting anyone in debt. Done on own time at own pace.
 
Send them to Titans cnc classes. They are free and I am sure very helpfull to people with access to the machines. Can be done at home without putting anyone in debt. Done on own time at own pace.
Titan's CNC classes? More like Titan's CNC product advertisement.

Main thing you'll learn is which companies paid Titan the most to get promoted. Mainly Doosan, Kennametal, Blaser, and Tornos.
 
Regarding OP's initial question:

A four year degree probably won't help those employees a lot in their current role.

But the highest tier of jobs in the CNC world usually require a 4 year engineering degree. I know that I would definitely not have the job I currently have or the opportunities that I have enjoyed unless I had a four year degree. I'm far from the top, but my degree has opened a LOT of doors for me. I don't regret investing the years or the money for one second.

Hiring managers are much more likely to give you a chance if you have a degree because it shows that you can commit to jumping through a bunch of bullshit hoops for 4 years. Does a degree teach you a lot? No, I learned more in my first 6 months of working than I did in 48 months of school.

So to answer your question. No, I don't think a degree would necessarily help them succeed more in their current job and I don't think a degree is a good substitute for good old experience, but overall I think getting a degree is worth it because frankly it gives you a lot of opportunities.
 
A four year degree helps one get past HR and into an interview, when they've made that a filter to weed out most applicants. Other than that, it might be useful of one is stepping into a hybrid machining and engineering role.
 
really good example recently .....in the Bankster Fraud saga ....girlfriend come CEO has all sorts of higher quals from (correct me here) MIT ,...won maths prizes etc .......she was interviewed on line (or summat) and seemed to me to be of quite low intelligence ,flippant answers showing zero grasp of running a corp .............anyhoo,it all clicks into place when you know both of her parents are professors at MIT,and seemingly had no small part in her qualifications and awards.
 
As mhajicek said they are a great filter so if they want to move up the food chain it may be a prerequisite.
 
Titan's CNC classes? More like Titan's CNC product advertisement.

Main thing you'll learn is which companies paid Titan the most to get promoted. Mainly Doosan, Kennametal, Blaser, and Tornos.
The academy is all free and has tought me many things I would not have known otherwise. I have never bought anything they sell either.

Its FREE!!! and very usefull. I get it if you dont like the gimmick, but the OP wants to klnow how to get his employees more knowledge in this field. This is a no cost at home solution that I only see upsides too.
 
My question to you all is what training resources are you aware of that we can tap into to give these guys more machining and CAD/CAM knowledge that they don't normally gain doing their jobs day in and day out?

Other resources?

If you want a narrow focus, with emphasis on your mix of work, you are their best resource. You've got a captive audience. Spend some time teaching.

In lieu of that, math classes. Even with computers, a base in geometry, trig, and algebra will open some eyes. A lot of guys that coasted through math class in high school now find themselves in a math oriented job.
 
I agree that a degree gets you in the door so it's probably of little use to you as an employer unless the employee feels more valued because of it. But a degree takes up a lot of time. I did my engineering degree part time around work. At the start it's all fun and games but by the end both my work and study began to suffer as I had to juggle the stress of doing both alongside raising a family. And at the end of it all I feel the degree gave me very little benefit unless I'm looking to apply for a new job in the future. Most of it was irrelevant. The first few years covered stuff I already knew, then there was a year of actual good and interesting engineering but the last few were just mickey mouse engineering designed to tick boxes for an application to the Engineering Council to gain your CEng at the end. I didn't enjoy that stuff one bit. As an example my final year project had something like 15% of the overall marks awarded for a poster made with pretty bits of ribbon, some glitter and a pritt stick. My 5 year old could have aced that part!

Now it's over I'm glad I have it on my CV but in hindsight I believe I would have been better with more targeted training. It might be worth getting in touch with some resellers of your CAD software and see if they offer training packages. Alternatively give them a placement within the company on the machines if their actual hands on machining experience is limited.

SECO tools offer both free and paid online training that covers different machining strategies, tool wear and selection etc and could be very worthwhile. I recently gained access however I've not had a chance to delve in and read up but from the quick glance I've had it looks like there's a lot of very interesting material in there. I imagine other tooling providers do too so it's worth speaking to your reps.
 
My shop has a great tradition of promoting from within. Recently, a couple of our CNC programmers have asked about the value of them going back to college to get a 4 year degree. My opinion is that if they have a personal desire for a degree, go for it. As far as their pay and growth potential, I feel that there is more headroom if they can become more knowledgeable and proficient in their jobs designing fixturing, programming machines and squeezing every bit of productivity out of our spindles.

My question to you all is what training resources are you aware of that we can tap into to give these guys more machining and CAD/CAM knowledge that they don't normally gain doing their jobs day in and day out?
Having several degrees from a very good University, I can tell you that, while nice to have, in this business, it's really not a necessity.
If this was some white collar office, like a bank or insurance company, or brokerage/finance house, I'd say "yes" because even the janitor has a degree in those types of institutions. However, in this business, I'd say there are other ways to gain valuable knowledge.

Many software companies run training for a nominal price.
Many tooling and control companies do as well.
Also, small projects on the side can really help, such as refining fixturing, etc.
 
A good degree should give you width rather than depth.

Like all academic qualifications it won't give you the depth of knowledge in any particular area that an experienced, skilled, worker has but it will give you the formalised knowledge needed to make a decent start in any appropriate area. Nobody ever uses all the things taught but pretty much everything taught is of use to somebody. In particular much of the content aimed at folk who will be what I term "admin engineers" seems useless to those of us who might best be called "working engineers" as in dealing directly with things whilst admin engineers are more about management. Things like running the show, dealing with regulatory crap and general overview.

I was reckoned very good at my scientist / R&D Engineer job despite having only night school qualifications but had to work very hard at filling the gaps for myself. I'd never have done so well if I'd not been working in very immature fields so I didn't have to know much to get started and my knowledge was able to grow as things got more sorted and complex. Basically Clive was the go-to guy to turn a shaky lab experiment into something that could be field trialed and subsequently write the outline book as to what it could do and what the likely performance of the uber improved Mark 21 version would be.

But going for a job with Mighty Big Industries working hard to turn the Mk10 into the Mk12 would probably not have gone well.

Too much connecting stuff I never (officially) knew. OK I had my own work-arounds, usually better than the official way, but to be a team player you need to play the same game. Something that the breadth of standardised knowledge you get from a degree really helps with.

Clive
 
My shop has a great tradition of promoting from within.
Generally not a great idea.

Better to allow an individual's job role to naturally morph into something greater, and then give a promotion after the fact as a formality in title and compensation.

Recently, a couple of our CNC programmers have asked about the value of them going back to college to get a 4 year degree.
I could be wrong, but I've never heard of a 4 year degree in CNC programming. If the degree is instead in mechanical engineering or computer science, getting such a degree is effectively the beginnings of a career change.
 
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My shop has a great tradition of promoting from within. Recently, a couple of our CNC programmers have asked about the value of them going back to college to get a 4 year degree. My opinion is that if they have a personal desire for a degree, go for it. As far as their pay and growth potential, I feel that there is more headroom if they can become more knowledgeable and proficient in their jobs designing fixturing, programming machines and squeezing every bit of productivity out of our spindles.

My question to you all is what training resources are you aware of that we can tap into to give these guys more machining and CAD/CAM knowledge that they don't normally gain doing their jobs day in and day out?


Working under someone with more experience, and by getting chips in the boots.


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Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 
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College is mostly a scam. Aside from the getting past the gate keepers, very few professions benefit from it at all. Any undergrad course is available for free somewhere, often on Youtube. Graduate level stuff is more obscure, but can be found in books and scientific papers (which you need a subscription to view). If they want a real education and not just a piece of paper from the gate keepers, tell them to spend that $50-100k on equipment and material to support whatever it is they want to learn, then learn it. College is only educational for careers that require access to equipment and/or material that cannot be bought for the price of the degree, or in some cases cannot be bought at all (nuclear physics/engineering, medical, etc).
 
I can only speak about my country. To be well educated professionally means to upset daily routine often. A clever mechanic does not always attempt to squeeze every bit of productivity out of the spindles as you say. S/he has the overview of the various processes and methods, an asset we have lost since the 1920s. Believe me, I deal with cameras and projectors from the first half of the 20th century. They are mostly way better designed, precisely with manufacturing in mind, than most of the CNC hot shit we are seeing today.

Deep-drawn cups as lever control cams, stuffed with oil retaining felt, stamped parts, gears shaped in packages rather than milled, beautiful leaf springs with indentations where a ball can sit, and so on. Lathe parts were simpler but where used with multiple functions combined in one.

To know everything about little is the wrong direction, especially now that factories reshore back home. We need generalists and smart engineers and cunning doers.

In this country all the capitalists want to see is obedience.
 








 
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