...or alternatively, an amendment to my last post:
Having failed to read E&T yesterday when I was in the mood for sitting down (well, lying in the bath) and reading something, early this morning I was tidying up and was about to recycle a couple of my old Chartered Manaagement Institute magazine when I thought I'd have a quick flick through first...an hour later I was still reading them.
Now let's get this clear, management is a MUCH more boring subject than engineering, so what was the difference? The CMI magazine is provocative without being arrogant, it contains insights and advice I can use in my day-to-day work, and it does not read like rehashed press releases from marketing departments! The regular columnists are industry leaders rather than journalists, and whilst I may disagree with their views (and would like to see a wider variety of columnists) there is no doubt that they are speaking from a depth of experience. Compared with this, E&T reads much more like "New Electronics", "Eureka", or any of the many other free trade magazines which I receive which are worth exactly what I pay for them.
I think it is important to realise the significance of the web here. If I want to find out about what companies have to offer, or what technologies are emerging, I can do this easily on the web and keep it focussed
. The IET covers such a wide field now that there is no way that technology specific info can be covered in a magazine.
So what should the purpose of a professional engineers' magazine be? Based on this experience can I suggest the following:
1. Independent critical journalistic research into key upcoming technologies. 3D printing is an excellent example, this affects us across the fields of engineering but we do NOT need a sales pitch for printing companies, we'll get that anyway. However, real critical insight into the opportunities, the weaknesses, the risks and the benefits would be of great value.
2. Investigation into the non-technological issues that affect us in the profession. If you want examples, look at these forums! Where is the investigation into why as a manager I can't find engineers, whilst as a job seeker I can't find another job? Where is the informed discussion on the present and future roles (or not) of CEngs and IEngs? Where is the advice on how to start and progress your career? An example here is the article on skilled wood-working craftsmen in the last issue, that could have been a fascinating article of use to employers and job seekers, and just to the lay reader, but in the end was pretty much an interview with two employers. Those interviews would have made great "boxed" examples in a fuller article, but by themselves just didn't have the weight.
With the weight* and independance** of the IET behind it E&T can be a unique, useful, and entertaining read for its members, and I would certainly rather see this happen than have cheaper membership with no magazine. But at the moment I'd go for the cheaper membership.
* i.e. money
** i.e. the guts to suggest that maybe some engineering sectors, companies and products may have "room for improvement"
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMIhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy
"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert