Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



When students graduate from an Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) program, there is a discrepancy or imbalance between the job-related competencies that firms require and what academic institutions deliver. As a result, there are more graduates who lack the skills that the market dictates. Due to the skills gap, recently recruited engineers may still need more training to gain necessary competencies, costing companies both time and money. The primary purpose of this study is to compare the skills ECE graduates should have upon graduation from ECE industry perspective and ECE academic department heads’ perspectives. In this context, this paper presents the outcomes of two surveys, one distributed to ECE professional engineers and the other to ECE department heads in the U.S. Both surveys used in this study were obtained from The College and Career Readiness and Success Center at the U.S. Department of Education. The surveys focus on nine major categories: applied academic skills, critical thinking skills, interpersonal skills, personal skills, resource management skills, information use skills, communication skills, system thinking skills, and technology use skills. In addition, ECE professional engineers and ECE department heads were asked to rank several skills on a 1-5 Likert scale, where one is not important and five is vital. Forty-five ECE department heads and 45 ECE professionals completed the surveys regarding the required skills ECE graduates should possess upon graduation and how vital these skills are. The results of the surveys highlight the gap between academic outcomes and industry expectations for ECE graduates. System thinking, communication, and resource management skills are the most important skills for ECE graduates from an ECE professional engineer’s point of view. Furthermore, ECE department heads believed that applied academic skills, critical thinking skills, and technology use skills are the most important, highlighting the difference between academia and industry. Furthermore, independent samples t-test was utilized to compare the data from the two surveys to determine whether statistically significant differences existed between the department head's and professional engineers' assessments of the technical aptitude of Electrical and Computer Engineering graduates.


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