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A Guide to Writing as an Engineer, 4th Edition by David A. McMurrey, David F. Beer

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ENGINEERS AND WRITING

Poor communication skill is the Achilles' heel of many engineers, both young and experienced—and it can even be a career showstopper. In fact, poor communication skills have probably claimed more casualties than corporate downsizing.

H. T. Roman, “Be a Leader—Mentor Young Engineers,”IEEE-USA Today's Engineer, November 2002.

It is nearly impossible to overstate the benefits of being able to write well. The importance of the written word in storing, sharing, and communicating ideas at all levels of all organizations makes a poor facility with the mechanics of writing a severely career-limiting fault.

John E. West, The Only Trait of a Leader: A Field Guide to Success for New Engineers, Scientists, and Technologists, 2008.

Like a lot of other professionals, many engineers and engineering students dislike writing. After all, don't you go into engineering because you want to work with machines, instruments, and numbers rather than words? Didn't you leave writing behind when you finished English 101? You may have hoped so, but the fact remains—as the above quotes so bluntly indicate—that to be a successful engineer you must be able to write (and speak) effectively. Even if you could set up your own lab in a vacuum and avoid communication with all others, what good would your ideas and discoveries be if they never got beyond your own mind?

If you don't feel you have mastered writing skills, the fault probably is not entirely yours. Few engineering colleges offer ...

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