Professional Engineering Certification

Becoming certified as a Professional Engineer is not mandatory for engineers. However, it is frequently asked if the time and effort that goes into the certification is worth the result.

Despite the benefits of the certification, it is often criticized for being a long, time consuming process. It includes a Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam that is often taken before graduating from a four-year engineering program at a college. After passing the FE exam, you then need to practice under a Professional Engineer for a length of time that varies by state, usually around 4 years. After this time, you can then take the PE exam. Additionally, both of these exams are very long. The FE and PE are six- and eight-hour exams respectively.

The benefits of the exam include a higher median salary (about $4,000 higher) and respect from peers. This could seem like a small payoff for the five years of hard work that goes into achieving this certification. The certification can definitely help in finding a job, but many companies and states no longer require it.

The Professional Engineer Certification really does remain an optional process for engineers across the country. To some people, the costs outweigh the benefits and they are still able to lead a fulfilling career without the certification and title.

-Erica Neese


Video Backgrounds for Websites – Good or Bad?

The article I read focuses on the usage of videos as the backgrounds for websites. The content is broken into a pro and a con side. On the con side there is slow loading speed, potential distractions, potential contrast, and irritating audio. While something like irritating audio can be easily fixed,  a slow loading speed cannot. If the website takes too long to load, viewers will most likely leave the page.

On the pro side there is SEO optimization, cutting edge design, and the ability to explain difficult content easily. The article goes more into detail about this technology showing off the company and making it seem trustworthy.

The article does not give a specific conclusion, as it varies per site.

Read the full article here.

– Daniel Ellman


Project Managers in 2016

While currently I am seeking positions related to customer/software support, I believe that my true calling is in the project management field. I am using the customer/software support position to gain traction in the company, and be promoted to a project manager later in my career. Because of this, I always keep track of trends in the project management field.

One article that I found a while back can be seen here. It is a list of predictions for the project management position within organizations for 2016. CIO is a website I follow relatively regularly to check up on what is going on in the business.

While I will not bore you with a summary of the article, I would like to point out some predictions that I found interesting:

Shift Away from PM certification courses

Through my entire time at RIT, I was always told I was going to need a PMP certification at some point if I wanted to be a project manager. This course cost several thousand dollars to take, and is very difficult to complete. The author argues that this is no longer going to be a requirement for employers. While it is still going to be ‘preferred’, most candidates will not be turned down if they do not have it. This is good news for me, but also shows that the industry is shifting away from strictly academic learning, to actual experience.

Emergence of CPO’s

While this is was going to be the natural progression of the project management position, it is nice to know that it is coming soon. Great project managers are hard to come by, and invaluable to an organization when used properly. It is good to know that if I every get up to that level, there is a dedicated C-level position for me, without merging into a traditional CIO role.

– Julian Klimas

Racer Saftey

In the last decade, the safety of motorsport racers has quickly become the top priority and concern.  Racing speeds have become faster, tracks have become more intense, and the competitors have been pushing each other like never before. The motocross community has been no exception to this either. The bikes are faster, the racers are in the best condition that the sport has ever seen, and things that many thought would be impossible is now the norm. The safety of riders however has also taken an extremely sharp increase in concern and prevention. In the last few years, the sport made a huge leap in technology and safety when the 6D helmet was created.

Unlike most helmets, the 6D helmet uses ODS technology (omni-directional-suspension) to protect riders over the conventional styrofoam core. 6D’s revolutionary patented Omni-Directional Suspension embodies a fully active, in-helmet suspension and kinetic energy management system that protects rider’s in ways that other helmet’s cannot. These “pods” absorb energy from all directions upon impact, and disperse that energy  through the helmet rather that directing it towards the rider’s skull. This new technology has proven to be a major step in safety, and now almost every professional rider wears a 6D helmet.

At first, many people were skeptical of this new technology and did not believe that it was as effective as claimed to be. At one of the AMA Supercross races in Arlington Texas, Zach Bell, a young rider sustained a very serious crash in practice while wearing a 6D helmet. As Zach was going over the face of a large triple jump, his foot dragged on the lip of the jump causing him to be ejected from the bike and fall nearly 30ft to the ground, where most of the impact was taken to his head. He was able to get up under his own power and continue racing later in the night. Had Zach not been wearing a new 6D helmet, chances are he may have never gotten up from his crash. (

At roughly $800.00 each, the 6D helmet is not cheap. Many people have trouble justifying the cost, but in reality, it is a smart and reasonable investment. You can always buy new safety gear, but not a new brain and body. The safety of racers is not taken lightly, and proper prevention is taken at all costs. The 6D helmet has proven itself in the industry, and racers everywhere swear by it. In racing, proper preparation is everything, and nothing is left behind, especially when it comes to the safest gear.

-James Bedard

Licensure for Cardiac Sonography

Just like the changes that have gone on in the field of nursing, there are changes coming to the field of sonography. Currently sonographers have certifications which are proof of their competency and educational background. The field requires an ultrasound physics certification which is referred to as the SPI (sonography principles and instrumentation). Following this universal requirement for sonographers, they need to specialize within whichever field of practice they want to work in. In my case this refers to the RCS (Registered Cardiac Sonographer) exam.

According to the American Society of Echocardiography, there is a current movement which is pushing for cardiac sonographers to obtain a license. Currently there are only two states which are requesting the license. These are New Mexico and Oregon. It is projected that more states are to come.

When hearing this it may make sense intuitively but within the field of healthcare a license is typically only held by professionals who handle or dispense medications. This is a role which does not include sonographers and has led to some debate as to whether the license is something that makes sense for the profession. It will be interesting to see how this license concept progresses in other states. Currently the distinction for licensed cardiac sonographers is that it is required to perform stress echoes in the states which desire it. The increased risk during stress echoes and the need for a highly proficient sonographer to be able to obtain the required images before the patient’s heart rate falls below the 85% max heart rate threshold makes sense to try to minimize the number of studies which are non-diagnostic or falsely negative.

Only time will tell how this progresses and whether it is implemented in other states.

John Groves