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Competent and Experienced Engineering Personnel - Only in Poland!

Does Poland have talented, skilled and world-renowned engineers? Yes, of course! In this regard, our country does not have the slightest reason to be ashamed. On the contrary, it has reason to be proud.

Rankings vs. Reality

It has more than 24 million inhabitants, covers 7,000 square kilometers, is one of the largest financial, economic and communication centres, and boasts the world’s third largest seaport , (after Rotterdam and Singapore) seaport… this is a description that fits only one city on Earth – Shanghai. The standing of China’s largest agglomeration is in many respects much higher than cities such as New York, Tokyo, London and Hong Kong, with which it competes continually for a more important role in the economy of the Republic of China. Shanghai stands out on the world map in terms of education.

In the city are headquartered as many as 27 universities and high schools (13 national universities, 13 public high schools and one private). Among them is one of the oldest higher education institutes, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, founded in 1896.

Graduates of the prestigious institution include, among others, Jiang Zemin, President of the Republic of China from 1993 to 2003. Since 2003, the university authorities, lecturers and some students have published the Academic Ranking of World Universities, also known as the Shanghai List. The ranking compilers justify their choices according to analysis of the workforce, the educational potential of students, prizes won in competitions, and the number of publications and articles in scientific journals such as “Science” and “Nature”.

Harvard University, founded in 1636, has long been the leader among the top five universities in the world. In 2016, the second and the third places were taken by American institutions – Stanford University (founded in 1891) and the University of California at Berkeley (founded in 1868). Just behind, fourth place went to Britain’s Cambridge University.

Two Polish universities were also highlighted in the rankings, although unfortunately a little lower – in the last hundred (between 401 and 500), and there has been a great decline in recent years. However, despite Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s assurances of high diligence in the analysis of each individual university, experts often criticise the rankings for the major lack of objectivity in terms of decisions taken. The list is seen as inaccurate, favouring fields in which Nobel Prizes are awarded. These fields include physics, chemistry, physiology and medicine. The Peace Prize and the Bank of Sweden Alfred Nobel Prize in economics are also given high importance, as are publications in prestigious magazines, such as “Nature” and “Science”. Taking this into account, it is very unfavourable to technical disciplines, and even to some extent discriminates against them.

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Students Have Won Prestigious Competitions

Design, construction, modification, facilitating daily life – these are things that maybe all of us tend to think about. This seems much easier to achieve when we have the appropriate education that will allow us to use apply knowledge more quickly and easily. In Poland, technical universities always leave the door open.

According to the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, there were more than 30,000 applications for popular science courses in 2013.. Because of the very large number of students, universities can often afford to choose those with the greatest potential and highest exam scores. This translates into numerous successes that rank not only as “discoveries” but can also be applied in everyday life. One does not have to look far to find such examples; here are a few worth mentioning:

In November 2016, during the international exhibition of inventions in Brussels (Brussels Innova 2016) students of Kraków Technical University won the gold medal for their special contribution to the development of tissue engineering. They developed a new use of aerogels, which finds its application in medicine. At the European Regional SPE Student Papter 2016 contest, students of other universities, including those in Kraków, were awarded for their description of a novel way to control gas condenser deposits. Now let’s move from the south of Poland: students from the Gdańsk Technical University received the EuroSymbol Innovation 2016 award for the design and execution of their anti-mine vehicle. Their project will be implemented for naval defence.

Potential is More Important than Money

Although funding for Polish science and engineering could be compared to half that of Harvard, the best university in the world, Polish institutions do not give up. And they are very good! Graduates often stand out in the international arena, with above average intellect and knowledge, allowing them to be good specialists in various fields. After all, had it not been for Paul Baran – an American engineer of Polish origin (born in 1926 in Grodno) – and his 11-volume scientific work in which he described the basics of distributed data flow available in many places in a network, we would not today be able to communicate with people on the other side of the globe with a single mouse click.

The internet itself, which can safely be called the most important invention of the 20th century, greatly expanded universal access to knowledge, new scientific publications, and even amateur contributions to internet forums. Thus hobbyists nurtured in Poland the desire to spread popularise ​​electric cars. They tried to even construct them.

Enthusiasts such as Paul Baran, who disregarded the scepticism of the scientific community about his prototype description of online stores, were viewed for many years by society at large with a touch of irony. Yet, in 2016, we can confidently predict that when Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors releases the fully electric Tesla Model 3 in 2017, it will be a great automotive revolution. The single charge mileage of the Tesla is expected to be up to 350 km, and at the same time it will have a price tag of approximately $30,000.

Polish engineers are now working on the construction and installation of charging stations for electric vehicles, across the country. Not only that, but Solaris, together with a group of Polish companies and technical universities announced in late November 2016 the development of a new Polish electric bus. Designing embedded systems, and the provision of engineering services and electrical engineering professionals, will therefore be the exclusive domain of companies in Poland!

Engineering as a Method of Problem Solving

The term “engineer” derives directly from an Old French word, which translated literally means “builder of war machines”. This definition is not misleading, because for many years the profession of engineer was closely associated with the military.

The history of the concept of engineering and its development dates back to the ancient era, thus to the invention of the wheel, and the crane and line, commonly known as “pulley”. Engineering is a specific branch of science, and not without reason; it focuses on practical issues, discovery, and inventions useful and applicable in everyday life.

Everyone probably recognises works such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon in Greece, the Roman Coliseum, the Pyramids at Giza, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (although in the latter case, we have only an idea of how they may have looked, for no physical trace remains). However, not everybody knows that they are considered the first achievements of ancient engineering.

The first electrical engineer, who did not have the opportunity to work at an electrical engineering company, but was nevertheless eminent in his service to this science, is believed to have been William Gilbert. It was he who discovered magnetism and the static electricity of bodies arising from friction. This scientist first coined the term “electricity”, in his extensive work “De Magnete”, published in 1600. Shortly after these breakthroughs came an era of great discoveries in the field of engineering, which saw the invention, among other things, of Thomas Savery’s steam engine.

Engineering as a field of science can be understood as the design and modification of solutions to problems. Engineering services companies, with knowledge of the properties of matter, energy and “abstract objects”, develop the technology by developing projects, machines and products dedicated to solving problems. There would have been no space exploration, no planned colonisation of Mars, if these two issues had not been addressed as problems. Engineering means solving problems.

The IT, automotive and energy industries, architecture, even fire safety… these are just some of the areas in which companies provide engineering services. Currently, they quite often  focus not exclusively on one industry, but have become more flexible and versatile. And the offices or call centres of these companies are often open 24 hours a day.

It is worth noting that Polish companies providing engineering services price their services much cheaper than their Western neighbours, despite having employees with comparable duties. Many engineering companies established in this country cooperate with international technology giants. Not only that, but branches of these companies are often located in university cities such as Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław and Warsaw. We receive nothing but praise internationally!

Offering a wide range of internships, practical experience, and help in writing engineering documentation, growing companies can gain workers who in the future will become competent engineers, programmers and scientists.

It may seem a little surprising, but electrical engineering was once considered to cover all technologies using electricity. For example electromechanics, which relates closely to the production, transmission and storage of electrical energy, was in the same group as telegraphy, telephony, and radio engineering. However, after the invention of the transistor and the vacuum tube, the scientists came to the conclusion that this reasoning was flawed, and assigned these disciplines to other fields – electronics, telecommunications and, later, computer science.

Specialist electrical engineering companies began to emerge at a rapid pace. Such companies often operate in many areas, for example, in transport (increasingly popular electric cars, electrical traction systems, railways, and electrical equipment for ships and other vessels), medicine (robots performing complex operations, pacemakers and insulin pumps), construction and industry (elevators and electrical machinery), service machines (ATMs and ticket machines), the military, and everyday equipment (TVs, washing machines and dishwashers).

Most workers at Polish electrical engineering companies hold European engineering certificates and higher education degrees related to this field. This means that Central European companies are fully competent to take on outsourced tasks. These electrical engineers work in extremely diverse environments, such as mines, power plants, corporate buildings and laboratories.

Electrical engineering specialists often supervise or approve construction projects, plans, etc. Test engineers design and modify electrical installations. They strive to keep every streetlamp operational, and quickly restore power throughout any neighbourhood in the event of power failure.

Embedded Systems Design

What would we do today without a calculator, an alarm clock or a washing machine? These devices are undoubtedly labour-saving, and, above all, they save valuable time. Almost all equipment of this type relies on embedded systems, or computer systems that are carry out designated target operations and form an integrated part of the device.

It should be noted that embedded systems design does not, for example, relate to the creation of the entire personal computer, which is multi-purpose. An embedded system must have previously established, specific, discrete and well-defined tasks.

The microprocessor, which is the heart of any such equipment does not many, or even only one job. The Apollo spacecraft was the first machine to have an onboard computer, which contained a designed embedded system. It is certain that, without such equipment, Neil Armstrong and his crew would not have set foot on the moon in 1969.

The massification of embedded computers closely followed their utilisation in the LGM-30 Minuteman I, the first US ballistic missile. Devices that represented the nuclear bogyman during the Cold War were ultimately withdrawn from service, and the technology used in them became of use to a much broader public.

Today, the main problem for is engineers is to design embedded systems that are smart, multi-tasking and capable of independent, automatic operation. Examples are the prototypes of domestic robots that are able to vacuum and mop the floor themselves, and automatic lawnmowers that do not require human intervention. Other areas and devices include:

  • Games consoles, televisions, and digital cameras
  • Mobile phones and switchboards
  • Guidance devices for planes and rockets
  • ATM machines
  • Air conditioning and thermostats
  • ABS
  • Kitchen microwaves and dishwashers
  • Alarm systems
  • Printers and photocopiers
  • Electronic alarm clocks
  • Calculators

The Best Engineers – Only in Poland

Engineering services companies - SII

Notwithstanding all else, Poland cares about engineering specialists. Although Western wages are tempting, the statistics do not lie. The median earnings of Polish programmers in 2015 was about PLN 8,500. Every engineer in the technical field knows their value.

A perfect example of this is Matthew, a third year student of computer science, who despite living in a smaller town does not complain about the lack of work: “I already work remotely, on a contract. There are orders already, and I can barely combine study and work. If I went to a bigger city or to another country I would a find permanent and well-paid job in a few days”.

Tom, an engineer and an employee of one of the largest corporations in Europe, adds: “It’s amazing how much potential young Polish people have; in some cases the smaller research and science facilities are achieving results well in excess of students and workers from other countries. We strive for honesty, reliability, competence and knowledge, which is constantly expanding when we leave for training”.

Other data show that almost half of the CEOs of 500 major companies operating in Poland are graduates of technical universities (“The CEO Forge”, “Rzeczpospolita” newspaper).

Good education, broad knowledge, scientific methods and point of view, experience, and creativity can help potential employees, or entire enterprises, to analyse and ultimately solve any technical problems encountered. History illustrates this perfectly, in the form of man whose name everyone knows, and who probably needs no introduction. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, fired a large group of some of his company’s best engineers in the 1990s.  The reason was probably the opinion of employees, that it was impossible to design and build the iMac (desktop). Steve Jobs explained himself in one sentence: “Because I am the chairman, and I think it can be done”. In 2012, Apple issued the seventh version of its computer with that same name.