Engineer Professional Identity: For an Early Clarification of Student's Perceptions

Engineer Professional Identity: For an Early Clarification of Student's Perceptions

S. Rouvrais, N. Chelin (2010).  Engineer Professional Identity: For an Early Clarification of Student's Perceptions. 12.


Engineer diplomas greatly facilitate first job offers. However, uncertainty and indecision often result from freshmen appraisal of the career kaleidoscope. Some students struggle to identify career directions and therefore need some time before feeling committed and being operational within their curriculum. In light of this, it is advisable to disclose to students their career perspectives from the early stages of their curriculum, in order to give some meaning to their studies and learning. It is also essential to provide them with means which will enable them to participate actively in their own learning path, to build their future professional identity, and to plan proactively their future career.

In order to initiate student’s self-efficacy, our engineering school recently reformed its career preparation program over the tree years of the curriculum. In particular, it now integrates some workshops and active sessions which are listed in this paper and linked with the most recent CDIO syllabus. These new sessions were inspired, among other things, by the analysis of an activity deployed for students several years ago, for purposes of collaboratively surveying career directions. This previous activity is more specifically presented and discussed in this paper. Limits regarding its usability for freshmen are addressed herein.

As prestigious as it may be, the engineer diploma is a complement for practical internships. The professional path of an engineer is often closely related to the early professional experiences of his/her career, but it also depends on his/her education. The traditional French higher education system with its Grande Ecole model provides an interesting study sample with its outstanding freshmen whose career choice is often still undecided.


Authors (New): 
Siegfried Rouvrais
Nathalie Chelin
Institut Mines Télécom, France
Engineering education
personal and professional project
professional identity
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