Lamar University (LU) College of Engineering prepares students to ace skills-based testing in their future jobs. “Skills-based testing, especially programming, is a common part of the interview process for many graduate students,” shares Dr. James Curry, Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering. “In the last five years, the complexity of the interview process and testing of applicants has dramatically increased. Companies today want new employees to be able to contribute from the first day on the job. In response to corporate and job market needs, the department has developed new courses such as Python Programming, Automation (PLC), User Interface, and Machine Health.”
To maximise their employment opportunities, LU Engineering focuses on training students to lead digital transformation projects. LU Engineering offers a wide range of master’s and doctoral degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Engineering Management, and Civil Engineering. LU has low tuition and living costs. Most full-time graduate students receive some support via scholarships with in-state tuition or assistantships.
LU Engineering students are encouraged to take up relevant cross-department coursework as well. For example, the College of Business has unique courses in ERP with SAP, CRM with SAP, and Project Management with Primavera. Engineering and Computer Science collaborate on providing several machine learning and computer vision courses as well.
“We have modernised our labs in all departments and added a new Emerson Advanced Technology Centre with the most recent Delta-V control systems,” adds LU Engineering Dean Brian Craig. “The faculty and I are fully committed to preparing our graduates for the digital transformation.”
Vaibhav Chauhan, an Industrial Engineering graduate, is a beneficiary of this novel offering. “When I was writing my data mining thesis class, I had to use Python. Other courses, such as database and heuristic algorithms, also helped me to develop a programmer’s mindset.”
LU Engineering faculty members use software to develop interesting and exciting models, allowing students to be involved in real-life projects. For instance, Dr. Qiang Xu researches and teaches simulation and optimisation for improving efficiency in chemical plants, with over 100 journal articles published. One of his students, Dr.Jialin Xu recalls: “Back in school, I had many opportunities to engage in real-world challenges faced by industries which included multiple research projects and industrial technology courses. All of these have boosted my knowledge and prepared me for my current job, as a Process Optimisation Engineer.”
Another student Honglin Qu, who currently working for Enverus Inc. in Denver, Colorado, agrees. “Those projects pushed me to learn new stuff, try different methods and refine outputs to perfection, which was very challenging. However, such training is exactly what future employers value.”
The ultimate result of incorporating such skills within their curricula? Impressive rankings. LU Engineering ranks 20th as one of the best engineering schools in the country according to bestvalueschools.com. Payscale.com ranks LU among the top three engineering schools for return on investment and second-best for average alumni salaries.