Engineering can often be a lonely pursuit. For all the talk of "teamwork" and "collaboration," most simulation engineers spend a significant amount of their working week alone in a cubicle staring (often blankly) at a screen while trying to unravel an almost intractable engineering problem. Although interaction with colleagues can often help, it's ultimately only your hard-work and ingenuity that will unlock the solution. While this approach to engineering can be very self-fulfilling, it's easy to become trapped in a "specialized silo" if you are only exposed to a specific set of problems and people. Without being exposed to new ideas and new approaches your productivity and problem-solving ability will begin to decline.
In his book "Seven Habits of Highly Successful People" Stephen J Covey writes about this and preaches about the need to continually "sharpen your saw" (the seventh of his habits). He tells the story of a frustrated lumberjack, who becomes less and less productive the harder that he works, each day expending more and more effort but delivering less and less wood. Noticing the decline in productivity, the owner of the lumberyard asks "when was the last time you sharpened your saw?", to which the lumberjack replies "I don't have time to sharpen my saw, I'm too busy cutting wood!!"
The moral of this story is that sometimes you have to step away from the grind of your daily work and invest in yourself. As a simulation engineer, one of the best ways of "sharpening your own saw" is by attending the Simcenter Conference. Here are some of the benefits of attending:
Improve Best Practice: although elements of your simulation process are probably "best-in-class," you can be confident someone else is doing parts of it better. By learning how other people solve similar problems to you, you can enhance your own productivity, and reduce your exposure to stress.
Cross-Pollinate: as well as learning from experts in your industry you will be exposed to experts and ideas from other application areas and backgrounds that will often give you a fresh perspective on your own problems. It will also inspire you to expand the scope of your simulation activity.
Build Communities: much more than just "networking," the Simcenter Conference will give you the opportunity to build career-long relationships with thought-leaders in the simulation community.
Educate Yourself: as well as sharpening your saw, attending the Simcenter Conference will teach you how to better use all the tools in your toolkit, and possibly show you how to use a few new ones. The Simcenter Conference includes a full day of training on all Simcenter products, with the ability to pick and choose sessions to build your own agenda.
Inspire Others: engineering is a vocation; most of us chose to pursue a career in engineering because we want to make the world a better place. You can influence and inspire the whole simulation community by presenting your work at the Simcenter Conference (the call for papers is still open).
The 2018 Simcenter Conference is an exciting three-day event that brings together simulation, test and design exploration in an industry themed agenda that contains over 100 presentations from simulation experts and thought leaders.