Chicago Section Secretary’s Trip to Peru--Soft Skills: A Global Work-In-Progress

Posted: 1 Sep 2012

My passion for information technology (IT) has led me to many countries.  But none of the countries I visited so far paralleled my visit to Peru.  They have not even come close.  Although a small country, Peru has a big heart.  The first stop was the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) in Monterrico.

 

 

 

 

(Pictured L-R, Rosario Villalta, Vickie Peters, Luis Paucar, Maria Rios)

 

As I briskly walked through the campus, I could not help but notice the serenity and camaraderie--not only among the students, but also between the instructors and students as well. I had the opportunity to lecture the top graduating honor students in the Schools of Computer Systems and Engineering about soft skills in IT project management, and its role in professional societies, such as the IEEE.   

 

The next stop was the San Isidro campus of UPC, where I witnessed an electrifying Professor Luis Paucar in action, as he lectured his students on Java programming.    UPC continues to maximize the value of its curriculum, by strategically planning to optimize the educational experience offered to students.  They recognize the importance of teaching its students that business drives technology; hence, it is important to learn how to align technology with business goals. 

 

My last stop was the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in San Miguel, where I observed Programming Lab 1.   It was evident that the instructors at each university shared my passion for information technology.

 

As an officer of the IEEE Chicago Section Executive Committee, I had the honor of attending the IEEE Peru Section Executive Committee in Miraflores, where I was warmly received by Jose Duran, treasurer; Oscar Penny Cabrera, president; and Maria Chiok Guerra, vice-chair elect and WIE chair.

 

(Pictured L-R, Jose Duran, Vickie Peters, Oscar Penny Cabrera, Maria Chiok Guerra)

 

 The section held their luncheon meeting at the famous Chifa Kuo Wha, where I also had the pleasure of the company of the delightful Jose Valdez Calle, who is the former ICACIT Board chair, and also a distinguished IEEE Fellow.   At the luncheon meeting, I briefly discussed the importance of soft skills for IT project management, and the quest for researchers to quantify soft skills (Muzio, E., Fisher, D. J., Thomas, E. R., Peters, V. , 2007).  I shared the following statistics with attendees:

 

1996 ABET approved Engineering Criteria 2000 (Shuman, L. J., Besterfield-Sacre , M., McGourty, J. 2005): Included 11 criteria for professional engineers; five  hard skills; six soft skills

90-95% of performance issues are concerned with soft skills (Muzio et al. 2007).

 

 

 

(Pictured:  Vickie Peters)

 

 

There is a saying in Peru, “Miraflores en tu corazon”… I would like to personalize that saying, “Peru tu tienes mi corazon!” As I wrapped up my tour and IT research in Peru, I thought to myself, “Gee, with globalization being the trend, engineers without borders is so true!” 

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Vickie L. Peters is the IEEE Chicago Section Executive Committee secretary.

 

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