While it’s true that many jobs require a bachelor’s or master’s degree, an associate’s degree opens up a wide range of career opportunities.
As introverts, INTPs may value their alone time and aren’t quick to let people in. They might be more interested in deep, meaningful connections, whether the relationship is platonic or romantic.
INTPs may appreciate a significant other who they can engage with on an intellectual level, notes Dr. Gaines. Characteristics of a preferred partner might include being open-minded, curious and able to engage in deep conversations. They may also want someone who can provide them the alone time they need.
“Although they may appear indifferent to a romantic prospect, they are secretly observing and documenting the actions and behaviors of those they’re interested in,” Hackston says. They opt to show their affection in more subtle ways.
“It’s important to note that INTPs may sometimes struggle with emotional intimacy and navigating the realm of deep emotions,” says Dr. Gaines. “They may find it challenging to express their own feelings or understand the emotional needs of their partners.”
Although they might not always be extremely outgoing, INTPs still value meaningful and strong bonds with others. “INTPs thrive on deep, intellectually stimulating conversations when forging new relationships, seeking out courses that spark engaging and even humorous discussions,” Hackston says. They prefer to have a close-knit, small circle of friends over a lot of less intense friendships.
As Dr. Manly notes, they are also spontaneous, flexible, fun and easygoing. “This can be difficult for those who prefer a more organized, pre-planned approach to life,” she says.
INTPs may appreciate when friends or family members provide them space and time to themselves. “They may approach family dynamics with a desire for autonomy and freedom of thought,” says Dr. Gaines.
While INTPs are not typically difficult to work with, they may not intentionally seek out friendships in the workplace either. “INTPs will interact well with coworkers but are generally on the quiet side and not prone to high levels of social interaction,” says Dr. Manly. They can be great teammates, and according to Hackston, they can make good leaders thanks to “their capacity to stay focused, Improve systems and create solutions, while remaining interested in learning other points of view.”
INTPs might be curious, analytical problem-solvers. They value meaningful relationships and intellectually stimulating conversations, and although they may struggle with emotional conversations or showing their affection, they can still make great romantic partners and friends. Thanks to their logical nature, INTPs thrive in careers where they can do a lot of thinking and learning. True introverts, they love having some time to themselves as well.
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A combination of advancing technology, shortages of skilled workers, and the need to make effective use of available employees is driving automation in medical manufacturing. According to an article by The Hartman Team, US manufacturing today has over two million unfilled jobs and those employers who fail to act now will face greater problems in the future. However, automated systems are complex and deciding where and how to apply them requires a complete understanding of the intricacies involved in equipment development and qualifications.
Addressing popular misconceptions
The prevailing perception is that automation eliminates jobs. However, automation aims to assist with tasks or allow redeployment of human labor to other areas. Rather than simplistic, repetitive tasks, employees can focus on jobs that require critical thinking and attention to detail, such as quality inspection. With automation, laborers fulfill roles that are safer, more interesting, and less physically taxing.
The benefits of automation include decreased production times and increased productivity in a world where customers expect quick turnaround times. Production can also be simplified and kept uniform allowing for more precise equipment quantification.
Automation also provides consistency by eliminating the potential for human error and injury. For example, overmolding requires force to seat the first shot properly, leading to operator strain and discomfort over time. Variability increases with personnel changes as operators may execute the same task differently. Additionally, if an operator becomes less focused on correct techniques and safety measures due to the repetitive nature of the task, the risk of human error resulting in injury and quality issues increases.
When designed and programmed correctly, machines are essentially perfect in that they are free from human error and inconsistencies. Automation helps manage large and unexpected spikes in customer demand, creating a stable baseline operation that is scalable enough to weather demand peaks.
Identifying opportunities for automation
Evaluating returns on investment helps companies decide where and when to deploy automation. An automation engineer analyzes the parts and procedures involved in production. A part’s geometry evaluated through CAD drawings is a primary consideration. Later in the process, 3D-printed models can show engineers how a part will move through the production process and the type of quality inspections needed. Production volume, including the number of parts planned and when they are required, is also a consideration. Programs running large volumes across multiple product lines will generate returns sooner.
Processing requirements are another major consideration. Some parts may enter processing directly after production, while others must be packaged at another location. To successfully evaluate all these fundamental considerations and their implications, manufacturing engineers must collaborate with customer design teams from the outset.
Making the investment
An automated system supplier’s primary goal should be to yield results precisely in line with client expectations. Working with the customer they must determine how much money should be invested in automation in order to keep the overall part price as low as possible.
Highly customized automated applications generally require the client to participate in the development investment, if not take it on entirely. The development costs of automated processes for more general tasks that apply to multiple programs and parts and/or used for multiple clients are more likely to see high investment from the supplier.
In some cases, automation may not be suitable, for example, when the profile and geometry of a part are particularly complex and require highly customized machinery. Automation may also be ill-suited for a manufacturer intending to make parts in low volumes.
Deploying automation with Trelleborg
When original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) partner with a provider using automation, they will usually gain access to several services. These include design reviews, 3D renderings of proposed designs, automation cells, and in-house tool shops that machine custom components for the application. This relationship between OEMs and component suppliers also allows for in-house access to companies that specialize in industrial controls.
An example of a custom automation cell deployed by Trelleborg utilizes a Fanuc LR Mate Robot to remove parts from the press and perform complex processing procedures. This machine uses a custom end-effector to move unmolded scope lenses through an air-based cooling cycle to a device that applies an anti-fog coating in a spray form.
After a brief rest period, the coating is cured with ultraviolet light before it is set aside for a secondary, longer cooling interval. Finally, the lenses undergo quality inspection to ensure that coatings have been appropriately applied. While operators are relieved of this repetitive, sometimes demanding task, the automated cell allows for precision, accuracy, and speed beyond human physical capabilities.
A new kind of co-worker
Trelleborg Healthcare & Medical strives to provide clients with the best automation solutions to update, streamline, and Improve their production processes. One technology Trelleborg utilizes today is collaborative robotics or cobots. Unlike traditional robots, cobots work closely with humans.
With rapid development and increased adoption, cobots’ collaboration with human operators has been enabled by extensive safety and detection measures, including static, impact, and overload detection. These measures enable the cobots to assist humans with the same task and share a workspace that an industrial robot could not. The cobots are also free from human error, save space compared to traditional industrial robots and help limit operational costs.
The future feels robotic
The fourth industrial revolution, based on the increasing digitalization of production, is seeing robotics and automation prove their worth, supported by the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence and increasing adoption of internet-of-things systems in industrial settings. Trelleborg already deploys an AI-supported, high-end visioning system to detect part variability and ensure that parts pass quality inspection. This is a prime example of how AI applications may significantly benefit high volume production operations, where their speed enables increased output while allowing for human labor to take on more appropriate tasks.
Automation enables human operators to focus on jobs that require greater skill, expertise, and attention to detail. It can decrease production times and increase productivity, create consistency, prevent injuries, and help manage demand spikes. There are many scenarios in medical manufacturing where the case for automation is already indisputable, and the trend toward automation will only increase. A knowledgeable provider effectively using automation can help clients make informed decisions about automation and partner with them for implementation.
Bar exams moved online during the pandemic, fueling attention to issues under discussion, such as widely varying bar pass rates from state to state, and large costs to graduates of prep courses needed even after three years of law school.
Law school administrators and members of the profession wrung their hands: Are we really turning out so many graduates incompetent to practice law?
Some modest reforms are under way. There’s a next generation bar exam on the horizon that diverges a bit from the old style. But a lot of state bars are still just thinking about it, and bar exam modifications continue to be (rightfully) criticized.
And in the midst of this debate, along came ChatGPT—never a law student—and passed the bar exam. Academia is in turmoil over the significant potential for AI-assisted papers and exams.
Out of the chaos sown by these developments, might we possibly reap a whole new perspective on how to train lawyers? It is, after all, overdue to reform legal education, which has changed only marginally for many decades.
Of course law students still need to learn legal doctrine, and how to find and understand case law, statutes, and regulations. And clinical legal education, which is now often a graduation requirement, has been a valuable addition to legal education.
But should law school consume three mostly-classroom years and then be followed by a bar exam that requires lots of memorization and lightning-fast essay and multiple-choice responses that don’t reveal the kind of in-depth thinking attorneys are called on to do? Especially considering the great expense in time and money for law school and then bar prep?
What should we be teaching and then, if not testing, evaluating? A long and well-researched report from 2020, “Building a Better Bar: The Twelve Building Blocks of Minimum Competence,” suggests a helpful framework to answer that question.
Most critically it focuses much attention on what we in the legal academy have mostly failed to teach: the real practice of law. It’s about time we do so.
Consider medical education. It begins with two years immersed in the textual, classroom, and lab study of subjects necessary to the practice of medicine. Then students progress to two years learning the clinical—the actual—practice of medicine, even before years of post-graduate residency training. And some medical schools are even introducing clinical practice into those first two years.
What would “medical model” legal education look like?
Lawyers for America, invented at UC Hastings (now UC Law San Francisco), is a model that provides students with a different route to learning to be a lawyer while simultaneously helping to Improve our country’s massive access to justice problem.
Ponder: Two years of classroom learning and a third year devoted entirely to a well-supervised externship with a legal nonprofit or government legal office. Given the current bar exam, summer is then devoted to study and the test, and then after the bar exam the fellows return for a full year of fellowship-paid work.
The participating organizations pay LFA enough to support the fellowship stipends—less than their cost of hiring a new lawyer, enabling the stretching of their always tight budgets. Bonus: They’ve already trained their new fellow for all of their 3L year. Supervisors are very committed to their training because fellows will soon be their colleagues for a year.
Our fellows so far have engaged in great public service through the program and have moved very successfully to careers. Many of the fellows have stayed in public interest or public service careers, some clearly achieving positions that just on the basis of grades and pedigree could have been difficult to obtain. Their excellent experience—and thus meaningful recommendations—has propelled them forward.
Can we do more to make law school-affiliated hands-on experiences not only necessary but sufficient for licensure as a lawyer? Or at least sufficient along with passage of a much-simplified written exam, perhaps focusing on a limited number of subjects chosen by each examinee from a larger selection, and with dramatically reduced emphasis on speed and memorization?
Alas, change comes hard both to legal educators and to bar examiners. We started LFA after a dean told us we should ask for forgiveness rather than permission, or the idea might never have moved forward. Other law schools have considered joining us and hit various barriers.
For their part, bar examiners have put together committees to recommend change, but things move slowly—if at all. A California Blue Ribbon Commission spent about two years and still couldn’t reach consensus on a non-bar-exam route to licensure. A subgroup of that commission has just prepared a lengthy draft urging a “portfolio bar examination” in hopes of obtaining full commission approval.
For a good starting point to consider change, law school administrators should look to the medical school model and take to heart the feedback in the “Building a Better Bar” report about the value of experiential learning in the careers of many law graduates.
We need to train lawyers for the needs of today, under the conditions of today’s world. Yesterday’s ways shouldn’t be forever.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg Industry Group, Inc., the publisher of Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg Tax, or its owners.
Marsha Cohen is a professor at UC Law SF. She taught podium classes and for many years supervised an extensive Judicial Externship Program which fueled her interest in “medical-model” legal education, on which Lawyers for America was built.
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When testing was simple, the inefficiencies involved in having independent testing efforts distributed throughout a company were acceptable, although not optimal. Today, these costs are less acceptable. The product-testing needs of various parts of a medical device company have always differed, and the increased sophistication of today's products amplifies those differences. Understanding such differences, along with the commonalities underlying all testing needs, is an important first step toward a different approach to product testing.
Developing an understanding of the drivers of product testing during R&D, manufacturing, and service phases opens the opportunity to extract lessons from the systems-thinking approach taken in the development of complex products. Testing relatively low-volume, high-complexity products from a top-down, system-level view is a paradigm shift for most companies. However, viewing overall product testing this way is a more complete, consistent, and cost-effective approach.
This article examines the fundamentals of a systems-based approach to the testing process. It identifies the benefits of a system-level testing model in medical products that have moved up the technical sophistication curve. The examples outline real-world challenges, demonstrating both the complexity of the problems and benefits that may be derived by adopting a systematic view of the test process.
Systems Thinking Applied to Medical Device Testing
Systems thinking entails taking a system-level view of the project under study, or more specifically, a top-down deconstruction of the product or process. In our experience, the range of R&D spending that the medical device industry typically allocates to testing is between 30 and 50%. Manufacturing has its own subassembly and system-level testing. Service group testing in the field or in the factory is used to verify product operation in the event of a field failure or to preemptively verify that no service is required. By any measure, that is a lot of testing. Central to much of this testing is the development of test software: board tests, component diagnostics, and functional and system tests. It is important to address whether the testing is comprehensive or overlapping and whether isolated parts of the company are developing the same tests for different users.
Traditionally, each department develops its own test capabilities, focusing on specific areas of responsibility. The enormous investment in engineering test specifications, procedures, and automation is often not leveraged by other parts of the company. The test applications may be manual or too complex for manufacturing staff to use. The tests most likely have been developed to look for specific design failures that are not deemed meaningful at the production stage. Or they may be too slow to be economical in the volume testing of manufacturing.
By the same token, manufacturing test capabilities do not address the challenges of product testing in the field. Manufacturing tests are optimized to quickly cull out improperly operating product. They are not designed to identify the source of the failure. In addition, the size of the manufacturing test equipment, or the trade-off between test speed versus flexibility, may also render the investment in subassembly testing useless to the rest of the organization.
Service test facilities are typically the last—and most sporadically—developed. It can take years to develop service test capabilities for high-end products such as imaging systems and clinical chemistry systems, which contain a large number of complex subsystems. In contrast, low-complexity products may have little or no support from a diagnostic perspective.
A system-level approach to testing in this environment would start with a composite view of what types of testing are required to fully evaluate a design, verify an integrated product, and diagnose component failure. If the test process is part of an integrated system that contains different users (use contexts) and different organizational needs (drivers), it may be useful to think of it as analogous to a complex system design. These different use contexts (e.g., R&D's need for depth and flexibility focused on verifying design and completeness compared with manufacturing's need for coverage and speed with a focus on pass-fail) drive the tests needed to support different parts of the organization. And there may be other use contexts, such as integrated diagnostics that the end-user may access, that require simplicity of operation and communication of steps to diagnose a problem. Built-in tests can verify product performance integrity upon start-up.
Although at first these use contexts may seem mutually incompatible, after synthesis into an integrated system, it is possible to find areas of commonality across these different contexts. An overall test approach allows definition and creation of test modules that are usable in different test contexts. Tests may include board tests from R&D that provide the basic functionality for subassembly test or software unit tests that provide the basic diagnostics required by service. Once the concept of a testing system is constituted, any core testing capability may be defined with modularity and interoperability. This allows interdepartmental leverage of test components in much the same way that it is possible to drop an Excel spreadsheet into a Word document.
There is a limit to how integrated the test system can be. However, there can be tremendous leverage across development, manufacturing, and service test systems. To see this in practice, look at a simplified example of a moderately technically complex product. The product comprises several control boards, each with control logic and a programmable gate array (a semiconductor device that allows for hardware function to be put into a design without use of conventional software). The boards are integrated into a product that has a control application running on a conventional PC platform.In a traditional test environment (see Figure 1), the electrical group of R&D would develop test protocols to verify the board logic. A separate effort would be focused on verifying the gate-array design to ensure that the board behaved in the proper predictable manner. The software group would develop its control and application code, hopefully developing unit tests to verify various control modules, with special effort focused on verifying software-hardware interaction. The software quality engineering group would look at the system requirements and develop tests to verify the software design. In many cases, this test represents the overall system test of how the software and hardware behave when integrated.
Assuming that the product passes these tests, the product would be released to manufacturing. The manufacturing test group would have been developing its own tests, focused initially on individual boards as they come out of subassembly test (or incoming inspection if assembly is outsourced). The product would then be integrated and the manufacturing test group would run a test suite that verifies product operation as a final test before shipping. Depending on product volume and complexity, final testing may only take a few minutes or may last several hours or days. The service group is the last group to address any problems with the test. Upon release, there are often only rudimentary test capabilities—typically manual tests requiring technical skills. Over time and continuous product releases, a suite of tests is accumulated, sometimes with correlated data to aid in the diagnosis of a problem.A systems approach to product testing would be fundamentally different, requiring a strong understanding of the interrelated nature of product tests. As illustrated in Figure 2, a system-level view of all significant test needs is assembled. Core elements of testing revolve around hardware testing and diagnosis and system functional testing. As shown in Figure 2, both R&D and service may need low-level, flexible access to hardware diagnostics. The software organization and subassembly test groups may need to verify the operation of embedded software and board electronics.
As product configuration changes over time, an encapsulated-board test approach isolates both the automated regression testing required by R&D and the automated final test in manufacturing. It may also be beneficial to tie service diagnostics to data collected in subassembly or final test in manufacturing. A systems approach to this problem allows similar test needs to be addressed by reusable components. A software module that is developed to implement a full hardware design test can easily be used as part of a service application tasked with looking for failed components. Modules developed as part of an automated regression test may provide the basis of a final product test. A module developed to verify a gate-array design could be applied to a subassembly test to verify board operation.
There are environments in which reuse across departments will be limited. For example, in high-volume production environments that use automated test systems (ATEs), reuse may be limited due to differences in run-time environments between development and the ATEs. Even with this limitation, reuse of test documentation and designs, standardized failure-mode terminology, and common test data formats have small beneficial results. And, in nearly all cases, there can be direct reuse of R&D test modules within a service diagnostic application, accelerating the process of developing sophisticated failure analytics.
Approaching Testing from the Systems PerspectiveAfter identifying the potential contexts of testing, the overall system must be evaluated for areas of commonality and variability. Tables I and II show a typical, but not exhaustive, list of these characteristics. Looking at these tables, it is clear that there is significant commonality in the testing needs of the various parts of the organization. In most cases, manufacturing needs faster, easier-to-use implementations of R&D tests. These manufacturing tests are similar to the black-box tests developed by R&D, in which all functional subsystems and interconnects are verified. In fact, the low-level test primitives often can be identical, but their assembly and the interaction between them must be different.
The reason for the different interaction is that despite the similarity in test functions, the various groups have widely varying goals. R&D wants detailed system access for verifying module designs. Service needs identification to a field-replaceable unit. Manufacturing needs to rapidly identify failed components and identify either a vendor problem or one in the production or manufacturing process. These differences can be explained using the example of a board-test application. In R&D, board-test applications are highly interactive, allowing the engineering staff to individually access specific elements on the board, namely the activating signals, and read outputs. Each low-level component of the board must be individually accessible in order to verify board functions.
In service, the interactions may be similar but the application typically guides the technician to perform specific tests in a specific sequence as the diagnostic process progresses. The goal is to systematically evaluate board operation looking for a board-level failure. The manufacturing test application, while performing all the low-level functions available in R&D, must perform the test in an automated fashion with a rapid test result. All of the complexity of the component test is hidden below the application interface.
The Benefits of a Systems Approach to Device Test Tools
Identifying the opportunity to use a systems approach to testing is the first step. Designing a test system and process that accommodate reuse of common test assets requires the use of system analysis methodologies. It also requires a strong understanding of how to design system architecture. Although a detailed discussion of system architecture is beyond the scope of this article, key characteristics of the approach are worth mentioning.Tables I and II provide simplified views of the areas of overlap and the differences between the various use contexts. In addition to this analysis, a more detailed understanding of the system drivers and complexity drivers of these different contexts must also be developed. In essence, system drivers are characteristics required to make the system useful to the user, and complexity drivers represent characteristics of the system that make it difficult to create. Tables III and IV list examples of these drivers. The similarities among the requirements of the various contexts and the differences between their system and complexity drivers are strong indicators of a product-line approach to the system. Over the past decade, there have been advances in how to design product-line architectures and the development of a strong academic underpinning for the objective evaluation of various architectures for specific business and system drivers.1,2 Using these formalized methodologies leads to the development of an architecture that accommodates having different parts of the organization, to design of test components that maximize reuse in support of different user goals.
The identified complexity drivers of the various user contexts directly translate to the architectural design of the test platform. These user contexts include flexibility and deep access for R&D, speed and simplicity for production, and interactive directed workflow for field service. Ensuring that early decisions in the development of the test platform support, not preclude, usage modes by other groups guarantees that additional functionality required by those groups can easily be integrated into, or layered onto, the previous test platform framework. Real benefits, in terms of the robustness of the test platform, the cost of development, and the time line for test platform availability, can accrue directly from this approach.
Such platforms can be designed to allow for the integration of new capabilities over time, with these new capabilities designed to be built on existing infrastructure and functionality. Using this approach, the manufacturing test group can quickly understand of the preexisting test support developed by the R&D test group.
The definition of testing primitives that provide the lowest level of system testing (such as the verification of hardware control functions), along with complete technical specifications of how to exercise this functionality, can be provided to the manufacturing test group as a starting point for its test development. The test platform system architecture should specifically address how to augment the test system with additional tests or testing capabilities such as life-cycle tests, automated system tests, advanced diagnostics, or creation of a test database.
The manufacturing group need only add the missing test functionality required to support its specific needs. It is also possible to design the system in a distributed manner so that new capabilities integrated by other groups use the core functionality but do not interfere with or modify the testing environments of other parts of the organization. Additional functionality, such as support for setup of product localization, device serialization, and integration into the enterprise resource planning system, can be plugged into the existing test platform backbone.
Functionality to support product servicing can also be added with the major advantage of much simpler integration to the manufacturing product database. This connection enables more fluid interaction to determine as-built configuration and initial manufacturing test data and results.
Ultimately, it is feasible to design a test system that supports all stages of the product life cycle. It should not exist as a single monolithic application, but as a coordinated, interacting system, with defined interfaces and shared functionality.
Systems Thinking in Test Suites
An example of this integrated testing approach can be seen in a manufacturer of a remote surgical device. The product exhibits the characteristics of a low-volume, high-complexity
medical device. As the capabilities of the device increase with product evolution, the control board design techniques also evolve from discrete integrated circuit devices to field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). These arrays are programmed to provide a wide variety of hardware functions—a boon to board designers and a bane to board and system testers. The flexibility of an FPGA supports dramatically increased capability in very small packages, but for tests to be effective, it requires a completely different approach to the development of board test functions.
To thoroughly test the control board, a complete understanding of the systems architecture, the interface between the software and hardware, and the various use modes of the control hardware are prerequisites. In essence, much of the software functionality developed in the product must be duplicated in order to test the functionality of the control board.
In order to verify the control board design during the development program, the R&D test engineers developed a full suite of low-level test functions. As expected, these tests Tested each board requirement in each operational mode—a task that entailed years of effort to complete.
When nearing completion of product development, the manufacturing test department initiated its preparation for production tests. The group started by developing subassembly tests to verify the new control boards as they came out of board assembly. However, the group quickly realized that developing tests to verify these boards was a nontrivial task. It was impossible to develop board tests without a complete understanding of how the boards were to be used in the complete control system.
Once this was recognized, an effort was made to leverage the test tools utilized by the development organization. However, those tests had been developed solely from the perspective of requirements-based testing for product development. There were a large number of test tools and manual procedures that met the quality system regulation requirements for R&D testing but were of little value outside of that environment.
The manufacturer decided to develop a test platform that met the requirements of production and field service. Additionally, it decided to support the R&D requirements and ultimately to provide faster development turnaround for product enhancements that were anticipated throughout the product life cycle.
In another example, a manufacturer of a blood glucose meter incorporated production testing into the planning process from the outset. The development of a next-generation device was undertaken several years ago, with the expectation of building a product that would support five to seven years of enhancements. Although the device itself is much simpler than the remote surgical device, the extensive configurability and globalization support considerably drove up the production testing complexity.
At the outset of the development program, the company decided to develop the test platform so that it could follow the device into the manufacturing environment and beyond. The platform was conceptualized to be a test, configure, and verify suite, responsible for verifying hardware and analytical elements of the meter.
To support production, the test platform was also extended to allow for automatic configuration of the device for shipment to various geographical regions. Additionally, the platform could store the initial test results in a centralized database. The integrated test capabilities developed to support R&D were encapsulated to support the production functionality in an automated mode. They were also used in the development of a directed-workflow diagnostic system. This functionality supported problem identification during manufacturing, and was used to service returned product.
The effort to use a systems approach resulted in a single testing system with the ability to perform complete R&D tests, as well as supporting both manufacturing and service.
Properly testing high-complexity medical devices is an increasingly difficult task. The development of manufacturing test tools and platforms is expensive in terms of time, money, and skilled labor resources. With competitive pressures mounting, a streamlined process to facilitate the rapid and cost-effective development of manufacturing and service test tools can make the difference between a successful product launch and one that does not achieve anticipated market penetration or revenue expectations. In addition, costs associated with the potential liability from the launch of an insufficiently tested product into the marketplace make the case for a systematic approach to the testing of safety-critical, software-based products even more compelling.
Changing to that approach takes effort because it requires pulling together siloed organizations. But the benefits are real, and can be very large. Properly conceived and developed, such test platforms can provide exceptional support throughout the life cycle of many products in an integrated product line.
Timothy Bowe is co-CEO of Foliage, a consulting firm in Burlington, MA. He can be reached at 781/993-5500.
1. Timothy Bowe and Charlie Alfred, “Formulating Product Family Architectures: Techniques for Analysis & Strategy” [online], white paper; available from Internet: www.foliage.com/thought-leadership/whitepapers.php.
2. Paul Clements, Rick Kazman, and Mark Klein, Evaluating Software Architectures: Methods and Case Studies, (Boston: Addison Wesley, 2002).
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While it’s true that many jobs require a bachelor’s or master’s degree, an associate’s degree opens up a wide range of career opportunities.
Often, having an associate’s degree can help you land jobs that pay $35,000 and up — with the average salary of someone with an associate’s degree being $59,000.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 15 great jobs you can get if you have an associate degree. We'll also provide you some useful tips you can follow to make your resume stand out so you can land the job easier.
What jobs can you get with an associate degree?
Before we get into the job suggestions, let’s first discuss what an associate degree is.
An associate degree is an academic course taken at the undergraduate level (the first stage of education taken after school). It aims to provide students the fundamental knowledge and skills they need to get a job in their chosen field.
Usually, these degrees take two years to complete. It can be taken at community colleges as well as vocational or technical institutions.
Here’s a list of the top 15 associate’s degree jobs. The list includes medium-to high-paying jobs with an associate’s degree.
Office managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of a company’s offices. They must organize operations and procedures and ensure that staff members have everything they need to keep processes running without a hitch.
Some of their duties include designing filing systems, organizing meetings, assigning clerical functions, and more. The top skills of office managers include people management, policy development, and communication.
On average, office managers earn around $51,000 per year.
Educational requirements: Associate Degree in Business Administration
Computer programmers write, adjust, and test code to create functional computer software and applications. They’re responsible for turning designs created by software developers into code that computers can follow.
Depending on the role, their primary duties include writing new software, providing support by creating new versions of older software, testing their code before release for any potential bugs, managing databases, and more.
They need to have excellent analytical skills and problem-solving abilities. They also need to be able to follow instructions properly to ensure working applications.
Computer programmers earn an average of $68,000 per year. However, some employers may need you to have a bachelor’s degree or several years of previous experience to reach this level of compensation. Therefore, you may need to pursue additional education or experience.
Educational requirements: Associate Degree in Computer Science
Web developers create and maintain websites. They’re in charge of the site’s overall performance. Thus, they need to handle all technical aspects. This includes improving the site’s loading speed and navigation to create better user experiences.
Top web developers need to have strong numerical skills, be highly creative, and have the ability to come up with and follow logical approaches. They also need to pay strong attention to detail.
On average, web developers earn around $61,000 per year.
However, some employers may require a bachelor’s degree or several years of experience to earn this salary. Thus, having an associate degree will likely get your foot in the door. But, to achieve higher compensation, you’ll need to seek more education or experience.
Educational requirements: Associate Degree in Web Design and Development
Healthcare and fitness careers
Registered nurses are responsible for taking care of patients’ needs. They work alongside doctors and follow instructions to provide patient care, educate patients, and offer emotional support.
Some duties include assessing patients, recording symptoms and medical histories, preparing patients for exams, and more.
Registered nurses need to be great at critical thinking and problem-solving. They also need to work well with others and have excellent communication skills.
Registered nurses earn an average wage of $70,500 per year.
However, specific skills in the medical field can increase their salaries drastically. For example, documentation, nuclear medicine, and interventional radiology skills can increase their earnings by 19%–26%.
Educational requirements: Associate Degree in Nursing and state licensing
5. Occupational therapy assistant
Occupational therapy assistants work alongside occupational therapists to help patients develop and recover their skills needed for living and working.
They perform several clerical tasks, such as maintaining supplies and recording patient information.
They also work directly with patients — explaining how special equipment works, preparing them for treatments, and more.
Some of the top skills occupational therapy assistants need include interpersonal skills, physical strength, and the ability to pay close attention to detail.
Occupational therapy assistants earn an average of $47,000 per year.
Educational requirements: Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant
Medical assistants work at hospitals, doctor offices, and medical practices to support doctors with administrative tasks and patient treatments.
Their daily tasks include providing care to patients, making calls and sending emails, ordering supplies, and more.
Medical assistants must be great at multitasking, organization, and customer service. They also need critical computer skills to help maintain databases and electronic medical records.
On average, medical assistants earn an annual wage of $37,500.
Educational requirements: Associate Degree in Medical Assisting
Dental hygienists clean teeth and examine the oral health of patients. They look at oral areas, the patient’s head, and neck for signs of oral disease, and they perform preventative dental treatments.
Some of their duties include examining teeth and gums, cleaning teeth, and providing patient education. Good dental hygienists need to have expert knowledge of dental conditions, strong motor function, and the ability to pay great attention to detail.
Dental hygienists earn an average salary of $63,500 per year.
The longer you work as a dental hygienist, your salary will increase. Dental hygienists with 10–19 years of experience earn around $5 more per hour. This equates to nearly $1,000 more per month and $12,000 more annually.
Educational requirements: Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene
Fitness instructors are responsible for taking on one-on-one clients and providing them with workouts and meal plans. They must oversee the completion of exercises and routines to ensure clients succeed.
The employment of fitness instructors is predicted to increase by 19% from 2021 to 2031 — which is much faster than average. Thus, this is an excellent profession to get into with great job security.
The best fitness instructors have approachable personalities, a good level of physical activity, and the ability to inspire others.
Fitness instructors earn an average salary of $48,500 per year.
Educational requirements: Associate of Applied Science in Health Fitness Specialist
HVAC installers, also known as HVAC technicians, are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing air conditioning and ventilation systems.
Some of their day-to-day duties include diagnosing mechanical and electrical faults, cleaning systems, performing warranty services, and more.
They need to have a strong and in-depth knowledge of the residential and HVAC industry. They also need to be strong problem solvers and be great at managing their time since they’ll work with multiple clients.
HVAC installers earn an average of $52,500 per year.
Education requirements: HVAC Technician Associate Degree
10. Architectural drafter
Architectural drafters create technical drawings from the designs of engineers and architects. They need to incorporate measurements and building codes into their drawings so that architects and contractors can build functional structures.
As part of their job, they need to visit job sites to determine the types and quantity of materials required to build these structures.
Architectural drafters earn an average yearly salary of $48,500.
However, specific skills can increase their salaries. For example, Adobe Design, Adobe Illustrator, and computer-aided design skills can increase their earnings by 18%–23%.
Education requirements: Associate of Applied Science in Drafting and Design Technology
Food, law, education, and other careers
Chefs are responsible for leading, mentoring, and managing culinary teams. Some of their duties include planning menus, creating prepping lists for the kitchen crew, and managing inventory.
They also need to taste dishes to maintain high standards and develop new recipes. As a chef, you’ll work at restaurants or in hotels.
You’ll need to work well under pressure since the food industry is extremely fast-paced. You’ll also need to be creative to create delicious recipes and exciting menus.
Head chefs earn around $50,000 per year.
Education requirements: Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
Paralegals help lawyers and attorneys with case planning, development, and management. Some of their daily tasks include doing legal research, interviewing clients, and drafting legal documents.
They’re also responsible for administrative duties, such as organizing case files, maintaining a legal library, and more.
To be a great paralegal, you need to be detail-oriented, able to multitask, and have excellent memory to excel at research duties.
Paralegals earn an average yearly salary of $51,000.
However, the more experience and skills you gain, the more you’ll earn. Paralegals with 5–9 years of experience earn around $12,000 more per year than those with less than a year’s experience.
Educational requirements: Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies
Preschool teachers are responsible for teaching preschoolers by developing programs suitable for them. They need to employ several teaching techniques, such as storytelling and educational play, to teach children.
Furthermore, after the initial teaching phase, they need to track children’s progress, Improve their skills, and help build their confidence.
Some essential skills that all preschool teachers need include patience, storytelling abilities, classroom management skills, and a commitment to teaching the children to the best of their ability.
Preschool teachers earn an average of $35,000 per year.
Education requirements: Associate in Early Childhood Education
14. Funeral service worker
Funeral service workers help grieving families determine the locations, dates, and times for funerals or memorial services. They handle most of the details and help families decide whether a body should be buried or cremated.
To be a funeral service worker, you need to have business skills, be compassionate, and have excellent time-management skills since you’ll be working with several clients at a time.
On average, funeral directors earn a yearly salary of $50,000.
Educational requirements: Associate Degree in Mortuary Science or Funeral Service
15. Air traffic controller
Air traffic controllers need to ensure the safety of aircraft. They do this by directing aircraft efficiently to minimize delays.
Their duties include managing the flow of aircraft in and out of the airport, guiding pilots during landings and takeoffs, and tracking aircraft when they’re in the sky.
Some key skills in air traffic controllers include decision-making, communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.
This job comes with high levels of responsibility since it can be the difference between life and death. As such, compensation is very high. Air traffic controllers earn an average of $95,000 per year.
Educational requirements: Associate of Applied Science and Air Traffic Aptitude Test
How to create a resume that stands out
If you already have an associate degree and are looking to apply for a job, you must ensure that your resume stands out.
A great way to do this is to include your hard and soft skills on your resume.
Including these skills on your resume will Improve your employability and show prospective employers what you can bring to the table.