- Special Pages
By Francesca Astorri
Doha: Engineering is now the biggest business and job market in Qatar: to support this idea is an expert in the sector, Dr Mahmoud Abdulwahed (pictured), Head of the College Requirements Unit (CRU) at the College of Engineering, Qatar University.
“Wherever you look in Qatar, you need engineers,” Abdulwahed said. Only 186 students graduated from the College of Engineering last year when the country needs tens of thousands of them, he said.
Talking to The Peninsula Abdulwahed explained that according to job market statistics, IT sector needs around 20.000 computer engineers in the next few years, the energy sector will need another few thousands in the next 2-3 years.
“Then there is the construction sector that is the new boom and it’s expanding quickly requiring more engineers every minute,” he added. The number of graduates coming out of the College of Engineering every year is surely not sufficient to respond to the demand of the country.
“Attracting more Qataris is a challenge and stimulating their interest in engineering from a younger age is a way to reach that goal” Abdulwahed said.
Talking about his personal experience, on how he decided to study engineering, he said that he was good at maths and physics and that he always wanted to be challenged, so engineering was his way.
If you ask Abdulwahed what he does, he will tell you that he is a 33-year old Syrian citizen who works in Engineering education, but talking to his colleagues they will tell you that he is the genius teaching other professors how to improve teaching methods.
“Experiential approaches and focus on design are now a new trend in teaching and learning of engineering, and research-based learning has come to Qatar as well” said Abdulwahed who is contributing to a research project investigating the future needs of engineers in Qatar by 2030 and more importantly what skills they need to be equipped with.
“We always search the best ways of using engineering for the society, and we now need a more inter- and multi- disciplinary engineers with a significant awareness of engineering’s social and economic impact,” he said.
Teaching engineering is not only about learning knowledge, but it’s now going more in the direction of delivering a product. Till 5 years ago the College of Engineering has been teaching-oriented and this is the reason why there is a very short research history.
Since Qatar wants to establish itself as a knowledge-based economy, there is a new need for production of research, and to have more focus on design, innovation and enterprising.
According to Abdulwahed around 65 percent of the faculty members in the College of Engineering are now research active, producing research articles that are published in international academic journals and conferences, showing that Qatar is already producing Made-in-Qatar intellectual products.