Guest post by Daniel C. Conrad
In the past, a reliability engineer developed their skills over years of practice under a mentor.
Today, a reliability engineer is a jack of all trades and needs to be a master of them as well. Reliability has developed into its own science and is a discipline in its own right which crosses many fields of engineering, statistics, and physics. One way to show you have the broad understanding needed to succeed in the diverse field of reliability is the Certified Reliability Engineering (CRE) from the American Society of Quality (ASQ).
The CRE examination covers the entire space of reliability science through the CRE book of knowledge. This certification provides independent evidence that one is able to tackle the broad spectrum of reliability based opportunities many company’s need to navigate every day. These opportunities vary from product design reliability to manufacturing equipment availability to software reliability or robustness.
While the CRE is not the end of the reliability journey, it is a critical first step and shows one’s dedication to the science of reliability. To me, the CRE provides a foundation of skills and language that are crucial for a reliability engineer to be successful. It shows your dedication to the reliability sciences as this certification is considered one of the more difficult ones to obtain from ASQ. My observation is that those that are dedicated to achieving the CRE have no difficulty rising to the challenge of the certification exam.
What I look for in reliability engineer is a passion for learning and sharing their knowledge. In today’s environment, a reliability engineer has to not only have the technical understanding but also needs to be a coach and mentor within the organization to drive the execution of reliability methods into the products and services being developed. Obtaining the CRE to me is one action to demonstrate this passion regarding reliability. The CRE provides a level of credibility within and beyond the organization you work that allows one to change the level of reliability understanding and application in all projects. Therefore, the CRE is a foundational requirement any reliability engineer should strive to obtain. To maintain the CRE certification, a reliability engineer needs be engaged in continually developing their skills and knowledge. This comes from both learning from others in the field but also sharing their knowledge with others to increase their understanding regarding reliability. It is said a rising tide raises all boats. As a CRE you need to be the rising tide within your organization and industry.
The CRE requires one to learn the many aspects of reliability science and their application to customer driven solutions. The challenge for Reliability Engineers now and the future is to continue to improve the products and services they work with to meet an ever increasing demand for superior product performance and reliability at an exceptional value proposition compared to the alternative solutions.
This is a challenge that is worthy to undertake and will provide personal and professional dividends throughout your career.
Daniel C. Conrad, Ph.D., CRE, MBB
Engineering Director, Design Quality, Reliability, and Testing