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Ryan E. Day

Metrology

Extreme Failure Mode and Effects Analysis

Design it, shake it, crash it. Shoot it?

Published: Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 11:54

'Pssst! Hey kid, ya wanna be a metrologist?"..."Uh, what's a metrologist?"... "Ya get paid to measure stuff."..."Sounds kinda boring." So it goes at colleges and universities all across the United States.

The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—collectively known as STEM—just don't seem to draw new students like business, social sciences, and history. Maybe the aspiring young academicians just aren't aware of the exciting career opportunities available to STEM field graduates. Let's take a lighthearted look at what STEM graduates may have to look forward to in their career futures.

Some lucky STEM graduates go on to work as metrologists. Besides sounding downright sexy as a career field, metrology has endless real-life applications, as the good folks at VSL (the National Metrology Institute of the Netherlands) illustrate in this hypnotic video:

Top innovators understand the Deming-ism, "You can't improve what you can't measure," and all employ metrology ninjas operating under the guise of "test and measurement professionals." Real-life metrology ninjas—such as the good folks from the University of Washington—work on real-life issues like a pre-tensioned concrete bridge support system that reduces on-site construction time and minimizes earthquake damage. This short clip shows the fun part:

The aerospace industry also depends on top-level metrologists in developing and testing new airplane designs. As the Boeing flight test team would say, "No engine? No problem!"

Auto manufacturers, such as the Ford Motor Co., employ metrologists by the thousands, measuring the limits of everything possible:

In fact, metrology is key to every area of improvement imaginable.

Want it faster? Hire a metrologist:

Want it tougher?

Stickier?

Business degrees are far more popular than STEM degrees—but anyone can become the next Donald Trump. The real thrill, though, is in test and measurement. If you stay in school and play your cards right, you may reach the very pinnacle of metrology and engineering—"extreme" failure mode and effects analysis:

The trick, of course, is finding someone to pay you for it.

Discuss

About The Author

Ryan E. Day’s picture

Ryan E. Day

Ryan E. Day is Quality Digest’s project manager and senior editor for solution-based reporting, which brings together those seeking business improvement solutions and solution providers. Day has spent the last decade researching and interviewing top business leaders and continuous improvement experts at companies like Sakor, Ford, Merchandize Liquidators, Olympus, 3D Systems, Hexagon, Intertek, InfinityQS, Johnson Controls, FARO, and Eckel Industries. Most of his reporting is done with the help of his 20 lb tabby cat at his side.