CYBERJAYA, 25 March 2022
A couple years back, news was abuzz with how 3D printing and robots were powering the largest furniture maker in the world, Ashley Furniture. Traditionally, a labour-intensive industry, a forward-thinking approach to automation that relies on robots and 3D printing technologies has helped the family-owned company thrive in a shrinking labour market. For example, instead of outsourcing the dozens of small parts necessary to equip robots with the right tools to make a certain kind of sofa, Ashley has found that it can create those parts in-house and in real time using 3D printing.
3D printing—also known as “additive manufacturing”—is the process of creating a three-dimensional object by applying, or adding, material in successive layers through the control of a computer. An entire industry is emerging around 3D printing. The 3D printing industry is encompassing more and more professions. In the field of 3D printing almost anyone can find a place for themselves.
With this in mind, an Advance 3D Printer Training Workshop was organised by UNIMY-MyRAS Robotics & Automation Centre of Excellence (UNIMYRACE) in collaboration with IEEE Robotics & Automations Society (IEEERAS). The programme provided participants with hands-on opportunity to not only use 3D printer but also learn about the 3D printing industry and its contribution to society.
According to one of the participants, “Once you’ve mastered the software, it’s a really fun way to create things. We now know that whatever pops into our heads could possibly also just start appearing in front of our eyes! Innovation is limitless!”
And indeed, the participants had fun! Through the workshop, the participants also had a better understanding of the degree pathway that could lead them to careers in 3D printing.
Briefly, 3D printing relies on skills and knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as art, making computer programming a solid option for students interested in the field. 3D printing professionals and enthusiasts use their expertise to write programs that produce solid structures of all shapes and sizes.
This is because one of the biggest concerns in the 3D printing industry is the need for better and, perhaps most importantly, more user-friendly software to design and manufacture 3D printing products. As a result, the industry has become a top destination for software development professionals. Software developers in this field will write code to help improve 3D printing products.
Therefore, those with degrees in either computer science or software engineering may specialize in programming language development, systems software, software architecture, or application development. The focus of these two fields of study interrelates in that both require the student to develop knowledge of computers, computer software and its various applications. The two fields of study, in essence, are overlapping circles on a Venn diagram, where each does indeed emphasize different areas of software development (one more practical, the other more theoretical), with a common focus on achieving a depth of computer and coding knowledge. Both, relevant knowledge if you plan to consider a career in the 3D printing industry.
That said, of course there are differences when comparing computer science versus software engineering While software engineering applies engineering principles to software, computer science applies scientific methods to software. Further, computer science seeks to solve theoretical problems, whereas software engineering tries to solve practical, real-world problems.
However, once you have completed a degree in either of this fields and start looking for a job, you might see many related options in the digital technology industry. These options usually overlap with each other in terms of job responsibilities.
So, if you are still undecided on computer science versus software engineering or debating between computing and engineering or wondering is a career in computer science really worth it or even why computer science is important, well wonder no more. As shared above, programming/coding qualification through computer science and software engineering is likely to be needed in the 3D industry and of course the digital technology industry in general. And of course, a background in Bachelor of Business Administration modules which provides you with a foundation in accounting, finance, marketing, management information systems, consumer behaviour and more is great if you are planning to market and sell the things you made through 3D printing. 😊
Check out the video on the training program here.