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CDR Writing Style for Engineers Australia

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A competency demonstration report (CDR) requires migrant engineers applying to Engineers Australia to write three career episode reports (CERs). Here is an example of writing style for a career episode report (CER). This example is taken from Engineers Australia website. The purpose of the CDR is to demonstrate:

• how you have applied your engineering knowledge and skills; • that such application meets the competency standards of the relevant occupational category in Australia. Your CER is to be printed on A4 sheets, in English, in narrative form, using the first person singular and should describe the specific contributions you have made. This example is taken from the Engineers Australia Handbook – Chartered Status A HANDBOOK FOR APPLICANTS. You can download an electronic copy of this handbook from the Engineers Australia website. APPENDIX D

(For additional example CERs please refer to Professional Engineer
Career Episode Title: Switch Board Upgrade Acme Widgets
Competency Element Claimed
Dates of Career Episode: 25.02.98 – 3.10.98

The project consisted of upgrading the main switchboard for the Acme Widget Company. It was my responsibility to determine the total power requirements for the new plant, calculate the power consumption of the existing plant and determine the maximum available power supplied through an existing board and the 11kV/415V transformer.After analysing the available information, I deduced that at least three alternatives for powering the new plant existed. A separate 11kV feeder could be brought onto the site to energise a new transformer and main board, the existing main board could be replaced with a new board or the existing main board could be upgraded. The last two options required the feeder cables to the main board to be upgraded. Technically, all three options were acceptable, although the first two allowed for a greater flexibility for expansion in future years.

I prepared estimates for each of the options. The client engineer indicated that minimising the capital cost of the plant was of a higher priority than enhanced flexibility for expansion. On this basis, I issued a written recommendation indicating that, although other technical solutions existed, the upgrading of the main board involved the lowest capital cost and still provided the new plant with sufficient power requirements. The client accepted this option.I selected and sized power cables using Powerpack software. I simulated the limits in current-carrying capacity and length of runs on the basis of voltage drop using this tool. I also performed simulation of the maximum number of cables that could be installed on a single cable ladder and in underground conduits.For the PLC system I applied a functional specification already in use by our Company.

A subsection of this specification listed requirements of a Factory Acceptable Test (FAT) to be conducted at the configuration supplier’s premises. I designed this test, the aim of which was to provide the consulting engineer with a reasonable confidence in the PLC software before it was installed and commissioned on-site. In a controlled environment and using the same PLC system hardware configuration to be installed on-site, various input signals were generated through a test rig to simulate field instruments. PLC outputs were recorded to verify the intended operation of the PLC program, as specified in the functional specification. During the test, a number of problems surfaced with the configuration. The client engineer was present at the test and, after consultation with him, I gave recommendations and directions to the PLC programmer to overcome perceived problems and improve operation of the plant. E3.1 – Determines engineering requirementsC2.3 – Implements planning and design processC2.4 – Reviews the design to achieve acceptance

Signature of Candidate:

Candidate’s Verifier/s Name:
Engineering Qualifications: (or Engineers Australia Membership Number) I verify that the above narrative is a true account of the candidates own work Signature:

Writing Your Three Career Episodes
You are required to present a narrative on each of three separate career episodes.A career episode is a documented component of your engineering education and/or work experience which captures a particular period or distinct aspect of your engineering activity. It may be:

 An engineering task undertaken as part of your educational program; A project you have worked on or are currently working on; A specific position that you occupied or currently occupy; A particular engineering problem that you were required to solve.Each narrative must be in your own words. Do not present large amounts of technical material. It isrecommended that each narrative be a minimum of about 1000 words and a maximum of about 2000words.The narrative, being written in your own words, will also provide evidence to the assessor of yourcommunication skills. Please Note

Career Episodes must be written in the first person singular clearly indicating your own personal role inthe work described. Remember, it is what I did, not what we did or what I was involved in. Each narrative must clearly demonstrate the application of engineering knowledge and skills in theengineering discipline for which the applicant seeks recognition. Each narrative should emphasize anyengineering problems identified and any particular problem solving techniques used by you.

Thepurpose of this is to assess the nature of the contribution which you may have made to the engineeringproject or task – particularly if that contribution was of a novel nature or critical to the implementationof the task/project. Please note that it is not sufficient to merely describe work in which you wereinvolved. Your own role in the work must be clearly described by you, and be identifiable in theassessment.You must number each paragraph in each of your career episodes (ie. CE1.1, CE1.2… CE2.1, CE2.2… etc).This is necessary to construct the Summary Statement once you complete your CDR.Each narrative should follow the format shown below: a) Introduction

This introduces the reader to the narrative and should include such things
as: The chronology – the dates and duration of this career episode; The geographical location where the experience was gained; The name of the organization; The title of the position occupied by you. This section would be about 50 words.b) Background

This sets the scene and provides the context in which you were studying / working. It should includesuch things as: The nature of the overall engineering project; The objectives of the project; The nature of your particular work area

Career episode 3
a) Introduction
In this narrative I would like to describe my participation in the project “Archive Tracking System” for Ministry of Finance of Republic of Uzbekistan. This project took place in Tashkent. I participated in this project as a member of ASBT development team. The project started in March 2002 and was finished by summer 2002. b) Background

In the beginning of 2002 IT department of Ministry of Finance conducted an internal research and concluded that there is a need for a system that will track documents in their archives. This was just another step in the modernization and computerization effort declared by the government and president of the Uzbekistan. The purpose of this system is to serve as some kind of index to the vast archive of documents of Ministry of Finance. For example, some documents are kept in the archive up to seventy years.

I personally see this system as a “computerized library” of documents plus some additional features. Employees of Ministry of Finance in this case are users of this “library” since they are allowed to temporarily borrow documents from archive. This system also helps to identify documents with the expired retention period. Such documents are then removed from the archive and destroyed. Archive Tracking System reflects the internal structure of the archive.

It has following features:
Data editing
Tracking of the documents taken from the archive
Customizable access control to program’s functions
Multilingual interface with user editable labels.

IT department of Ministry of Finance provided us with the very detailed specification. Also they assigned a person to the project who we mainly contacted with. Project team for this program consisted only of two developers. We did not have an analysis team this time since all the research and the requirements analysis were done for us by the Ministry of Finance stuff. They also requested heavy comments usage in the code.

Our team was organized as follows:
1) Project leader (and developer at the same time)
2) Developer (me)

In this project my responsibilities included:
1) User management subsystem
2) Multilingual support
3) General coding
4) Writing parts of the User Manual
c) Personal Workplace Activity
The system is written in Borland Delphi 6 and uses Interbase 6 as a database. The only reason for this is that Ministry of Finance’s IT team prefers these two products. This was my very first experience with Interbase. Also I never programmed in Pascal or Delphi before, but since C++ Builder and Delphi share the same library – VCL it was only a question of learning a new syntax, which is not difficult after 6 years of C++ experience with its complex set of rules. I used a couple of books, our firm bought earlier for this purpose. Borland’s C++ Builder had been my primary development tool since 1997. However recently they modified at least two of their flagship products – Delphi and C++ Builder in a way that many of their users, including me, feel to be wrong. In fact they are effectively terminating C++ Builder product line. Thus I decided to switch to Microsoft’s Visual C++ .NET 2003.

My Involvement.

1) User management subsystem.
I designed and wrote a user right’s management subsystem for this program. Each user is identified by username and password. Any user can be a member of zero or more groups. Rights are assigned to groups. I tried to use Windows NT security as a sample, but I removed assignment of rights directly to the user. Also I didn’t include a “deny access” option since it was unnecessary for this particular system. I chose that security model for this purpose because I studied it earlier using MSDN as a part of my self-development activities. Rights control enforcement is based on a VCL concept and component: “action”. In action centred user interface design application logic is mainly encapsulated in actions and all relevant events such as button clicks and menu item selections are linked to their respective actions. Disabling the action also disables all controls associated with it.

I decided to use this feature to implement the user rights management. I assigned a unique ID to each action and used them to identify functions that can be accessed by the concrete group of users. Configuration is read from database tables. Of course it would be more correct to enforce security on the database level rather than on application level, for instance using Interbase users and groups table access control. However for this project it would probably be overkill since the system is not intended to withstand any serious hacker attack. User rights management is there to reduce user’s ability to unintentionally damage database integrity or interfere with other user’s work. Also this feature is used to customize the set of functions available to users through administration rather than through modification of application code.

2) Multilingual support.
According to the specification of this system, administrator must have a way to edit everything that is displayed as text in the user interface including report templates. This is because some users prefer to use either Russian or Uzbek (Cyrillic or Latin script) or even both. Delphi’s built-in support has not worked for us due to its limitations – users cannot alter everything, also even programmers themselves cannot access every text string in the application. So we consulted with Ministry of Finance stuff and decided to write our custom support. Although was quite an unexpected and significant increase in the amount of work to be done, we still found it to be feasible to implement this feature without increasing budget of the project and with only a slight project schedule correction.

This task was assigned to me. Actually I volunteered myself as I always do, since it is much more fun for me to do things that are not very trivial instead of doing routine visual programming. For this task I used the fact, that all component instances in VCL are organized in a tree-like structure. Since we can access the root of the tree – the application object – we can access any of its braches and leafs. I wrote a function that traverses the tree of controls and calls a handler for each type of control, supplying its position in the tree among other parameters to the handler. Each component is then referred by its name: Application.MainForm.control1.control11…controlnn. It later enabled me to create a user interface presenting all the names in the application in form of the tree which is much more convenient than, say, a list sorted alphabetically, because it groups controls in a natural manner expected by user.

Since this was the first time I cooperated with other developer working together on the single build unit, I proposed to use a concurrent version system (CVS). For this project we chose Borland’s Teamsource. Even this is not the best tool on the market for this purpose it did help us a lot managing our source files and documents. I also made some forms and reports, nothing special, just usual work. d) Summary

The program we created is used now on a daily basis in Ministry of Finance, users are satisfied with its performance and features a lot. Few bugs were discovered and quickly fixed. Even this was a relatively simple project I found the way to apply my knowledge and skills doing some more advanced things. In my belief the system benefited substantially from my input as well as from my colleague’s. I also demonstrated quick learner traits, as I became familiar with Delphi within a week or so.

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