Joseph E. Bonadiman, PhD, PE, writes on Experience versus education in forensic engineering:
The practicing engineer, that professional who keeps a pair of work boots in the back of his sedan and who has hands-on experience with every stage of a project, might at first seem a distant second choice to the gilded aura of the academic expert. This individual would have less experience presenting or discussing complex engineering concepts with anyone except other engineers who already grasp the subject. Technical terms might be difficult for an engineer to convey in a way a layman would understand; on the other hand, it is not impossible to conceive of a practicing engineer as having attained sufficient social qualities that enable him to competently relay complicated information in an understandable way. For example, he may be a principal in an engineering firm where he makes presentations to private and public entities. Regardless of the way he comes about his mixture of qualifications, is that mix enough to make him the best choice for an expert witness?
Excerpted from The Forensic Examiner, Winter, 2007