The world is changing, technology is now intimately involved in almost everything we do, and engineers are at the forefront of designing, implementing, and improving the world we live in.
However, the skills engineers will need in the coming years are different to those used in previous generations. Technology has become more advanced, and will be a central component in any engineering job. Every sector will of course rely more on technology, but any engineer will need a solid grounding in software skills, programming, and the ability to work across multiple different platforms and devices.
Beyond that, engineers of the future will need to be flexible, able to work with different people across different teams as they solve complex problems with inventive solutions.
Programming is a skill that will only become more important for engineers as we move into the 21stcentury. As the Internet of Things grows larger and more pervasive, more and more everyday objects will be connected to the internet and require networking solutions to function as part of a wider world of technology.
Engineers will have to navigate complex webs of connectivity, attempting to make different systems mesh and work together seamlessly. Our phones, cars, fridges, and soon parts of our bodies will be smart technology, and engineers will be at the forefront of making all this happen.
The engineers of tomorrow will need an understanding of how all these items work on their own, as well as how they work in tandem with each other. Code is how these disparate items talk to each other, and engineers will need at least a basic understanding of the most used code languages. The more languages you know, or if you specialise in one to a high degree, you’ll be more employable as an engineer.
Engineers work with machines, and train their whole lives learning as much as they can about the world, how it works, and the various mechanical systems they use to improve that world. People skills can often fall low down the list of priorities to learn or improve upon, but engineering is increasingly requiring teamwork.
Having good communication and people skills is helpful for absolutely every career, but will start to become more important for engineers as they begin to work with other teams and other types of people who may not be engineers. More people will be using technology, and engineers will have to integrate themselves in teams with people who have entirely different skills to them.
Data is used in every field to make things more efficient or powerful. As this is basically the entire purpose of engineering, engineers will now be expected to use data to understand how to streamline processes, make machines faster, or to understand new avenues for growth.
Data alone doesn’t provide any solutions, that data must be analysed and understood in order for improvement. Engineers with strong analytical skills can help their departments become more efficient or help their products become more useful, and will be instrumental in refining and optimising future processes.
Engineers require creativity to do their jobs. Coming up with inventive solutions to problems is at the core of engineering. An engineer that cultivates creativity can solve problems in different ways, and will be able to adapt to change when necessary.
New problems will arise, and require creative solutions that may not be immediately obvious. Engineers can sometimes become reliant on industry standards, traditional practices, or assumptions that can be limiting.
Honing these skills can help you become a better engineer, and would look great on any CV.
Check out VHR’s Engineering jobs here.