To become an engineer, you’ll need technical training and education to a high level. Most engineers will have a bachelor’s, master’s and even a PhD. But beyond that, a variety of ‘soft’ skills can help you get a job in engineering, or progress in your engineering career.
You’ll need to be a master of your craft, and knowledgeable in both practical skills and theoretical concepts. You’ll need to keep your skills sharp, learn the newest techniques and theories and focus on growth, efficiency, and creativity throughout your engineering career.
The following skills are just as important as your technical knowledge and must be maintained and improved to climb the engineering ladder.
As an engineer, you need to be able to express complex ideas and designs as simple concepts. Communication is key to doing this well, especially when dealing with someone who is not from a technical background. You can do this through effective communication, a skill engineers may not get to practice as much as those working in other sectors.
When presenting new designs and projects, having a clear message will help win approval and new business. Communication, whether written or verbal, can help teams be more effective, allow you to be more understood and help with your engineering career progression.
No matter what industry or role you find yourself in, you’ll be relying on other people to get the job done. Being part of a team makes work easier, you can lean on them when you need to, and help driving people forward towards a common goal.
In engineering, you’ll likely be part of a team working on just one section of a larger whole. Your work builds together, with everyone providing a different skill and taking care of a different task. Collaboration leads to a healthy and efficient team, and a much nicer place to work.
Read our blog on How to Get a Job as an Engineer.
An important skill for an engineer to learn is how to effectively plan their time. You’ll be working on a variety of tasks of different importance, and it will be up to you to determine which are most critical and should be done first. How long will a given task take? Is there a way to do this more efficiently? This may later expand to overseeing a team and understanding how all these moving parts fit together will make you a better leader. Planning gives you a higher degree of control over your time and is a great skill to have in any career.
With competition fiercer than ever, it’s not enough to just be a great engineer: you must also help drive the company forward. With work being more data-driven, you’ll need sharp analysis skills to provide insight into where the team should go next, what can be improved or how to optimise return. Without analysis, your work can only go so far.
Being able to gather data, analyse it and make plans about how to grow from there is a vital skill for any industry, and can set you apart from other engineers.
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Engineering is about solving problems, and sometimes problems require creative solutions. Finding new ways to apply existing knowledge is one of the engineering challenges that make it such an exciting and attractive field.
Skills such as creativity can help you develop your engineering career, help you get new jobs and help you become a better engineer.