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Six essential skills for Engineers

Posted By Chris Reay, Wednesday, 15 March 2017

This is a summary of an article from research done on the six most basic skills an Engineer needs to have today.

You should probably consider this if you want to stand out and be the stand-out young Engineer you want to be.

Taking Engineering seems to be a norm that many young people consider in order to keep up with society’s demands of rapid changes, innovations and advancements in technology. Many specialised Engineering courses are also introduced and the population of people taking career paths in Engineering fields gradually grows.

Competition is getting tougher, especially for new grad Engineers. Several countries produce thousands of Engineers most of whom end up in non-Engineering fields or obliged to settle in entry levels they don’t deserve. Even if you’re an Engineering graduate, you may not be competent enough.

But don’t lose hope just yet.

Here is a checklist for you to stand out and become the stand-out Engineer you want to be.

1. AUTOCAD SKILLS

We are in the age where Engineering design is not confined to 2D blueprints or sketches alone. Designs of components, structures and architectural plans now heavily depend on 3D CAD designs especially for intricate objects in manufacturing. The ability to design with Auto CAD is really a must for Engineering and architectural people in these fields.

Having proficient CAD skills certainly gives you an advantage over other candidates. If your institution does not offer learning to use CAD software, there are crash courses offered in other technical schools for a certain number of sessions. Also, there are CAD software programs and tutorials online so you can study it yourself too.

2. BASIC PROGRAMMING / IT SKILLS

At this point, hard sciences are now converging with the digital world to be more efficient and productive. There are now industries that depend on heavy database management and automated components in industrial plants (computer-integrated manufacturing). Learning how to use programming languages and algorithms is also a plus.

Even if you’re a computer Engineering major, not all programming languages are taught in school. There are also crash courses for this such as learning SQL, Mathlab, COBOL, C#, .NET, Python, Java or Ruby. In addition, online tutorials and downloadable software programs are available if you plan to self-study.

3. COMMUNICATION SKILLS

As an Engineer, our science and mathematical knowledge or technical skills are a given. But presenting and relaying it effectively is another aspect. Being a persuasive presenter gives us opportunities to be an exceptional Engineer. We must learn how to strike the right balance between technical and communication skills as they are the keys to a successful professional career.  There are programmes and workshops that can help us enhance speech communication and presentation skills.

4. PROJECT MANAGEMENT

In our profession, we always coordinate with others or work as a team in a department. Engineers who become project managers and learn how to manage a project and a team can have a successful career. Having project management skills enables you to lead project or programme teams and will eventually allow you to master the dynamics of a project.

From there, you can handle more complex projects and be appointed in leadership positions. You can also draw other professionals together and open opportunities for business and personal growth. There are institutions offering Project Management as an elective and also a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

5. PROFESSIONAL LICENCE

As they say, licensure is the mark of a professional. It means you are at the top of your game and your profession. It is a standard recognised by the government, the clients and companies assuring skills and quality. It has now become a requirement in a number of Engineering firms and corporations. Having a professional licence assures the public that you can perform Engineering work. It is also seen as a commitment to your profession and gives more opportunities in your career.

6. GRADUATE DEGREES (MSc / MA / MBA / Engg D / PhD)

Today, a number of professional Engineering societies are considering making a graduate degree the mandatory credential for would-be Engineers. They require master’s degree in finance, business administration or industrial Engineering in order to advance in managerial positions. Millennial Engineers opt to take master’s degree units and certifications while working in order to raise their credentials and value of being a professional Engineer.

Some high positions need a certain depth of knowledge and expertise in a particular Engineering field so that’s where these graduate courses come into their own. Engineers must not be limited to their majors but must continue to learn and diversify into different fields.

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