Engineers create some of the greatest inventions and technologies, from air conditioning systems to space shuttles. However, in order to be successful in this field, you should have certain qualities. If you’re still not sure, these 10 signs will help you decide whether engineering degree is right for you.
Engineers should exhibit ingenuity. In past, present and future, engineering is synonymous with ingenuity – this skill is required for adapting, planning and combining. As an engineer, you should be able to identify problems and find innovative solutions using practical ingenuity and science. This is a mainstay of engineering.
As technologies get more complex and the world becomes more dependent on innovations and technology, our society will face different challenges. For example, everything related to the environment, climate change, and the intersections between people and technology. Therefore, you should decide whether you are ready to think of practical solutions. Engineers and their decisions are near the critical stage, and their ingenuity is more important than ever.
Creativity is a vital quality of engineering because it boosts innovation and invention, and given the many challenges ahead, new technologies and the complexity of them, creativity is getting more and more important.
Today, engineers have to get interdisciplinary knowledge and communicate with different specialists in different industries. Thinking outside the box is vital to solve problems and offer effective solutions.
3. Good Communication
As always, good engineers are good at communication. They have to engage with many stakeholders, for example the public, private industry and government. Moreover, in the age of technologies engineers get involved in interdisciplinary teams, public officials, globally diverse teams, and a huge customer base.
Engineers should be able to communicate effectively through visual, written and oral mechanisms as well as listen carefully. Knowing how to use modern virtual communication tools is a must as well. Since engineers should be accountable, their ability to communicate convincingly and to shape the opinion of others is important.
4. Business and Management Skills
In the past, those engineers who mastered their business and management skills were rewarded with leadership positions. It is still true, but with the huge interdependence between the social and economic foundation of our society, there are lots of opportunities for talented engineers to use their potential as skillful leaders.
Engineers can engage in the governmental and nonprofit sections. They have to understand the limitations and strengths of technology and science and how they influence the society. Their choices affect political, physical and human infrastructures, as well as define objectives and priorities for a whole region or a community.
This one is connected to the business and management skills engineers should have. You may not be the leader, but you should learn the principles of leadership and be willing to practice them more and more as your career advances. You should also be ready to acknowledge the importance of public service, accepting different challenges and getting out of your comfort zone to bridge technology and public policy beyond the roles accepted in the past.
Engineers without patience are destined for failure. When they are impatient with a client, the client isn’t happy and can file a complaint. As an engineer, you should be prepared that not every client will have the expertise level, so they may not get your concept from the first time. This often happens with remote support, when an engineer can’t just say ‘Let me show you.’
For example, in the past there was a test that engineers had to pass: before the interview, they had to sit for a long time in a waiting room. Their employers wanted to see how an engineer would react to this situation. If you are a patient person, you will win the employer over with your positive reaction. Therefore, engineering isn’t for you if you can’t be patient when all things are out of your control.
Complimentary for necessary leadership and management skills is the need to develop a working framework upon which you will build a strong sense of professionalism. Engineers need courage and boldness to accomplish this. Many challenges they have to solve are very complex and interdependent; therefore engineers have to learn technologies that affect the planet and everyone who lives there.
Effective management of available resources is vital to engineering work. The choices you will have to make may be gray in nature, for example balancing social, environmental and economic factors. Leaders and people who influence their choices need a sense of clarity. Successful engineers should recognize the broader picture that is intertwined in technology and society.
7. Lifelong Learning
Given the ever-changing and uncertain character of the environment in which engineers often work, they need to be ready for the lifelong learning. It involves agility, dynamism, flexibility and resilience. Not only technologies advance every day, the political, social and economic world in which engineers work change contentiously as well. Therefore, it is not a certain knowledge that engineers need but the ability to always learn new things and the ability to quickly apply new knowledge to evolving problems and situations.
Engineers need to know everything about recent changes and new inventions because their career paths can take many directions that include different challenges, different parts of the world, different people and engage different types of goals and objectives. Therefore, to be individually successful in engineering, you should be able to learn continuously throughout your career. Be ready to learn not only about engineering but also about politics, business, history and more.
8. Be Ready To Work In a Team
Engineers don’t work alone; they have to participate in team work and collaborate with many different people and departments, sometimes with professionals outside of the engineering field. That is why you should be able to work with large and small teams and be a strong member with your own opinion if you want to become an engineer.
Moreover, many engineering projects are so huge that one person can’t handle them. Therefore, there will be a team who works on the same thing as you. Another important benefit of working in a team is reduced risks. Errors are less likely to stay hidden when many people are reviewing and analyzing the calculations and outcomes.
As a team member, leadership is an important skill to have, but it is also important to be able to listen to instructions when the project calls for it. Therefore, if teamwork and collaboration aren’t for you, you won’t like to be a part of an engineering world.
9. Ability to Handle Stress
Let’s be honest here: a job of field tech or IT support challenges engineers quite often and at many levels. Engineers have to use all their knowledge and skills to effectively do the software/hardware issues, and they also work with annoyed customers, timeframes and traffic that can really push their limits. That’s why it is important to be able to handle stress of everything that can come to you out of nowhere.
If you’re not sure whether an engineer can handle stressful situations, you can make the interview process a real challenge. And we don’t talk about those typical interview questions. You can ask an engineer to show their skills by asking to fix a server within a given time. The idea here is not to judge an engineer according to whether he/she could solve the problem, judge the person by how well they handle stresses during the test. This is a great indicator. If you’re not ready for these situations, engineering is not for you.
10. Thrilled With Tech. Reasonably
As an engineer, you should love technology. Otherwise, you should really question why you want to become an engineer in the first place. But you don’t have to be obsessed with everything tech. Most employers look for well-rounded engineers because they fit better within a company that a single-minded, nerdy person.
If you always have your laptop with you (and always bring it to a job interview), that’s totally fine. It is a healthy relationship with tech. But if you are obsessed, you may appear a bit strange. As an engineer, you should have no trouble relating to clients, fitting in with other people and explaining problems in simple terms. And if you really lack social skills, engineering isn’t for you.
As you can see, there are many facets to a good engineer. Determining whether you can become a successful engineer requires more than asking questions and taking tests. You have to think about all possible surroundings, situations and other people that you will face as an engineer and then imagine how you would react on that. If you don’t meet the qualities in the above list, an engineering degree might be not right for you.