If you want to get ahead in an engineering career, this requires intelligence, hard work, and a mixture of natural and learned skills. Advancing is anything but easy.
For the right person, though, it is achievable with the result of a lucrative and advanced career in a field that is not slowing down anytime soon.
Whether you are a civil, chemical, structural, or any other type of engineer, here is how to get ahead.
While your engineering career does not necessarily have to be linear, it is crucial to start with a focused goal. What sort of engineer do you want to be? Which industries would you like to work in? By knowing where you are heading, you will have a better time getting started and excelling when you do.
While it is possible to become an engineer with a bachelor’s degree, many engineers also have a master’s degree up their sleeves. By not earning one, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. So, take a look at the variety of engineering courses available to see which one will steer your career in the right direction.
If you are already working as either a full-time or part-time engineer and cannot afford to lose hours, you can always advance your education with an online degree. There are plenty of benefits to studying online, which include choosing your own learning environment, saving time and, of course, not having to give up your day job. Plus, you will show your manager just how dedicated you are by learning and working at the same time. If your goal is to become an engineering manager, you can apply to an online master’s in engineering management like uOttawa’s while simultaneously gaining experience in your chosen engineering field.
Did one of your solutions not work? Did you have to start a project from the beginning again? A large part of engineering is making mistakes. After all, that is how you come up with the right solutions. Instead of beating yourself up, allow yourself to learn and grow from every mistake you make throughout your career.
It is a good idea to use a notebook to document areas where you have gone wrong as well as areas you have succeeded in. By doing that, you will be able to look back on what you have learned, boosting your skills and knowledge even further.
Engineering is anything but a stagnant career. With all the developments and advancements in technology, your career is likely to take quite a few turns over the years. The way you currently reach solutions could look entirely different five, ten, or twenty years from now. For this reason, you must stay open-minded and flexible when it comes to change. By trying out new problem-solving methods, embracing new technology, and being comfortable with adjustments, you are likely to find success for the entire duration of your career.
Nobody gets to the top by accident. Your manager and mentor are where they are for a reason – they are talented, knowledgeable, and skilled at what they do. To get where they are then, means that you must learn from them. Take note of the way they talk, act, and manage problems, and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask them for help. Remember – they were once where you were, and the right mentor will be all too happy to give you pointers.
To get ahead as an engineer and take on a managing role, it is important to have both technical skills and soft skills. After all, that will be what helps you gain respect from your workers and know how to delegate jobs appropriately. While you might have been a talented engineer, that does not necessarily mean you have gained the soft skills required to be a great leader, which includes:
Engineering is all about collaboration. As a team player, you enhance your chances of success as well as the success of the project at hand. So, when working on a project or problem, lift the voices of those around you while contributing your own thoughts and skills.
Success does not happen overnight. To advance your engineering career, you will not only need to work hard and up your skills; you will also need to persevere, which means having a little patience. Remember, you are in this for the long haul and you have plenty of time to become the engineering leader you have always wanted to be.
Networking is just as important in engineering as it is in any other career. With help from your employers, professors, co-workers, and college alumni, you will have a much easier time climbing the engineering ladder. Do not worry if your network circle is small, as there are always ways to expand it, such as online and at networking events. Social media is particularly handy for showing off your professional skills and connecting with other engineers, so focus on developing a strong social media presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Unless you tell your co-workers and managers that you are working toward an advanced role, they will likely assume that you are comfortable where you are now, meaning they might not see you as a candidate for a higher position. The more people know about your goals, the more likely you are to hear about opportunities that will help you reach them, so ensure it is known that you are heading for bigger things.
The direction you wanted to go in a few years ago might not be the right path for you now. With the constant developments in technology, there is no time to stand still – you must be willing to adapt your focus if necessary. So, stay open-minded when it comes to your engineering career, and you will find that more opportunities present themselves.
Anyone who wants to advance as an engineer must prove themselves to be hard-working, technically knowledgeable, and able to take on a challenge. By putting in the necessary work, you will find yourself climbing the engineering ladder in no time.