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How To Stand Out In A Crowd Of Engineers

Thursday, July 27, 2017

/ by Nurdin Budi Mustofa
How To Stand Out In A Crowd Of Engineers
If you’ve just thrown that weird hat thing in the air and left your college with a degree in engineering then we have some good news for you - you’ve set yourself up to succeed in an industry that is absolutely booming right now. That means your chances of landing a good job within an engineering firm that is enjoying record levels of growth is more than definitely on the cards. This is amazing, right? You’re all set for an exciting and successful future and there is nothing the universe can do to stop you.

Actually, that isn’t necessarily true because there are two sides to every coin. So while the engineering sector may be having a good time right now, that inevitably means there is a substantial level of competition to overcome. Not only that but, when the economy crashes (and it always crashes at some point), this sector tends to feel the pinch more than most others. Yeah, we’re talking about layoffs.

Why are we telling you all this? Simple: what you do in the first few years of your career is absolutely imperative to your long-term success and the first thing you need to do is stand out from the crowd of yellow hardhat wearing engineers that are all trying to the same as you. This leaves one massive, gaping question you are no doubt dying to answer, what can you do to improve your chances?

Well, we have spoken to a few high-profile engineering professors, as well as some thought leaders within this sector, and these are their top tips. No need to thank us.

How To Stand Out In A Crowd Of Engineers

Make Sure You Learn The Business

You have studied engineering at college level, so you will have a pretty good idea about that side of things. But what about the actual business. That is an area that you will really want to delve into the moment you land your first job at a firm. Start thinking about what their core strategies are, what their different revenue-sources are, and how they plan to continue their growth. By doing this you will have a better idea of where you want to focus your efforts. Most engineering firms are big, and that means they have a lot of functions, some of which could offer fast routes of promotion. Don’t be afraid to ask either. Showing a keen desire to learn and improve will make you stand out from the crowd. Remember, skills can be taught but attitude can’t.

Customers Can Improve Your Position

No amount of self-promotion or marketing can match a client or customer requesting your services. Period. Luckily for you, the engineering industry is littered with opportunities to work directly with a customer and at their site. It is up to you to use this opportunity to your full potential and that means learning as much about their business - and what you can do to solve their issues - as possible. Learn about their competitors, their systems of operating and what the industry analysts are saying. Not only will this see you improve your relations with the customer but it will make you stand out from the crowd within your own firm too. Engineering is all about skill and experience, but a smart business mind is just as valued, which is why finding other ways you can add value is such an effective talent to possess.

Technical Skills Must Be Up To Date

The engineering industry is one that relies so heavily on technology in order to grow and succeed, which is why your ability to stay current with the latest advancements is so important. Every sector within engineering uses different tools, each one specific to their role, but the more proficient you are at using those relevant to your field the more you will stand out from the crowd. For aerospace design, it could be that you become an expert in tools that develop craft-to-craft communication, while a career in dam breach analysis would benefit hugely from your skills using HEC-RAS modelling software. The more skills you have in tech that is needed the more indispensable you will be. It is also worth having one eye focused on knowing what tools will improve the effectiveness of the eyes of your business, which tends to mean anything that will accelerate workflow, boost productivity and promote cost-effectiveness.

How To Stand Out In A Crowd Of Engineers

Never Stop Learning. Ever.

While college may have taught you many of the practical aspects and skills when it comes to engineering, as well as the basic procedures needed, it will have left you out in the cold when it comes to a lot of other important aspects. That is why you need to feed your need to learn and continue to absorb knowledge in areas like effective communicating, being a valued team member, what makes a great leader, what digital tools can boost productivity and how you can be an organised project manager. Like we said above, being an engineer with good skill is fine, but it is not enough to stand out from the crowd. Being an attractive employee for an engineering firm requires more, which is where professional development comes in. Growing your pool of soft skills will really help you improve as a professional and help you stick in the mind of your superiors.

Constantly Critique Your Own Progress

The engineering world is known for being quite an independent sector and a lot of the time engineers feel as if they have to complete their assigned tasks on their own. Don’t let this prevent you from learning from your mistakes, knowing where you can improve and understand what your biggest strengths are. This means being a little more self-aware than you would perhaps be naturally, while also being realistic about your progress. By doing this you will be far more aware of any opportunities to hone your skills and continually improve. Remember, learning in engineering is about expanding your knowledge through doing and practising while progressing is primarily about skill and experience, so work on these areas at every chance you get.

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