Advice For Aspiring Engineers

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Considering a career in engineering? For those with an interest in science, technology, and mathematics, there are few better career choices, and a career in engineering can be immensely rewarding.

In addition to actually designing and building the world around you, engineering can be lucrative, in-demand, and good fun, so it is easy to see why it is a field that attracts so many people. This does also mean that a career in engineering can be challenging and competitive, so read on for a few career tips that should prove to be useful and help you to find success when getting started.

Develop Your Skills

In order to find any kind of success as an engineer, it is vital that you develop your skills. This means both your technical skills and your soft skills.

  • Technical Skills 

You need to have strong mathematical, science, engineering, and technological skills, which you can develop yourself at school or with study in your own time. These are the key areas that you will need to focus on and will provide the foundation for a career in engineering.

  • Soft Skills

Technical skills are essential, but you must also develop soft skills in order to find success in this industry. This is often an overlooked aspect because there is so much focus placed on technical skills, but engineering is also about communication, working as part of a team, planning, and time management.

It is true that some naturally possess soft skills such as this, but they are also skills that can be developed, so do not worry if you do not possess them. Often, you can improve soft skills simply with research and practice, but in some cases, there will be classes and courses that you can take, such as public speaking courses.

Gain Work Experience Somewhere With Engineers

As with many fields, it can be hard to get your foot in the door without any experience – this is known as the entry-level catch 22. The key is to try and gain some relevant work experience early on and to find somewhere that employs engineers, such as a factory.

This will help to bolster your resume, help you to develop key skills that employers will look for, and could also help you to make important industry contacts. Building a professional network is hugely important, and you can also try to learn as much as you can from working with engineers – you may even be able to find a mentor.

Get A Masters In Engineering Management

If you really want to find success in engineering and rise to leadership roles, or even start your own firm, then a master’s in engineering management will be a smart step to take. With this respected qualification, you will learn key engineering and leadership skills that will set you apart and help you to excel in this field.

A master’s in engineering will focus on key areas such as operations management, AI-based decision making, people management, leadership, budgets and financing, and project management. You can also take the course entirely online, so you can do this in your spare time as you build your career.

Don’t stop here when it concerns learning. You should look to keep learning at every stage in your career. Engineering is a field that is constantly going through change, so you need to stay current with the latest practices, trends, and issues facing the industry. You may also want to look into different courses and qualifications, which can help to bolster your resume, improve your abilities and help you to climb the ladder. 

Network At Every Opportunity

As with every industry, it is important to network and build a large professional circle. This will help to improve your professional reputation, open new doors and allow you to make an impact on the industry. It is important to attend industry events and network in person as much as possible, as this is how you really make an impact and form strong relationships.

You can also network online on social media, which is also a great way to maintain relationships over the course of your career. Having a large network should open new doors and bring about new opportunities, but this is also an area that will require ongoing effort, and you must be willing to help others out too. If you aren’t too sure where to start with networking, first, join a professional engineering group. 

Becoming a member of a professional engineering group, such as ASME or ASHRAE, is smart and will help you to get support during your career as well as make it easier to build a large professional network. This will help you to feel a part of the engineering community and make it much easier to find ways to develop your abilities, find new opportunities and carve out a successful career path for yourself.

Build An Online Presence & Portfolio

Today’s engineers also need to create a strong online presence for themselves. You should have your own professional website that contains information on your background, skillset, education, and experience.

You also need to have an online portfolio that contains detailed information on all of the projects that you have worked on to date, including quotes from clients. This website and portfolio will act as your online resume and show employers what you are capable of, so you need to make sure that you keep it up to date and find ways to make it stand out from the crowd.

Work On Your Interview Skills

When it comes to finding work, it is often the interview stage where people fall down. You could have all of the skills, experience, and qualifications, but if you do not know how to interview well, then you will find it very hard to find work and climb the ladder.

The key to success when it comes to interviews is preparation, which can both help to reduce anxiety while also ensuring that you put your best foot forward. You should spend time researching the company, do practice interviews and think about what questions to ask. Additionally, small steps like deciding what to wear in advance and doing a practice run to the office can all help to reduce stress on the day of the interview.

Additionally, it is always worth asking for feedback after an interview. It can be tough to hear, but it is the best way to improve and could help you to avoid a mistake that you were not aware that you were making.

Cast A Wide Net

When it comes to finding an engineering job, you need to be willing to cast a wide net. You are unlikely to find the perfect role in your hometown, so you need to be willing to commute or possibly even move in order to find work and advance your career.

These days, many firms will offer a hybrid work model which can make it easier to cast a wider net and hopefully will allow you to find the perfect role without having to make a massive move.

Immerse Yourself

You will also find it helpful to immerse yourself in engineering, which will help you to stay current and feel an important part of the community.

In addition to attending industry events, you can do this by joining online communities, listening to podcasts, reading industry publications, following key organizations on social media, reading blogs, and much more. This is a great way to stay up to date with all of the latest from the industry and will show that you are committed to potential employers.

Don’t Focus On Salary

Salary will always play an important role when it comes to looking for work, but you should not focus on this when you are first getting started with engineering. The salary for entry-level engineering jobs is not as high as you might imagine, but you can get a significant salary increase with the next step up, and your salary will then grow exponentially as you climb the ladder. Therefore, you need to try not to focus on money too much initially and instead try to find the best experience and learn as much as you possibly can. 

Look After Yourself

Finally, you need to look after yourself. Engineering is not the easiest career path to follow, and it can be easy to suffer from burnout, which is why it is so important to look after yourself. This will include changing jobs if you are not happy, prioritizing a healthy work-life balance, leading a healthy lifestyle, and making the most out of your free time. 

Hopefully, these tips will come in handy for anyone seeking a career in engineering. Engineering is an incredible industry to work in as you can shape the world around you and work on exciting projects, but it is also competitive, demanding, and challenging area to work in.

You will need to develop a wide range of skills, climb the ladder, make an effort to build a professional network, and work hard to find success, but these tips should help to set you on the path to success.