Whatever their specialized fields be, there are certain common things that every engineer needs to know to become good at their jobs. All that time spent studying the subject prepares you for most of the tasks for sure. However, some skills come naturally.
There are lots of online books and video series teaching us how to be an engineer. While you may learn the technical language, history of the profession as well as general technology and products being used, there is nothing that can really prepare you for certain situations.
Here are 6 things that every good engineer needs to know.
Manage your time efficiently
Being an engineer requires multitasking. If you aren't able to manage your time effectively, everything would soon come crumbling down. Sometimes making lists and scheduling your day help you organize your workload. You will be amazed how much free time you'll be left with when you develop time management skills. Another thing to consider, while multitasking is important, you shouldn't completely switch between tasks. Try finishing one project and only then, start a new one as you would require too much concentration to do several completely different things simultaneously. Find a way to eliminate all the habits and practices that cost you too much time during a workday. This will allow you to be more efficient.
Practice basic skills even though you don't need them anymore
Most engineering courses teach basic knowledge of the skills needed to be a successful engineer. Even if you don't practice complex equations on a daily basis, it is important to maintain a working knowledge. During their careers, engineers are often challenged with various tasks that are out of their comfort zone. While this is a great test, most of them will flunk it as they are unable to go back to basic formulas. Have in mind that almost every engineering science has a basis in mathematics and physics. As such, refreshing your memory from time to time is key for doing your job. Luckily for you, there are lots of web resources you can read or download at any time!
Don't be arrogant but be confident
Some people think that being an engineer gives them the right to be arrogant, because of how smart they think they are. However, the best way to prove yourself is working well under stress, as well as developing practical problem-solving skills. Stress is inevitable to the subject of engineering. Therefore, you need to be confident in your decision-making skills if you want to become a successful engineer. This is especially true if you're a part of a larger team or a company. Even if you're an owner, arrogance can create unwanted friction and alienate you from employees.
Understand other engineering disciplines
Whichever field you work in, it is important to maintain a basic knowledge of what other engineers do. When it comes to collaboration projects or interdisciplinary researchers, a broad point of view always comes in handy. The ability to keep up with colleagues outside your field will carry you to the next level to become a good engineer. For example, even if you have extensive mechanical education, taking a course from electrical engineering would be great for your career. New technologies and continuous development should be on top of your list.
Give good presentations
Given the complexity of engineering technologies and systems, you need to be able to explain them to a larger audience. Many engineers are known to be introverts, but to be a successful engineer presentation skills are crucial. Elon Musk has admittedly struggled with public speaking due to his introverted nature. However, like any other skill, the more you practice social interactions, the better you will get at them. Best way to start is to talk with your clients directly when providing services. Impose yourself during team meetings and be open when discussing a problem. With this simple system, you will become confident in stressful situations and in front of a larger group of people. When ready, start doing presentations in front of a smaller group of people and in time, you will be ready for any type of a presentation regardless of how many people are there in the crowd.
Risk and reward
Today, the job of a modern engineer is ten times more complex. Not only are you required to finish a technical process, but you need to see if its gonna be profitable. When making important decisions, engineers need to be able to weigh the real risks and rewards of projects. Whether you are designing a monumental structure or a specific product, you'll always face with collateral and unintended results. It is important to recognize these issues and decide if the risk is worth taking or not. Like everything else in life, you need to search for the right opportunities. Once you check all the data and projected figures, you can decide whether or not to work on something.
What is the biggest issue you're having as an engineer? Please share it in the comment section below!
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SEE ALSO: Top 10 Things Only Engineers Understand