By choosing the field of engineering as a career, you can open doors for many lucrative employment opportunities and a coveted social status. It also provides excellent job security since architecture and engineering jobs are expected to grow at a 6% rate till 2030, which is the same as most other occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be more than 146,000 new jobs in the coming years. Also, the median salary for engineers was $83,160 in 2020, which was higher than the median salary across all occupations.
Owing to these reasons, a flux of students want to study engineering in the hope of enhancing their prospects. According to popular statistics on the internet, there are around 7.5 million engineers worldwide, including 2 million Americans. Amongst such a vast number of engineers, not all possess the skills required to become successful engineers. A recent study found 2.9 % of engineers are unemployed in the US. Hence, if you plan to pursue a career in engineering, listed below are a few simple tips to help you become a successful engineer.
- Get the right qualifications
Ensure that you pursue the proper qualifications from the get-go. You may want to begin with a bachelors degree in engineering. Still, you can also opt for other related subjects and then do a masters in engineering. Having a masters degree will enable you to score more lucrative opportunities since higher education provides engineers with an in-depth knowledge of the subject. Also, it is crucial to choose a specialization that piques your interest. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an electrical engineer earns $98,530, with the highest pay surpassing $155,000. So you can choose to enroll in an electrical engineer masters degree if the money excites you, or you can opt for another specialization. Moreover, you can also leverage the internet to complete your education online. This way, you can work simultaneously to avoid taking out student loans.
2. Hard work is the key
Most people work hard during their academic years, but they tend to become complacent when they step into the professional world. Being an engineer, you are meant to solve problems. And, these problems require you to work hard to develop solutions. Therefore, effort and persistence are crucial traits you must harness. It would help to identify and write down your long-term goals. No engineer is indigenously excellent at their work. It’s a long process, and you have to make your decisions while making headway. Therefore, you must determine what your long-term goal is. And how you will achieve it. If you need specific certifications or qualifications to excel in it, then start working on it from the beginning.
3. Enrich your soft skills
Apart from technical skills that you will learn and polish throughout your education and career, soft skills also play an essential role in helping you climb the success ladder. Hence, it would be best to improve your interpersonal, communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. Your technical skills are worthless if you fail to demonstrate them while working with your colleagues or leading a team. Not to mention, recruiters also evaluate potential employees based on their soft skills during the hiring process. So consider honing the, While you’re at it, learn time management and leadership skills too.
4. Focus on getting enough work experience
The more experience you have under your belt, the better are your chances of growth. Therefore, you should focus on acquiring more hands-on experience as you study. Since practical knowledge is an instrumental tool in gearing up your career path, you must search for experimental projects, internships, and placements. By doing so, you will be able to gain more industry knowledge. You can easily decide what job best suits your skill set and interests.
5. Build your team
The colleagues with whom you work play a crucial role in your career growth. While building a team, you should be careful in your selection. Select team members who can best complement your skills and supplement your shortcomings. It will help you achieve your full potential. Focus on building a team that works on new ideas and encourages each other. Teamwork is essential for project management and completion.
6. Gear up yourself to learn new professional advancements
The rapidly growing technology has ushered in a new course of advancements that address modern challenges. Hence, being an engineer, it is essential to infuse yourself with modern engineering know-how by learning advanced software and tools. You can join professional organizations like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to learn contemporary tricks of the trade. Such societies help you improve your workplace productivity and help you connect with other engineers, and broaden your professional network.
7. Find a mentor
A mentor will help you steer your professional growth in the right direction. You can learn from their experience, professionalism, and mistakes. Mentors can help you make crucial decisions when you’re caught up in a tricky situation. However, we’d advise you to avoid selecting someone you work with as your mentor. It may restrict you from openly sharing your thoughts.
8. Maintain a healthy work-life balance
Engineering is a financially rewarding profession. But, at times, working for long hours can harm your mental and physical health as well as social life. Hence, a work-life balance is an overriding principle that you must learn. It would be best to draw a clear boundary between your personal and professional life, especially if you have a family. You have to spend time with your loved ones and find ways to relax and avoid work-related burnout. With less stress in your life, it will be easier to excel at the workplace and successfully achieve your goals.
Considering the vast financial and social incentives of engineering, many students rush to acquire a related degree. Yet, some of them end up gaining no substantial knowledge and skills needed for their success. So, to increase your chances of becoming a successful engineer, ensure that you complete the proper education for your niche and define your goals. Also, hone your soft skills, gain relevant work experience, build a competent team, become tech-savvy, network, and seek mentorship. Last but not least, a healthy work-life balance always helps.