Feature Article

January 14, 2020

Being a Successful Engineer: Tips Collected from Industry Leaders



An engineering degree is a valuable one today, especially due to the highly technical world that we live in. Essentially, without enough engineers in various fields, modern society would cease to function, so that makes every good engineer an asset. There is of course, disparity between what engineers are paid, depending on what they studied, but one would be hard-pressed to find any engineering field that is completely out of demand today.

The real question is though, what makes an engineer successful? We will try to answer that question with the help of tips and discussions, as laid forward by the leading recruiters in IT, automotive and even architecture.

You Are Never Too Old to Learn, but Start Early Anyway

To become an engineer should not be the end of a professional’s education, but rather the beginning of it. Further education will play just as important a role in your development as an engineer as experience. In fact, without the advanced education, an engineering professional may not even be able to gain significant experience beyond certain boundaries.

Start early and complete your engineering Master’s to provide yourself with the tools you need to increase your own professional value. Even if we were to set aside the ensuing pay bumps and improved career opportunities, you are left with more knowledge and skills to do your work with better results.

If your current engineering sector isn’t proving to be a particularly productive one for you, change your specialization while opting for the Master’s degree to find better avenues. Cross-disciplinary programs can often be perfect for engineers to get out of their current state of career stagnation.

A Crash Course in Coding is Never a Bad Idea

Now, just because someone is an engineer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a software engineer by default! However, given how intricately coding is spread all throughout the digital world, learning how to code is actually an excellent idea for anyone, but it is so particularly for engineers.

Let’s take automotive engineering for example, which is becoming more sophisticated with every passing year. The entire car manufacturing industry is on a race to take the first mover’s advantage in the self-driving vehicle segment. As a result, automotive engineers and software developers working in the autonomous car business are among some of the highest paid technical workers in the world right now.

Autonomous vehicles are highly dependent on AI algorithms and their machine learning capabilities. The important bit for automotive engineers is, however, the fact that in order for the AI to work as well as it needs to, the hardware must also work seamlessly with the codes that are supposed to control it.

Needless to say, without automotive engineers having at least preliminary knowledge in regard to software programming and the basics of machine learning, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for them to find positions in this lucrative field.

Consider learning at least one or more of the following languages if you wish to work in the autonomous vehicle industry, or just broaden your employability immensely in general. Even if you cannot develop applications right away, simply being able to decipher codes alone will prove to be quite an advantage.

  • Python
  • Lisp
  • Java
  • Prolog
  • C++

Understand the Use of Software in Every Field of Engineering

Architects use 3D modeling, and so do automobile engineers. Electrical engineers will rely heavily on PCB designing tools to help them design printed circuit boards without errors. Software tools are so integrated into all fields of technical work, that unless you have familiarized yourself with those that are the most relevant to your field of work, the following disadvantages will present themselves at some point:

  • You will find yourself to be at sea when these tools become the standard
  • Your lack of familiarity with them will affect your employability and promotion prospects
  • Your productivity will suffer, unless you are able to use the software tools meant to boost it
  • You will lose your competitive edge, when everyone else is already familiar with the necessary tools

This is a common problem faced by senior engineers, which is unfortunate. In spite of having the skills and the experience, their career prospects will suffer because of something that they can easily learn. Prevent such a scenario by taking the time necessary for updating yourself with the latest standardizations and upcoming innovations in the segment.

A Good Engineer is One that Understands Business

There is no going around it nowadays, since the gap between business and IT is decreasing. If you are a good engineer with significant experience, you may want to hold more powerful positions in your segment than you do now, but the only way to make that happen would be to complete an MBA, or better yet, an engineering management Master’s degree.

Contrary to the classic MBA course, an engineering management Master’s program from an institution like Kettering University is created specially to help techies connect with the business wing of their organizations. Quite simply put, it makes an engineer capable of leading his/her team or even the company down the line. Their technical expertise helps them to bridge communication gaps between executives and engineers, which are often a difficult obstruction for establishments to deal with.

When recruiters find engineers with experience and business management training, they see them as solutions to such communication and productivity blockages. As should be obvious, this makes an engineering business head a lot more valuable right now and in the future than an engineer alone can ever be.

These are tips for what should make any engineer a futureproof professional with high employability in not just one field, but in multiple sectors. New developments will come up as always, but at its core, these simple, yet definitive logics should be applicable then as well, if not even more so than they are now. It’s all about building a seamless, efficient, connected business environment, and engineers with the right mindset and updated education are crucial to that goal.





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