The Misconceptions . . .
I often hear these two misconceptions from the engineers I mentor and I’d like to dispel them both:
Misconception #1 – Engineers get stuck behind desks all day
Misconception #2 – Engineers only need technical skills
Both of these are WRONG. Let’s have a look into each one a bit further.
Will I be stuck behind a desk all day?You might be and some people actually want that type of job.
However, there are also many opportunities out there that involve plenty of field work. Some of this is dependent on the field of engineering you enter and some of this is dependent on the job within your chosen field. For example, if you enter computer engineering, then the chances of you having a job with field work is pretty limited. However, if you enter energy, mechanical, or civil engineering, then there are plenty of jobs that include lots of field work.
Personally, I received my degrees in mechanical engineering and then entered the energy engineering field. My work on energy efficiency projects has included climbing through mechanical rooms and being on site fairly often to design projects. I have also had the opportunity to work on some construction & project management and recommissioning projects in the field.
So choose your field and job in that field with this in mind and you can definitely find a great job that does not keep you tied to a desk every day.
I just need technical skills to succeed, right?Wrong. Having only technical skills and avoiding development of your non-technical skills will be a limitation in your career.
Why is this the case? Consider the following situations . . .
You are asked to lead a project for which you are technical sound, but you are unable to give a coherent presentation or reporting of your project. Having technical skills is important, but you also need a way to give over this information to others. This can be to other engineers within the firm, but also to outsiders and non-engineers.
Or consider a situation where you are looking for a new job where you can grow in your career development. If you have a limited network, then you are going to be constrained by the opportunities you have to use your technical skills.
It’s really important to remember that your engineering degree is only a FOUNDATION for your career. Once you have that foundation in place, you will learn new technical and non-technical skills as you progress in your career that will really form the basis for a successful career.
Here are two other articles I wrote that I recommend you read to continue your development of your non-technical skills:
- Why Public Speaking is the MOST IMPORTANT Skill for ALL engineers; Even if you don’t talk to groups
- Want to be a successful engineer? Here are 4 non-technical habits every engineer should develop
Need some guidance?Don’t just sit around. Let’s take the next step towards your goal of engineering success.
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