Making good use of your engineering degree in your career

The world is changing rapidly, so what does it mean to be an engineer in today’s world?

An engineer is someone who solves problems using their technical knowledge. For many fresh graduates, the understanding of “technical” knowledge is usually limited to science and technology. However as one progresses in their engineering career, one discovers additional “technical” knowledge where they can apply their problem solving abilities including management, social skills and organizational skills; are all equally important to becoming a successful engineer.

So what sets an engineer apart from other majors? It is the engineer’s ability to solve problems that sets the engineer apart. Engineers have the ability to observe a problem from different angles, consider different possible solutions select the best solution, apply solutions and monitor outcomes to ensure success. The key is to apply this approach beyond just technical know-how. By combining an engineer’s technical know-how with managerial, social and organizational skills, one can become very successful in their careers, no matter if you follow a technical path or a managerial path. 

So, whether you are presently a fresh engineer just starting out or a mid-career engineer trying to establish your career here are a few useful tips on how to make good use of your abilities:

1.    Do not limit your problem solving skills to just engineering, see the world as a set of variables and unknowns and slowly hone your thought processes on solving managerial, logistics and operational issues as well.
2.    All technical knowledge are interrelated. Keep finding connections and relations between what you already know and what you have just learned. Connect the dots.
3.    Extend the connection viewpoint in 2 to managerial, operational and logistical aspects of your job, this will aid you in your efforts to becoming more effective and efficient at your job.
In essence, as an engineer, you should constantly develop a systematic approach to understanding your work environment based on your technical abilities. In the long run, you will see how not only technical know-how is related across the different areas, you will also develop a better understanding of your workplace, business acumen and valuable interpersonal skills that will help you advance in your career.

Your engineering degree is more than just a piece of paper, take what you have learned and put it to good use! Good Luck!

Note: Stay tuned for more articles on how to better use your abilities and maximize your potential

by Dr.Derrick Lim

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