Engineering can be an incredibly rewarding profession to pursue. However, while engineering apprenticeships and similar programs have certainly made the industry more accessible over the years, it takes more than a certificate to become the kind of engineer who shapes their industry. Here, we’ll look at three personality traits that are shared by all the most successful engineers.
Great communication skills
In the course of an engineering career, you’ll have to deal with a wide range of people, including both those within your organisation and clients. To maximise your chances of success, you’ll need to hone your communication skills to explain problems and present solutions, both to your team and the clients paying for a given project. When communication breaks down, the project at hand is weakened at its very foundations. Whether written or oral, make sure you’re constantly working on your communication skills, and keeping them flexible enough to adapt to the movements and variables of a project.
Effective risk management
No project is without risks, and no project plan is completely foolproof. Problems can spring up without warning, causing costly downtime and setting the project’s timescale awry. This is true for stages of a plan you’ve foreseen, as well as those you haven’t. One of the less common personality traits of a truly great engineer is being able to look ahead, assessing every individual risk, and spearheading the steps needed to nip them in the bud. This is more applicable for senior engineers, who are in a position to build crack teams with complementary skills.
If you spoke to 100 super-successful engineers, you’d never meet one who was focussed solely on the little issues and immediate needs in their project. Truly great engineers are able to see the larger picture – constantly looking ahead at how the steps of the project will impact the organisation in terms of facilities and materials, manufacturing, budgets, the use of components, and so on. This trait will come naturally as engineers draft project plans, present them, and schedule forecasting for the necessary manufacturing processes. However, you don’t have to be that senior to understand how your work is affecting the wider organisation.