Every professional employee in every industry can benefit from an appreciation for lifelong learning. But in the engineering field, staying on top of scientific and marketplace changes can be critical to career survival, not to mention personal and intellectual growth. It’s said that there are three types of engineers: 1.) Natural engineers, who gained most of their fundamental skills by playing in the backyard when they were children (how much of my weight can this branch hold?), 2.) academic engineers, who learned most of what they know during college courses, and 3.) hybrids of the two, or engineers who gained a foundation of knowledge and passion in childhood, but who continue to build on this foundation with every professional journal they read, every new certification they gain, and every session of dinner-party shop talk they engage in.
The best engineers—the ones most poised to succeed and thrive in a competitive job marketplace—are those who fall into the third category. Here are a few ways to find a place for yourself among this fortunate group.
1. Keep reading. Subscribe to at least two professional journals in your area of focus (earthquake science, artificial intelligence, IT network implementation, aerospace console design, etc) and actually read them. Read at least three complete articles every week.
2.Keep circulating. No matter how long you’ve been working in this field, don’t let your eyes glaze over when lunchtime chatter evolves into shop talk. Listen, contribute, and remember details. Most important of all: ask questions when you’re curious. Never be embarrassed by something you don’t know or don’t understand. The faster you ask, the more you learn. If you clam up, you’ll learn nothing. And you won’t impress anyone.
3.Keep requesting higher levels of responsibility. Junior engineers who bite off more than they can chew get into trouble sometimes, but they also learn fast, and they remember what they learn. Painful lessons are often the most valuable. Don’t be afraid to ask for challenging projects, even if you aren’t sure you’re ready.
4.Actively search for mentors and role models. Meet with these people on a regular basis to solicit input and advice on your projects, and when they speak, listen and take notes.
Industrial, structural, electrical and almost all other forms of engineering are combinations of art and science that can take ten lifetimes to master. So since you don’t have ten lifetimes, make the most of this one, and keep actively searching for new ways to strengthen your knowledge base and increase your value to employers. Reach out to the staffing experts at Tech Needs for more on how to do this. If you are looking for engineering jobs in New Hampshire, contact us today.