Engineers are society's innovators. For millennia they have turned knowledge into practical applications and, to quote a popular internet meme, “Without engineering, science is just philosophy”. Whilst this statement is a little tongue in cheek, it does highlight the importance of engineers. Without engineers we wouldn't have any buildings, roads, or technology; engineers have quite literally changed the world. OK, so we've probably laboured that point enough, engineers are pretty damn great, but what makes for a great engineer? What are the qualities that differentiate one from another? What are employers looking for in today's engineers?
Whether you're an experienced engineer or just starting out in your career, if you want to stand out from the crowd and be really good at what you do, it's important to understand the types of skills and qualities that make for a great engineer. Have you got what it takes?
What skills and qualities do you need to be a top engineer?
1. A creative mind
To be a great engineer you'll need to be a creative thinker. If you regularly think of new and innovative ways to make things work, you may well be on the path to becoming a great engineer.
2. Strong analytical aptitude
Engineers are naturally inquisitive and tend to have a high aptitude for analysis. They tend to be able to visualise, conceptualise, and solve problems by gathering information about a given situation.
3. A logical thinker
Great engineers are logical. They are able to make sense of complex systems, understand how things work, and spot where problems arise. An engineer's thought process is coherent and moves from one related thought to another, allowing them to easily establish antecedents and consequence.
4. A natural problem solver
It is an engineer's creativity, analytical aptitude and logical thinking that allows them to be natural problem solvers. They see a problem and instinctively look for a way to solve it. Engineers are frequently called upon to solve problems. Their ability to efficiently establish the source of a problem and develop a solution makes great engineers highly sought after.
5. Mathematically able
Engineers need to have excellent mathematical skills. On a daily basis you'll be required to apply mathematical thinking to complex real-world problems. Many engineers are naturally mathematically inclined and have a predisposition towards rigour and deduction.
6. Meticulous attention to detail
Engineering by its very nature demands meticulous attention to detail. The smallest error in calculation or design can have a catastrophic effect, so every detail has to be continually and thoroughly reviewed to ensure the success of any engineering project.
7. A clear and calm communicator
Great engineers are clear and calm communicators. Engineers are often required to translate highly complex ideas into plain English to ensure that clients and other professionals are able to understand them. They also need to be able to use technical lingo to disseminate information to other engineers in an efficient manner.
8. A team player
A great engineer relies on many other professionals to make a project work. They need highly developed interpersonal skills to quickly build rapport with other members of the team and truly great engineers have the ability to inspire the team to work towards their common goal.
9. Highly organised
As an engineer you'll need to be able to prioritise which tasks come first, manage your time effectively and use resources efficiently to ensure that your project comes in on time and to budget.
10. Excellent technical knowledge
Whatever your chosen niche or specialism, a great engineer will have excellent technical knowledge. You'll have the ability to understand and pick up a variety of computer programs and systems commonly used on modern engineering projects.
11. Committed to continual learning and development
An engineer's abilities are largely a reflection of their theoretical knowledge gained through years of rigorous study. Great engineers are committed to keeping up with developments in the industry, as changes in techniques, technology, and materials are both frequent and rapid.
If you have the skills and qualities listed above, it's worth noting that there has never been a better time to train and qualify as an engineer. The UK is undergoing major projects in advanced manufacturing, technology and infrastructure. From Crossrail to the Swansea bay tidal lagoon, to the London Cycle Super Highway, the sector is booming and with a lack of multi-skilled, flexible engineers, there has never been a better time to be an engineer.
Find your dream role by searching thousands of Engineering jobs on topEngineer today. We have thousands of live engineering roles across the globe from London, Birmingham and Bristol to Germany. We cover all engineering sectors, including; automotive engineering jobs, aerospace engineering jobs, electrical engineering jobs, electronic engineering jobs, mechanical engineering jobs, design engineering jobs, civil engineering jobs and many more. Search and apply today!
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