As we all know, engineering is the fashionable (and lucrative) career path right now. However, like all professions, not all engineers are equal.
As the title of today’s post might have already suggested, this is all about senior and junior positions. Sure, everyone starts in the latter, but some fail to progress to the former. Even if you have a Masters in Control Engineering, you will typically start in a junior position (although your route to the top might be somewhat more accelerated).
If you fall into this category, or you are perhaps starting out your career in engineering and want to see how to get to the more senior levels, let’s take a look at some of the key traits that will help you along your way.
Trait #1 – You can communicate technical language in an easy-to-digest manner
There’s no doubt that this is one of the key skills for an engineer, yet one that many simply don’t have. It is common knowledge that regardless of the type of engineering you are involved in, it’s going to be highly technical. You are going to hold immense knowledge on a subject, and speak to your peers in a language that the Average Joe just won’t be able to grasp.
However, when you get to those senior positions, the Average Joe does need an understanding on your work. Others in the company, potentially at director level, need to understand projects in order to sign off their costs. You need to be able to explain them in plain English – and this is something that some engineers struggle with greatly.
Trait #2 – You admit what you don’t know
There’s a common misconception that senior engineers need to demonstrate that they “know everything”. Unfortunately, this can just be asking for trouble.
By suggesting that you know everything, you are opening yourself up for mistakes. You will gain a lot more respect from those around you if you admit that you don’t know something – and they can get the answer from someone else in the company.
Trait #3 – You will specialize
Unfortunately, very few engineers will master absolutely everything. There are umpteen different types out there, and you just aren’t going to be able to master them all. Instead, you need to specialize.
Sure, you might be able to specialize in several fields – but not all of them. By doing this, your knowledge of these fields can be substantial, and it also means that it is going to be much easier to progress your career.
Trait #4 – You know when you shouldn’t do something
There is a big emphasis in engineering that you should always be looking to change and innovate. This is something that can’t be disputed, although there is a time and a place for these changes. For example, rewriting a library just to make it slightly easier on the eye is probably not an efficient use of time. This is something that a junior might not realize, but in the interests of prioritization a senior engineering might spot right away.