Engineering, like all professions, requires some skills that are timeless, and others that change with the calendar. And sometimes the pace of change is so rapid that skills which seemed irrelevant or nonexistent just a year or two ago are now professional imperatives. We’ve listed five skills that we believe will be vital for engineers to either have or cultivate in 2015.
Willingness to Evolve
The tools and technologies of engineering are changing quickly, and companies don’t have the time or the desire to work with engineers that can’t make the most of these new resources. Plus, a number of firms are reporting a serious skills gap, suggesting that they can’t find engineers with the specific expertise they require. If you want to find your place in the engineering economy of 2015, you need to be willing, able, and driven to pick up in-demand new skills.
Multimedia Communication Skills
As offices become ever more dispersed and distributed, engineers will need to be able to use any and every new communication tool – from texting and instant messaging, to video conferencing, to blogging even – to keep the lines of communication open. If you have felt uncomfortable or resistant to these new communication tools in the past, now is the time to get on board.
Ability to Collaborate
Engineering projects are now more interconnected and cross-pollinated than at any time in the past. That means today’s engineers are often working with engineers from other teams, technical professionals from other fields, and accounting/finance/logistics professionals all at once. If they can’t collaborate effectively with unfamiliar and possible even vastly different professionals, they will find their position on the team put in jeopardy.
Desire to Network
Even if you are happy with your company/position and not planning to make a change anytime soon, it’s essential for you to maintain your professional networks. This is about more than just securing your next job, it keeps you plugged into the broader engineering landscape, and immerses you in conversations happening outside your specific discipline. For dozens of reasons, this simply makes you better at what you do.
Courage to Lead
You might not be a leader now, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be soon in some capacity. And when the opportunity arises, you want your superiors to feel confident handing you the reins. If you are seen as a natural follower, or someone destined to be on someone else’s team, you will find yourself stuck in the middle of the ladder.
Have you got the skills it takes to succeed in 2015 and beyond? If you don’t, or you simply want to evolve yourself into the best engineer possible, rely on the career counselors and professional development specialists at JH Technical Services.