Engineers are responsible for many of the great inventions and technology the world depends on today. Everything from space shuttles to air conditioning systems to hearing aids requires the work of an engineer. To be successful in the field of engineering, it is essential to have certain qualities. In order to discover what sets certain engineers apart from the rest, we asked our engineering team to list some of the top habits they see in successful engineers. Below are the top 7 common themes we heard:
1. Use both right and left parts of their brains
A highly effective engineer uses both their creative and analytical sides. This combination helps them to continually examine things and think of ways to make them work, while also thinking of new and innovative ways to develop products and help existing products to work more effectively.
2. Pays attention to detail
Even the slightest error can cause an entire project to fail. The ability to be extremely observant and pay close attention to even the tiniest of details is essential for highly effective engineers.
3. Works well within a team
Most, if not all, engineers are part of a larger team who work together to create and produce a final product. In order to be successful, engineers must be able to work well in a team setting to help increase the probability of project success.
4. Are proactive
Effective engineers use their resourcefulness and initiative to find solutions rather than just reporting problems and waiting for other people to solve them—they assess the situation at hand and develop a positive response for it.
5. Participates in continuing education
Education doesn’t end when a degree is received, and truly effective engineers know this. With technology constantly (and rapidly) changing, they know it is even more important to participate in continuing education to help stay up-to-date on new trends, techniques, industry developments, ideas, research, etc.
6. Puts the customer first
Engineering plays a critical role in the customer’s experience and interaction with the end product. Great engineers take the time to understand who their end customer is and approach product design from the end users point of view. What may make sense to someone with the technical chops of an engineer may not be intuitive to a less technical customer. They understand the ultimate success of the product lies with the customer, and as a result they design, plan, create, and test accordingly.
7. Designs with the next designer/engineer in mind.
Effective engineers know they might have to hand over their project at some point to someone else. They keep accurate and up-to-date records, notes, etc. If they are the only one who knows how to fix it then they will be stuck fixing that project forever without the ability to grow and move on to bigger and better things.
Engineers certainly have a tough job, making the requirements above essential for success. Luckily, these challenges are often what draws some of the best and brightest to engineering in the first place. While these traits are common amongst the most successful engineers, we are certainly not discounting the value of any others. Do you think the list from our team is accurate? Are there any traits you think we missed? We would love to hear your thoughts/stories based on your past experiences.