Thoughts on the Engineering Industry

A blog covering engineering, technology and business topics

Non-engineering skills necessary for engineering

Hello everyone.  This week went well for me, but much hasn’t changed.  Just plodding along with my one kid I’m tutoring. He’s doing well though, probably jumped a whole grade in the last couple of weeks.  Along with that, he picks up new topics very quickly; all in all it’s actually kind of enjoyable.  While contemplating his lessons, it got me thinking about this blog topic – non-engineering skills necessary for engineering.  I have list of some below and why I think they are import.

1)      Social Skills – I’m sure this one is obvious to everyone.  As much as people may joke about the fact that engineers can be socially awkward, any time you need to sell you skills and qualities as an engineer requires some sort of social skills.  And truth be told, it’s actually kind of enjoyable from time to time.  One of the jobs I enjoyed the most while I was in school was working at a wine bar.  I am a huge wine nerd and that job was pretty much talking about wine with people and getting paid to do it.  That’s the way socializing in a job setting should feel in my opinion.  If not, maybe it’s time to reevaluate some things.

2)      Teaching – In working as a substitute teacher and now a tutor over summer, I have learned how to teach a lesson to groups of varying sizes.  Was it always enjoyable for me?  No.  But as I have had to give presentations over the years when in school, I have discovered that doing that as a day job has helped me.   I have learned how to answer a question in a way that breaks it down to an understandable level.  I have learned how to answer a person’s questions while foreseeing who else it might apply to and giving an answer that will satisfy all their needs.  But most importantly, I have learned patience – if someone has a tough question, I can respond patiently and articulately without sounding stressed or discombobulated.

3)      A foreign language? – This one I am on the fence about, but it is something I have a slight ability in and currently working to improve.  It would certainly depend on the work that you do, but being able to communicate easily with the people you work with is important.  Since I work in Texas, a lot of the migrant workers speak Spanish better than English. If I am ever put in a situation where I work in the field, I can only imagine that it would help me.

4)      Ability to learn/adapt quickly – Job skills and requirements are always changing.  That’s why the PE requires that you take some continuing education courses to maintain your skills.  If you are slow to adapt to or learn these new techniques, it will be difficult to truly be good in your field.  Truth be told, I always love learning new things, so I don’t have an issue with it for the most part.  I think most people who aren’t engineers assume that most engineers are like me.  But I could see where, if you just like the process of design and don’t always want to be on the cutting edge of things, it might be more difficult – even if you are a highly skilled and respected designer.

Those are the most relevant ones that I could think of in this short, last minute blogging session.  Are there any other skills that you can think of?

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