It might be overwhelming, and you may be wondering where to start, but a career in engineering is one of the best decisions you could make professionally. Engineers have one of the highest percentages related to job security, the salaries are also some of the best all around the world, and it’s not that hard to find a good job fresh out of college.
When kickstarting any career, there are some steps you must be willing to take to get you going, but what specific things should you be doing to help your career in engineering? That’s what you’ll find out below.
Decide which route you’ll take
First and foremost, you need to decide what type of job you’d like to have. Are you more of a practical, logical person who doesn’t love public speaking or has much interest in managing a team, for example? Or are you very outspoken, love to guide and help others to reach their full potential, and also thrive on communicating with others to learn more about their strengths, so you can utilize them?
Either way, they’re great skills to have as in engineering. However, one takes you more on a developer route and the latter towards a managerial role such as a project manager. The distinction is relevant because the qualifications you probably need in each case are not necessarily the same. As a project manager, you should look into a master’s degree in engineering management so you can have the knowledge and experience required for a higher role.
Not only if you’re working in the computer science field, but mostly keep developing your skills. Do not stay at the same level for a handful of years because, especially in fields like engineering, things move fast and change constantly, so you want to make sure you keep up with the trends.
This could be a great incentive to get a master’s, for example, or just develop certain skills you might be lacking or need some polishing through workshops or webinars. Just don’t stay still, be willing to put in the effort and continue learning.
Seek help from experts
Whether you want some guidance to know where to start, or you’d like to learn from someone who is an expert in their area, seeking help shows you’re determined to discover more and delve deeper into tasks and problems you’re unfamiliar with.
An expert can act as a mentor to help kickstart your career in engineering or just to guide you through issues you might face and ideas on how to be more innovative and successful.
Unfortunately, like in most fields, you have to work hard at the beginning of your career. Be prepared to jump higher than others to show your motivation and determination to be successful. This doesn’t have to be only a challenging part of the beginning of your engineering career; you could also think of it as an opportunity to learn more and grow rapidly because you’ll probably have to fix problems and come up with unique ideas that you wouldn’t have the opportunity to if you didn’t work as hard.
Interacting with other like-minded people is not only good for future contacts but also for your mental health. Sharing experiences with people who actually understand what you’re saying and who can ask follow-up questions and even offer you some advice is extremely important when you’re only starting out.
Think of networking as an asset for your near future but also for long-term opportunities that may present to you through people you’ve met along the way.
Don’t get spooked or discouraged
Any new job is hard, and an engineering job is definitely high on the list of difficult jobs. You will come across problems you don’t know how to solve, and you will make a few mistakes along the way. But don’t let that spook or discourage you. Every engineer has been in your shoes, and they know you only need time to get adjusted to a new job and develop the set of skills – you will master the job once given the appropriate amount of time.
Learn from past experiences
When you can’t solve a problem, or you mess something up, learn from it and move on. You will have the opportunity to prove yourself once a similar problem appears again because it will. That is the beauty of engineering; you will and should always be working on improving your problem-solving skills.
People say, “it’s not what happens that matters; it’s how you react to it”. So, figure it out and get back on track. Learn from your mistakes, and you’ll become better every day.
Keep an open mind
Your first position in an engineering industry might not be the perfect one for you, and that’s fine. Take that opportunity with open arms and squeeze out any skill, technique, tool, and lesson you can take from it. It’s still an experience, and if, by the end of the day, all you get to learn and realize is that you do not want to continue in that industry, then you’ve already gained something from it.
Keep an open mind to everything because doors open when you least expect them.
Patience is definitely a virtue, and you should be patient when it comes to your engineering career. Let things flow naturally, and you will enjoy the ride more. You have plenty of years to find success, don’t overthink it at the beginning of your career.
In the end, kickstarting your engineering career boils down to what you want to make of it. Whether you prefer developing your skills by obtaining a master’s degree or you want to jump right into the technical side of engineering, the choice and power lie with you. Make friends along the way, continue learning and showing your peers you are motivated, and just have fun.
A career in engineering comes with many benefits, and you can’t forget to enjoy those as well. Keep working on yourself, and sooner than you realize, your career will be on its way.