Great changes are happening everyday in the exciting fields of engineering. New technologies are emerging which require deeper knowledge and harder, cutting edge skills.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing change at a speed, scale and force unlike anything we have seen before. All these changes are going to affect every industry – and engineering is no exception.
Old business models are going to become obsolete. Businesses resisting change will cease to exist. New business models in each and every industry are going to be transformed as part of the whole digital transformation.
And it’s changes like these that will see a rise in demand for soft skills, also called interpersonal skills, that many engineers perhaps don’t have today.
A good dynamic set of both technical and soft skills may be what is going to make a difference when employers consider candidates for joining their team. Yet, these skills are often neglected by professionals in the engineering field, since these professionals quite often focus on the hard skills alone.
Here, we have a look at some of the most common soft skills that are useful for today’s engineers.
An engineer with good adaptability skills is able to identify solutions to unforeseen problems. Then, the engineer can make the necessary modifications to adapt to the new situation or new environment.
This also happens at a fast pace, since often the success of a project depends on assessing the problem fast and finding a flexible and thoughtful solution to it.
Engineers usually work with fellow engineers and also with other people from other departments. This implies working and interacting with a variety of different people, different personalities, and different levels within a chain of command.
In such cases, the ability to apply skills like verbal communication and body language as well as demonstrating a solid character and personality are crucial.
Communication skills are pretty much linked to being successful in team environments. Yet, many engineers underestimate the importance of brushing up their communication skills since they believe their technical skills are the only ones that matter in their profession.
Being an adequate speaker, writer and listener is important in the engineering field, where clarity and understanding are required for completing teamwork projects. Public speaking and making presentations are also often in the engineer’s agenda, particularly when companies participate in trade shows and conferences.
Attention to detail
Engineers often work with complex projects. Having an eye for spotting a small detail that, if unnoticed, can cause the failure of the project in the future is a valuable soft skills an engineer should develop.
Here is where thinking-outside-the-box becomes essential. Creative thinking is a skill required by many jobs across different industries. It becomes particularly important in engineering.
Finding ways to apply existing knowledge in a new and creative way can take you further in your engineering career. Problem-solving is a key requirement of a successful engineer. Possessing or developing creative thinking is as valuable as the technical skills you use to identify and troubleshoot the source of a problem.
Creative thinking is a soft skill that more engineers and others in the STEM field should cultivate to become truly valuable as both a team member and as a leader.
As you advance in your career and your technical abilities improve with time, your expertise is going to be required in order to manage projects.
Your new position as a project manager will require you to manage and motivate other engineers as well.
Delegating tasks, managing teams of people, and coordinating complex projects are going to be on your everyday list. To become a top leader, therefore, implies that you need to master as many soft skills as leadership requires.
What kind of soft skills do you think you need to cultivate and advance your career?
Source: Edited from original article https://interestingengineering.com/engineers-should-master-soft-skills-for-a-successful-career