Engineers are the human bridge that connects creative imagination with practical reality. For people outside of the field, these professionals can seem as if they are part scientist, part machinist and part magician. While the skills native to all of these occupations are valuable in engineering, it also has unique challenges and rewards rarely found in other occupations.
Defining the Problem to Find a Solution
There are dozens of specialties and branches within the engineering profession. While there are plenty of technical differences between an environmental engineer and a designer of aerospace equipment, all engineers work to solve problems. They apply both creative and technical skills to determine the scope of the problem, identify possible solutions and find the options best suited for the situation.
Being an engineer means being able to achieve solutions that balance elegance, cost and efficacy. There are almost always multiple possible solutions to a particular problem, but just solving the problem isn’t enough. Engineers must constantly seek improvement in themselves and in their work. Of course, to avoid over-engineering a problem, they also need to know when to accept the results as satisfactory. They must get from data to a decision!
The Element of Service
From oil and gas equipment to passenger vehicles, everything that engineers create ultimately serves society. While engineering can open doors to a rewarding career in its own right, it also equips people with the skill-set to make a real difference in their environment. Even relatively small innovations and improvements, like reducing energy waste or improving safety features, can have meaningful consequences for users and society in general.
Even as their designed and optimized solutions serve users, engineers can also be an indispensable resource for their employers. Just like other staff members, these professionals work to deliver overall value to their company or organization. This means engineers need to be flexible and responsive to the needs of their company, team members and clients.
Traits of Excellent Engineers
Many current and prospective college students balk at the idea of pursuing an engineering degree. These programs can certainly be challenging and competitive, but the profession is not an exclusive one. It’s open to anyone who is willing to commit themselves to hard work, study and fostering a true passion for solving problems great and small.
While there are all kinds of people who build careers in the field, there are a few personality and character traits common among most successful engineers:
- Methodical and analytical approach
- Ability to take criticism
- Flexible, “out of the box” thinking
- Curiosity and insatiable desire to learn
- Team and result-oriented mentality
Engineers don’t always have the best communication skills, but these can be learned just like any other technical skill. As engineers progress in their career they can find just how beneficial good communication skills are to the success of a project. In most professional settings, they can expect to frequently work alongside team members with varying skill sets, and communication is an integral part of the collaborative effort.
Looking Forward to the Future
Today’s engineers set the stage for tomorrow. Learning from past mistakes is a vital skill for anyone in the profession, but it’s ultimately a field that is always moving forward. It’s easy to get left behind unless you are willing to embrace new ideas, constantly seek self-improvement and expand your horizons.
Each team member at Practical Engineering Solutions has their own individual reasons for pursuing a career in this field. Engineers may come from different backgrounds and have wildly varying plans for the future, but all of them share a passion for mastering the physical world and turning the substance of imagination into tangible reality. If you’re looking to partner with a team that understands at the most intimate level what it means to be a successful engineer and knows how to turn data into actual decisions, look no further than PES.