Engineering skills are in great demand and the industry is only anticipated to grow
throughout the decade. However, recruiters and managers at engineering firms can still be somewhat picky when they are looking for candidates to fill open positions.
In fact, the engineering industry is in a cycle of rapid change. Organizations are beginning to rebuild post-pandemic – rehiring, redesigning and strategizing to meet the needs of an ever-changing, but optimistic, future.
One thing is for certain: many engineering jobs will need to be filled as we go forward to get production back on its feet. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that industrial engineering jobs will grow by 10 percent by 2029 and with the rush back to work, competition for top talent will be more intense than ever. Filling these positions can be overwhelming as companies navigate new virtual work conditions, changing responsibilities and more.
At PDDM Solutions, we recognize the importance of standing out among other candidates. We want to share the top skills that engineering firms will be looking for the remainder of this year and the next. if you will be in the market for an engineering job in the present or near future, you’ll want to make sure to highlight these skills and personal attributes during your job search.
Technical engineering skills will be first thing that recruiters and hiring managers check for on resumes. Engineering candidates need to possess the skills essential to fulfill the responsibilities of the position they are applying to. Would-be employers want to know that you have the education, credentials and know-how that the job requires. This includes up-to-date knowledge about technology, software and applications. Technical skills will constantly come up in interviews, so having specific examples of employing these skills is always good to have on hand.
It’s also important that recruiters or hiring managers see that you’re adept and willing to undertake additional training since most companies use assorted software and systems.
Says one recruiter, “Technical skills are important to show that you can learn. The fact is, not every company uses the exact same software or processes. They have their own proprietary way of doing things, and will train you accordingly, but they want to know that you have the aptitude.”
Did you know? The word “engineer” comes from the medieval Latin word “ingeniator,” which comes from “ingeniare” meaning clever; native talent.
Employers aim to hire an engineer who will be able to come up with varying solutions to an existing problem. A technically talented engineer with little imagination is unlikely to add any value to the organization and will have a difficult time with different projects. An engineer who can channel their creative vision through careful planning and an inventive use of existing resources is a valuable asset to any organization.
You cannot possess problem solving skills without fostering your critical thinking skills. In an engineering firm, having technical problems, disagreements and miscommunications are predictable. These may even cause damage or put a department, project or the entire company at risk though, if people in charge have no problem-solving skills.
Having sound problem solving and critical thinking skills are necessary in an engineering role. As an engineer, you need be able to recognize, measure and examine demanding problems. You must make speedy decisions when handling critical situations. You’ll want to be able to recommend and execute solutions.
This isn’t something that’s acquired overnight, not even in your four years of studying engineering. You acquire these skills through experience, and you simply need to be ready when you make a mistake. Of course, your education can help you use theories and formulas learned in school but once in the situation, experience and mistakes are the best teachers. No doubt, you’ve heard this along the way: Learn from your mistakes, embrace them.
Did you know? In 1891, Chicago issued a challenge to all engineers to build a structure for the city’s Exposition that would surpass the Eiffel Tower. The engineer who won proposed a giant rotating wheel that would lift visitors high above the city. The inventor was Pittsburgh engineer George Ferris.
In both personal life and work life, communication is key. Many engineering jobs are especially information-heavy. This suggests engineers must be able to handle various methods of communication: technical and non-technical, written and verbal, online and in person.
“Gone are the days of sitting at a cubicle and minding your own business. This is the digital age and communication skills reign supreme,” says one recruiting professional.
“You’ll need to be able to clearly communicate thoughts or issues with management, give presentations to customers and keep in touch with lot of people via phone, email and/or online meetings.”
Effective communication skills are essential for brainstorming, designing products, problem-solving, team building and so many other areas of a business organization. True, technical skills are unquestionably important, but being able to clearly communicate your ideas, thoughts and progress is imperative on any project or with any team.
No doubt, this specific skillset is consistent with communication skills, yet interpersonal skills are in some way more about what people think of you the first time they shake your hand or talk to you. Interpersonal skills shape how people distinguish you.
Interpersonal skills include positive attitudes, collaboration, professionalism, responsibility and teamwork. You exercise your interpersonal skills by working together with co-workers, interacting with people in a welcoming and professional fashion and being accountable for work assigned you.
Recruiters will often have precise questions that will allow you to exhibit how you’ve applied interpersonal skills in former positions. Such skills are critical when interacting with clients and partners because you’re acting for your organization. The firm you are applying to will want to make sure you can offer a professional, realistic representation of the company.
Did you know? In 1452, a Hungarian engineer offered to sell an extremely powerful cannon to the Byzantine empire. He refused, so the engineer instead sold the cannon to the Ottoman empire, who used it to help breach the walls of Constantinople in 1453, bringing an end to the Byzantine empire.
Employers are searching for an engineer who is constantly investigating things and deliberating on ways to help things perform better. Given any circumstances, engineers should be skilled at discovering the root cause of an issue, projecting the impact and devising corrective actions.
Analytical skills will help an engineer envisage a given assignment, project or issue from various angles so as to break it down into smaller pieces. An engineer who is inherently curious will be able to manager demanding and complicated situations in the workplace.
Employers pay engineers top-notch salaries to resolve critical problems. As an engineer, you need to possess an established process for solving problems and this involves critical thinking skills to investigate issues from every perspective and develop effective solutions.
During an interview, the ability to defend your responses in situations where your critical thinking skills can demonstrate to the employer you’ll be an asset to their company if hired.
Did you know? In 1969, an IBM engineer named Forest Parry had the idea to affix magnetic tape to a plastic card. Every adhesive had failed. He went home frustrated. His wife was ironing when he walked in, and she suggested he fuse the tape onto the card with the iron. It was a success and the magstripe card was born.
Leadership and management skills
When searching for applicants, employers will look for individuals wanting to build careers and grow within the organization. If you are seeking a management position, especially, you’ll need to demonstrate how you possess the leadership skills necessary to lead the team.
However, whether you’re hired as a junior engineer or work in upper management, all engineers are leaders. As an engineer, you might be in charge of contractors, other engineers, an entire department or be a consultant that gauges the work of others. It’s critical to have leadership skills to inspire others to give their best to projects. Your leadership style on a project can make a huge difference in the attitude of workers and prompt them to either work hard or do just the bare minimum.
As a leader, you must be able to evaluate and make the most of a team member’s strengths and abilities to make the best use of manpower and build a professional team.
It’s not sufficient to know how to produce and decipher technical blueprints; engineers also need to possess outstanding project management skills. Engineers with project management know-how and valued certifications such as Project Management Professional (PMP) command higher fees because they can help employers supervise and produce wide-ranging engineering budgets with higher success rates. Having such certifications and experience not only enhances your employability but can also boost your career advancement.
Did you know? When building the Golden Gate Bridge, a lead structural engineer named Joseph Strauss insisted on the installation of a safety net even though its $130,000 cost was deemed exorbitant. Over the four years of its construction, the net saved 19 men who named themselves the “halfway to Hell Club.”
A motivated candidate will be selected over someone who appears to be searching for a job rather than a career. Managers want eager and dedicated employees who will add positivity and value to the team. You’ll find opportunities to demonstrate these skills during the course of the application process.
During the interview, demonstrating an optimistic manner, asking questions, and paying attention will show your interest in the position as well as the motivation and loyalty you’ll have if you were to be hired.
Motivation, enthusiasm and commitment will reveal your attitude and interest in the position as well as your desire to flourish within the company and take on the leadership roles and management positions defined above.
Engineers must also show outstanding organizational skills. They must be able to organize human, capital and technical resources to resolve engineering glitches and deliver projects on time. Engineers must also be willing and able to work with other participants such as management and business partners to make certain projects are delivered on time, on budget.
Did you know what is considered the oldest branch of engineering? It’s civil engineering, all the way from the stone age and encompasses a variety of sub-disciplines and jobs. The first civil engineer in the world was believed to be Imhotep. He most likely planned and regulated the development of the Pyramid of Djoser (a Step Pyramid) in Saqqara in Egypt around 2630-2611 B.C.
A major portion of an engineer’s job is resolving problems and creating solutions. There will always be a demand to keep making things better, faster or stronger. For example, “There is a requirement for more efficient engines with less noise and reduced carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions,” says John Schofield, an engineering associate fellow in the area of fatigue and fracture at Rolls-Royce.
Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for the people who are going to provide the answers to these demands. They want to see that you understand the need for innovation to solve real-life problems.
As described in the opening, PDDM Solutions is in the position to help you discover that new engineering job right now! Just contact us at your convenience.