Engineering continues to be one of the most sought after careers in India. Most good institutions attract very high levels of interest and registration for the major entrance exams like the JEE also continues to remain high. With the JEE Main and the JEE Advanced exams coming up soon, engineering is once again in focus. Engineering careers span a range of sectors including Aerospace, Automotive, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, IT, Metals, Construction, Green Energy and Engineering services. Within these sectors, there is a variety of roles ranging from Project management, Design, Quality and Testing to R&D. Achieving sustained success in an engineering role demands a high level of ability, commitment and learnability throughout one’s career.
It’s not that networking is always with a specific purpose. Whether it has got to with attending an industry conference or to do with maintaining membership with an industry body like the IEEE, networking is all about staying current with the latest developments and maintaining high-quality professional relationships with peers in the industry. Needless to say, the first benefit of networking is in the form of information about job, research and internship opportunities that may not be advertised. Additionally, one also gets the opportunity to attain increased visibility amidst peers for the quality of one’s knowledge, competency and research output.
Learning 24×7 – from peers, colleagues and bosses
Wherever one is placed exactly in one’s career, the first source of learning the “right way” of doing things is always from one’s own peers, colleagues and bosses. A lot can be learnt from people at office including interpersonal skills, communication skills and approach to work. The smallest of habits – say a person’s habit to maintain a work diary with the learnings of the day or another person’s practice to mark down minutes of a meeting, for example, can prove to be very easily translatable and have high impact on one’s productivity at work.
Take initiative, every time, every where
Initiative is not just that one big, high visibility project to save Rs. 5,00,000 more off printing costs. The possibility to take initiative exists every minute and every hour in the workplace. Be it offering to be the Software Configuration Manager or to take that tough new marketing assignment in the Middle East, performers are generally marked out by their sense of initiative. Across geographies and sectors, there is known to be strong correlation between an individual’s sense of initiative and his/her pace of career progression.
It’s all about the numbers
Starting with project budgets to costing of raw materials and products through to measurements of employee productivity, engineering is all about numbers. It’s not that one requires mastery of the advanced areas of mathematics such as calculus very often. However, engineers working in manufacturing lines do require skills in Statistics and Probability. Engineers working in services can usually get by with good skills in such as basic Number-handling, Ratios and Percentages. Both the JEE Main and the JEE Advanced require candidates to acquire mastery of several critical areas of Mathematics, thereby enabling engineering aspirants to gain deep knowledge of most of the fundamental areas of mathematics.
Soft skills are hard value
Engineering is not only about the right brain skills like mathematics but also values soft skills like communication and negotiation. Particularly as engineers go up the ladder, they begin utilizing the left brain side of skills more, such as conflict resolution and contract negotiation. The soft skills gained as one moves up the ladder prove to be invaluable in managerial roles that combine both a technical flavour and a managerial flavour.