10 Tips for Becoming a Successful Engineer

August 17, 2021

Engineers are in high demand at the moment, and when you consider the role they do, it’s easy to understand why. Everything around us is either designed, built or maintained by an engineer. From the cars on our roads to the sewage systems taking away the waste from our homes, engineering work is all around us. So it makes sense that engineering is a lucrative and secure career.

Securing a degree in engineering is not the only way into this career. And a degree in engineering also doesn’t offer any guarantees. You will need to take a proactive approach to your career to ensure you stand out to the best employers. In this guide, we will look at 10 simple steps you can take for a more successful career.


Set goals

You can’t build a successful career if you don’t cultivate goals. This should include long-term and short-term goals that will keep you looking forward. It’s easy to get caught up in a single role and the daily grind, but every job should be seen as a stepping stone to the next level in your career. Check-in with your goals periodically to make sure you’re still on the right track and moving forward.


Keep learning

The best engineers are always open to new learning opportunities. The engineering sector is changing all the time as new technology becomes available and older systems become obsolete. Placing lifelong learning at the heart of your career is a surefire way to ensure you are successful.


Be adaptable

Employers don’t just want the most skilled workers, they want people who are adaptable and willing to explore new ideas and concepts. This is how modern companies move forward and embrace progress. By being adaptable in your role, you can make yourself indispensable to your employer and ensure you’re always a core part of their considerations when making company-wide decisions.


Embrace change

As we’ve mentioned, the engineering sector is always adapting to new technology. The most successful engineers aren’t just the ones driving this change, they are the early adopters and the teachers. By embracing change and making sure you’re always at the forefront of innovation, you can position yourself as a teacher within your organisations.


Put yourself forward

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. This is true for engineering as much as it is true for everything else. While large companies might have staff training and development programmes, it’s up to you to put yourself forward for these opportunities. Instead of only applying for roles you are 100% qualified for, consider applying for the roles where you meet 80% of the requirements and see how this changes your outlook.


Build the right contacts

Every successful person has a team of contacts behind them. This might include teachers, bosses and recruiters that believe in your abilities. A company like Nolan Recruitment would be an ideal example of this. The Nolan technical recruitment team only work across engineering roles, so you can be sure they’ll have their ear to the ground and the first pick of new opportunities.


Be a team player

The people you work with aren’t always your competition, so don’t treat them like they are in your way. Instead, embrace the opportunity to learn from those around you and to teach. Being a team player is essential as an engineer, as there are so many different teams that need to work together to achieve big projects. It’s difficult to be a lone wolf in the engineering sector.


Stay focused

Engineering is a broad speciality, so it’s easy to get lost in the opportunities. Make sure you stay focussed and think about what you are trying to achieve in your career. This is one reason that setting long term and short term goals can be so helpful, as it will allow you to keep your eyes on the prize. Small deviations from your goals are fine, but only if they are helping you towards your long term goals.


Create your own opportunities

If you are getting frustrated about the lack of opportunities or the variety of work you are doing, think about how you can make your own opportunities. Could you expand your skills and train in a different area of engineering? Could you use the opportunity to travel to regions of the world in need of disaster recovery engineers? The world is your oyster, and sometimes you need to create your own opportunities.


Don’t become single-minded

If you’re busy making your own opportunities, this probably won’t happen to you, but it’s easy to get stuck in a role that is a little too comfortable. A comfortable role can lead your career to stagnate, and this is the last thing you want if your aim is to be successful. Check-in with your goals every now and then and make sure you’re still working towards something, not just a comfortable retirement.

Nolan Recruitment is a Specialist Engineering Recruitment Agency. One of the UK's best Engineering & Technical Recruiter

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