The word engineering comes from the Latin words ingenium, meaning “cleverness,” and ingeniare, meaning “to contrive, devise,” so we know successful engineers are intelligent. There’s more to becoming a successful engineer than one’s intelligence, though.
Qualities of Successful Engineers
According to Monster.com, some of the most common qualities you’ll need to be a successful engineer include good communication, high interpersonal skills, enthusiasm, organization, and technical expertise. While these are helpful qualities to possess, let’s expand on this generic list a bit.
First and foremost, you need a mind that’s geared toward problem solving. Part of being a good problem-solver includes the ability to remain objective, determine obstacles, identify opportunity, take action, and implement reverse engineering. Fantastic problem solvers also need to be able to delegate responsibility and push their (often large) egos aside.
Successful engineers pay very close attention to detail. So if you’re one of those people who look through everything with a fine-toothed comb and sometimes aggravate your peers with your precision, you can check that skill off your list. You’ll also need a thirst for knowledge.
So far, we’ve touched on a series of innate, not-really-related-to-engineering skills that are often associated with your personality. If you do possess most of these qualities, then you may be an engineer at heart. In the meantime, we can revisit technical expertise and cover the engineering skills you’ll need to actually be good at your job.
Skills of Successful Engineers
Let’s break down the skills you’ll need by the five most popular engineering disciplines, because at the core of a successful engineering career lies qualifications in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects at the master’s and post-graduate levels.9