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Skills and attributes you need to get into Engineering

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Gain an insight into what an engineer does, and the skills and attributes they need to succeed in the diverse and exciting world of engineering.

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skills to get into engineering

What does an engineer do?

Engineers are the problem-solvers that power the modern world. They design, build, test and maintain the systems that we encounter on a daily basis, from our houses and road systems to the devices we use at home, work and on the go.

There are many careers in engineering, but these principles guide the role of an engineer. From solving issues with electrics and automobiles to designing software and technology that will shape our future, you would be surprised to learn how many aspects of our lives are supported by engineers behind the scenes.

How do roles in engineering differ?

The sheer diversity of roles in the engineering sector can be difficult to comprehend, which means there’s an opportunity for every skill set and personality in this industry. Whether you love fieldwork and travelling around the world, or you prefer the comfort of a desk job where you’re analysing data at a computer, roles differ greatly from sector to sector.

A defence engineer, for example, is likely to have opportunities for adrenaline-fuelled jobs working alongside the army to design and maintain military equipment. An environmental engineer, on the other hand, will be reversing the effects of manmade and natural conflicts, envisaging sustainable solutions for the future.

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What attributes does an engineer need?

It’s relatively easy for graduates to find roles that match their skills, personality and ambition. However, most engineers share a passion for solving problems, with an inquisitive mind and a keen eye for detail that allows them to get to the bottom of an issue and identify areas for improvement. 

These attributes form a foundation on which skills can be developed through study and work experience; graduate schemes are designed to foster these interests, to help you gain tangible expertise in the workplace.

What skills do organisations tend to look for?

Here are engineer skills that are important to employers:

  • An analytical mind – you’re capable of thinking critically when presented with a situation, to identify solutions and areas for improvement
  • Quick thinker – you can apply your knowledge and skills to rapidly solve problems when presented with an urgent issue
  • Team player – you thrive working in a team, and can express yourself confidently and clearly when communicating with others
  • Technical skills – you have qualifications in maths, science, engineering or technology, giving you a grasp of key engineering principles
  • Time management – you find it easy to organise your time and prioritise tasks based on their level of urgency

Five skills you need to become an engineer

Thinking of becoming an engineer? Here are five skills you need to enter the industry:

  • A qualification or degree in a relevant field of science, maths or engineering
  • An understanding of the different roles, and what they entail
  • A clear idea of what career path is best suited to your skills and attributes 
  • Work experience, ideally, in the engineering sector
  • A desire to learn and change the world as we know it!

Summing up

Becoming an engineer isn’t rocket science, but an interest in the subject will certainly help. If you’ve got a passion for science and technology, a sound grasp of mathematics and engineering principles, and a good grounding in the industry through university or work experience, you’re on the right track to a career in engineering.

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Want to get a foot on the engineering career ladder? Browse graduate opportunities and take your first step towards a career in this rewarding sector.