How to Take Your Career in Engineering to the Next Level



The engineering industry moves forward at an incredibly quick pace — blink, and you’ll miss the latest advancements that have taken place within it. No matter how experienced you are as an engineer, then, there’s always the possibility of you falling behind in your field.


If you do, in fact, feel that you need to claw your way back to the forefront of everything that is happening in the field of engineering, then you have to resolve to take action. To the point, you have to resolve to take your career to the next level.


To see what you can do to improve as an engineer and take your career in this profession to the next level, make sure to check out the advice listed below.


Get an advanced degree


You will have already earned yourself a bachelor-level degree, this being a prerequisite in the engineering field. You won’t, however, have necessarily earned yourself an advanced degree. If you want to take your career to the next level, though, taking such a degree is a prospect that you seriously have to consider. With a master’s grade planted firmly on your resume, you will be able to enjoy easier access to far more lucrative positions in the engineering field. You would stand a far greater chance of earning a higher salary, too.


Fearful about juggling your working responsibilities with studying for such an intense advanced degree? Thanks to the rise of remote working capabilities, this need not be something that you worry about. Many educational institutions including Kettering University now offer an automotive engineering degree online — by taking this particular route with your education, you will be able to study at your own pace and in your own time.


Hone your soft skills


Technical skills are incredibly important, but they’re not the be-all-and-end-all. To find real success in the engineering industry, you have to hone and cultivate a number of soft skills, too. This means devoting just as much of your attention to the skill of being able to listen actively as you do to, say, performance testing.


As well as active listening, eight other soft skills that you should definitely be honing in your attempt to take your career to the next level include:


  • Communication
  • Interpersonal
  • Team working
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Time management
  • Adaptability
  • Leadership


With these abilities, you will make yourself a far more competent worker. As a result, you will stand a far greater chance of advancing in the field of engineering, as employers will feel more capable of trusting you and your particular skill set.


Build a professional network


Engineers aren’t known for building strong professional networks — they’re known for working hard and getting the job done. You’re going to have to buck the trend in this instance (without allowing your standard of work to drop, of course), though, as, without a strong network around you, you won’t stand any chance whatsoever of being able to advance in your career.


When it comes to building a network, you should consider turning to these kinds of professionals:


  • Alumni from the college or university that you attended
  • Former lecturers and professors that taught you during your time in education
  • Colleagues that you once worked with
  • People that you have met at networking events


The Internet should be a tool that you turn to in this instance, as it will allow you to get in touch with all kinds of professionals no matter where it is their career has taken them.


Demand opportunities are given to you


You’d be surprised at just how easy it can be to advance in your engineering career by simply demanding that opportunities come your way. This doesn’t mean heading to your boss’s office and saying that you deserve a raise or a promotion, this means demanding that you have an opportunity to prove your worth. Just like in any other industry — if you don’t ask, you don’t get.


To be able to request that you are handed the opportunity to prove yourself, first and foremost, you need to when such an opportunity becomes available. This means that you have to stay alert. You have to remain abreast of all the latest changes that are being made to the company that you work for, and you also have to keep your finger on the pulse of the engineering industry as a whole.


Try out a different sector of engineering


The reason for you being held back in your career might be because you are not branching out enough in the engineering field. By branching out, you will show yourself to be an engineer that is capable of working under various different guises, which will only make you more appealing to potential employers.


There are plenty of sectors for you to try out in this instance, each of which requires a different skill set. Some of the various engineering sectors that you could try include:


Chemical engineering


  • Ceramic
  • Materials
  • Petroleum
  • Process
  • Reservoir


Civil engineering


  • Architectural
  • Earthquake
  • Ecological
  • Fire Protection
  • Hydraulic
  • Railway
  • Structural
  • Traffic
  • Water resource


Electrical engineering


  • Computer
  • Microelectronic
  • Power
  • Software
  • Telecommunications


Mechanical engineering


  • Acoustic
  • Aerospace
  • Audio
  • Marine
  • Nuclear
  • Thermal


No matter what sector you choose to branch out into, just make sure that your specific skill set will allow you to be successful within it. You could do more harm than good to your career if you take on tasks that ruin your reputation as a talented engineer. Also, make sure that you have a distinct passion for the sector that you try out — without passion, you will find it hard to dedicate yourself to your new sector of choosing.


Whether you’ve already hit an impasse in your engineering career or whether you’re just scared of hitting one in the future, you should take the above advice right away and seek to take your career to the next level. You should get yourself an advanced degree, hone and cultivate your soft skills, build your professional network, demand that opportunities come your way, and consider branching out into different sectors. By doing so, you will find yourself reaching the pinnacle of the engineering mountain sooner rather than later.


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