Engineering is one of the areas in your life that you really enjoy. Taking on new projects, getting them working, and then getting them operating as they should is what you are passionate about. For as long as you can remember, you have been passionate and interested in engineering, but have you ever thought seriously about turning it into a career? Engineering careers, whether in the consumer sector or in the B2B sector, are highly sought-after roles. Getting qualified and developing your skills along the way is important to make the transition from hobby to career, but what else should you be thinking about?
Turning Your Passion into a Career
When you turn your passion, or your hobby, into a career, it can feel fantastic, but it can also feel like a time that is filled with self-doubt and worry. Worrying that you have the right skills and knowledge base to carry out projects and ensuring that you see projects through are probably two of your main concerns right now. When engineering is a hobby, you have no real-time limits or pressures to perform. You have your free time to fiddle and change bits of a new machine or piece of equipment you are working on. You also don’t have to worry about having the right skills or knowledge as nobody is judging you or even watching over you, so if you make a mistake, then you don’t need to worry, as who is there?
However, when you turn your passion into a career, you have a new set of worries and concerns. Of course, over time, these will disappear, but, to begin with, they can feel all-consuming. So, just how can you make the transition from hobby to career as easy as possible? Well, to begin with, you need to remember your passion at the heart of everything you do. Yes, your engineer feats will be judged, and, yes, you will have time pressures and deadlines to adhere to. However, if you maintain your passion through every project you undertake, you will make the transition from hobby to career success and relatively easy. Removing unnecessary pressure and stress will be beneficial to you, and it will ensure that you still remain passionate about every project you undertake.
Going About Things the Right Way
Just like when you start a new project or test, there is a right way to go about things and an incorrect way to go. When you start out on the road to a career in engineering, it is crucial that you go the right way. The right way involves gaining more experience, and it also involves studying and getting qualified. Yes, you might have been working on projects and plans since you were little, but as good as being self-taught is, it is not always what future or potential employers want from you. When you commit to studying an engineering degree, you learn new ways to begin and undertake projects, and you also learn about industry standards.
If you do not commit to getting a formal education, then you may struggle to land and even secure a job in engineering, simply because there are industry standards that need following, and if testing, production or manufacturing, veers off from these industry standards, results could be different, and your employees or the ones who have commissioned your project could be left in a difficult position, especially if you have not followed the correct procedures and rules. Going about things the right way or in the correct manner may feel different for you, but if you commit to studying and you commit to learning in a structured environment, then you should have no trouble adapting your styles and ways of working.
Studying and Getting Qualified
When it comes to studying and getting suitably qualified, it is important to weigh up all of your options. You need to begin by looking at reputable and respected universities, and then you need to establish just what you would like to get qualified in and why? Choosing the right educational institute or university is crucial. You want to ensure that you are getting an education that is valued and also respected. A university with an outstanding reputation and one that provides flexible learning opportunities would be the best route for you to take. As where you study is just as important as what you study, it is of paramount importance that you take your time to choose the correct establishment for you and your requirements. Weighing up the pros and cons for a select number of universities will allow you to narrow down your list significantly.
Just as you have taken a methodical approach to choose a university, it is also crucial that you take a methodical approach in establishing what you want to study. So, what area of engineering are you looking to be part of when you finish studying? Do you want to be within the developing stage, or would you prefer to be in the operations department? For example, if you want to be in the operations department or area, then you will need to study a suitable degree, such as an operations management degree because this will provide you with all of the information, and knowledge you need to carry out the role successful. If you do not study for a degree that is related or even relatable to what you want to do, then you will struggle to land the job you want, and you will struggle to get the satisfaction out of any role you undertake.
Having a Plan of Action
Once you have decided which university you want to study at and you have decided which degree to pursue, you must now formulate a plan of action that will help you get the career you want. Without a plan of action, you may find it difficult to find a job with a company you want, and, as a result, you may have to settle for something less than you deserve. So, to begin with, your plan of action needs to have a timescale. If you are working on an infinite timescale, then you will find that you will never apply yourself as well as you can! So, aim for a 3-4 year timescale, and this way, you have ample time to complete your studies, and you have enough time to start seeking out opportunities.
As well as planning out your studies, you also need to have an action plan for gaining some experience. To gain suitable and relevant experience, you need to get some suitable and valuable work experience. When it comes to finding suitable work experience, it is worth looking both local, and further afield at engineering, and manufacturing businesses. Gaining work experience, even if it is irregular and just a few hours here and there will benefit you and will help you in the long term. Learning how engineering businesses operate and function is crucial so that you can understand how your future role fits into everything that happens, perhaps on a daily or weekly basis.
The Growing Demand for Engineers
Engineering has shortages, and it has demand, and these are unfortunately widespread. As older engineers are retiring, there are not enough suitably qualified or experienced engineers to take over, and this then leads to huge gaps within the workforce. Skills shortages, and shortages within minority groups, such as female engineers, mean that engineers are always in high demand. Building up your experience and your knowledge is crucial because experienced engineers will command more interest, and in return, you will be well remunerated and compensated. As businesses and industries change how they work and how they operate, the demand for engineers will continue to grow.
Due to the demands for engineers, businesses do compete, and they will compete for you once you have the correct qualification and education under your belt. Jumping at the first opportunity that comes your way is often not very beneficial, and this is important to remember, especially in an industry where they are shouting out for new people. Evaluating every opportunity on offer and selecting the right one for you that matches your views and your ways of working is crucial. Remember that being in demand within an industry can, unfortunately, come with its downsides, and one of these can be located. There are opportunities available all across the country and even across the world, but that does not mean that there will be a suitable vacancy available for you near to your preferred location. You may have to travel where the work is, and this is something that you should start planning for and preparing for as soon as possible. Planning and preparation will make it more comfortable and more enjoyable.
Changing Your Mindset
It can be difficult to change your mindset and to change your way of thinking, especially if you have been used to doing things in a certain manner for a period of time. However, when you are approaching new opportunities and you are putting your skillset to use every day, you must ensure that your mindset matches that of the company or business you are working for. If your mindset is different, or if it is not in line with how your employers want to proceed in the future, then you can struggle to hold down a suitable position. A positive mindset, and a mindset that is highly adaptable, is one that you should look at adopting, and although this might be a bit of an alien concept to you right now, you will see just how important a collaborative and cohesive mindset is amongst employees, and employers, especially when undertaking new projects and assignments.
Attributes and Skills of Good Engineers
Of course, all engineers are different, and they are all individuals. However, they all share a lot of attributes and skills which make them good engineers. So, do you share any of these attributes?
- Creativity - You have to be creative to solve a problem or to put your plans and ideas into action. If you cannot think creatively, then you cannot see a solution or a resolution to a problem, and this could be a sticking point,
- Positivity – A positive mindset and a positive approach to working are crucial. If you cannot maintain a positive mindset or approach, then you can struggle to get the answers and solutions you need, and you can end up letting your frustrations stop you and even hold you back from achieving what you know you are capable of.
- Critical Thinking – Thinking quickly and applying critical thinking to those highly stressful times and situations is essential. Being able to think clearly, even in times of pressure and stress will help you solve problems and find a solution quickly.
Don’t panic if you do not have the time to change and tweak how you handle or approach situations, and you have time to adopt the correct mindset.
Seeking Out Opportunities
Now you have evaluated your skills and your attributes, and you have a strong and solid education behind you, it is time now to start seeking out opportunities. Finding new work placements and opportunities can be easy if you adopt the right mindset. When you are starting out and you are looking for new opportunities, you need to be open to working in different locations, and you even need to be open to working on short-term projects to build up experience. Finding opportunities online, approaching companies and businesses offline, and even signing up for job agencies will help you to get work that suits you. You may need to make compromises when you start out, and as you are building up your experience and connections, but if you persist, and if you remain open and flexible, then you should have no trouble in landing a position that suits you and that allows you to turn your passion and hobby into a career.