Five Traits of Highly Effective Engineers

Many engineers possess unique traits such as initiative and eagerness to learn that help make them more successful in their careers.

29 December 2017

Effective engineers use their resourcefulness and initiative to find solutions. They identify problems, but they aren’t limited to finding, fixing, and troubleshooting. They assess their current situations and continually seek to improve upon the status quo. They listen and learn. They ask for ideas, consider possible solutions, and then synthesize opinions and facts to create appropriate responses.

Here are some essential qualities found in the most successful engineers.

  • #1 Problem Solvers

    The crux of an engineer’s job is problem solving. The most successful engineers enjoy fixing what’s broken, finding better solutions and solving puzzles. Great engineers use both their creative and analytical abilities. This combination helps them to dissect an issue and frame it in a way to come up with a resolution. In addition, skilled engineers consider more than just the problem in front of them; they think about improving existing systems, as well as new and innovative ways to develop products and help existing products work more effectively.

  • #2 Observant

    Top engineers pay close attention to the presented problem completely—their actions are not impulsive or random. Engineers often have more than one problem to solve, but they are focused and methodical in their approach to solving them. Clear communication is critical to perform the job efficiently and accurately. Paying attention to detail is also crucial; the slightest error can cause an entire project to fail. Being extremely observant and paying close attention to detail are essential engineering qualities that separate the highly effective engineers from the merely competent ones.

  • #3 Team Players

    Most engineers are part of a team that works to create and produce a final product. Teamwork is a part of daily life for engineers, and the ability to work well in a team setting helps increase the likelihood of project success. In addition, when receiving praise, engineers must have a cooperative and sharing spirit. The most highly respected engineers make sure all team members receive credit for a job well done.

  • #4 Goal Oriented

    A successful engineer starts a project—or any task—with the end in sight. Once the desired outcome or destination is defined, a list of steps can be created to get to that end result. Then, a realistic timeline can be generated.

    A successful engineer also designs with the next engineer in mind. Projects are frequently handed over to someone else, for various reasonsthe initial engineer’s expertise was needed elsewhere, the project is being implemented in stages, or the first designer has simply left the company. Successful engineers keep accurate and up-to-date records and notes so they can pass them along to their successors. In addition, no engineer wants to be solely responsible for a system, otherwise they will be stuck babysitting that project forever. Engineers want to expand their knowledge, apply their talents, and move on to other projects.

  • #5 Eager to Learn

    Education doesn’t end with a degree. As technology continues to evolve, the best engineers are those who are ready for tomorrow’s innovations. Continuing education helps top-notch engineers stay up-to-date on new trends, techniques, industry developments, ideas and research.

    Finally, great engineers design great products—ones that answer a need in an intuitive manner. They can clearly visualize what products need from a user’s perspective. What may make sense to someone who is technically savvy may confuse others. Ultimately, the success of any product is with the customer, so engineers must design, plan, build and test accordingly. And they must have internalized the tools needed to do their jobs effectively.

Content sponsored by Digi-Key Electronics.

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