In preparing this Annual Careers Issue, we talked with several engineers from many industries to find out what they think of their profession. The overwhelming response was that they like it and enjoy the challenges, even though they wish they had more time to work on their projects. It's unanimous that among the biggest factors in engineering today is the shrinking design cycle. "Schedules keep getting shorter, and managers think we can do our work in no time," lamented one engineer. "It's getting unrealistic."
So, do engineers have to move at mach speed to advance in their careers? It probably helps, but other traits can help too. Here's good advice from one reader: "Take the initiative in projects, and don't wait for others to make decisions," says hydraulics and pneumatics engineer Don Covin, an owner of Tower Automotive. Covin says one of the most critical skills engineers can have is the ability to identify problems and then have the confidence and courage to try a solution. "Try something even if it might not work," he says. Taking the initiative will increase your value to your company and your customers.
Be decisive and proactive; it might help you cope with those shrinking design cycles.
Give us your best shot
Here is another piece of career advice: Show off your best engineering work by entering it in the Design News Excellence in Design Contest! There are at least four reasons to enter:
You can win prizes. Big prizes, including money.
You can win bragging rights. We get hundreds of entries. It's quite a testimonial to your own skill to win.
You will win the respect of your peers—and your superiors. That means the next time you have a suggestion on a project, they'll listen.
Show your design team members that you have confidence in what you all have done together.
We will be waiting for your entry.
Paul E. Teague firstname.lastname@example.org