Development Destroyer #3: Don’t Try to Do It Alone
The myths and realities of what it takes to be successful on the Engineer in Training Exam.
There’s a myth about the successful engineer — that he or she has some super knowledge to design and innovate without consulting with no one but their own gut instinct.
This is about as truthful as telling you that you can learn everything about engineering by watching the Discovery Channel.
What it really takes to increase your success on the Engineer In Training Exam
If you look around at people who are Professional Engineers, they don’t look much like a super hero in shiny capes.
However, they more than likely have some skills entrenched within that you’re going to need if you want to increase your chances of succeeding on the Engineer In Training Exam and beyond.
I’ve been toying with this one here and there throughout the series, and today I want to really dive into it.
The underrated Engineering talent
No it’s not knowing what Vulcanization means…
Study the people who do well as Engineers over the long run, and you’ll find individuals who are good at getting along with other people.
They might be opinionated, brash, or outspoken. (They might also be quiet, reserved, and introverted.) However, they know how to make connections, and they know how to take care of their friends and colleagues.
What’s the most underrated talent as an Engineer? Good manners.
Engineering outside the cubicle is about people.
- It’s about nurturing trust and letting people know you’re on their side, that you can genuinely help them and that you want to help them.
- It’s about client relationships and treating others with respect.
- It’s about treating your peers well, so they’ll be more willing to help when in need.
- It’s about building networks, so you can go further than you ever could on your own.
People are the ones who innovate. Drafting tables don’t. Computers don’t. Calculators don’t.
If you don’t have the people part right, you set yourself up for mediocrity, no matter how great your knowledge is of Reversible Processes.
So is it really “who you know”?
We have all heard, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
Let’s be real, it’s both.
You need to know more about engineering than you get from watching the Myth Busters. You need to have the ability to bring something to the table.
This isn’t first grade where you get a gold star just for showing up. You need to provide ample knowledge, to know your discipline, and the ability to genuinely help your peers and clients.
But we all know, we see it day in and day out, you can have all of these things covered, and still have a mediocre career.
There are plenty of brilliant failures out there. People who are incredibly smart, near genius, but incredibly dumb about other people.
No one builds a successful career all by themselves.
If you want to go far, go with a group
There’s a great African proverb that says:
If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go with a group.
This is the driving force behind the existence of the EngineerInTrainingExam.com brand, to provide a robust community that allows for one to expand outside their everyday means.
But it isn’t the only way.
Look around in your local and virtual hangouts and start building a network of individuals who have the same dreams and aspirations as you.
Don’t wait until you lose your job and have to turn to LinkedIn to see what opportunities are out there.
Don’t wait until you’re desperate. Start building your network now.
Mix it up a little
Connect with people who are just graduating. Connect with people who are about where you are. Connect with professors. Connect with managers in all companies (locally and beyond). Connect with engineering experts.
The more diverse your network is, the more powerful it is.
And of course, don’t be a leach. There is nothing that repels connection faster than someone who’s always asking and never giving. Be generous, be friendly, be open to unexpected connections, and provide value where you are able.
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