Ongoing professional development is one of the keys to always being happy and confident in your role in the engineering sector.
If you want to have your pick of engineering jobs, you will want to make sure that you don’t stop learning. You will also want to be able to show it when it next comes time to update your CV.
But how should you go about this? Here are five ways you can get ongoing skills training as an engineer:
How to improve your engineering skills
1) Join a professional society
There is a huge range of professional societies for engineers out there. Many of them offer training in a huge variety of technical and non-technical subjects.
Most engineering specialisms have their own societies. For instance, if you have a civil engineer job, you might want to join the ICE, the Institution of Civil Engineers. There are also broader organisations, such as the Society of Women Engineers.
Don’t just sign up to tick a box though. It’s worth being an active member of your society if you want to get the full worth out of it. Most offer a whole list of roles and opportunities, so explore and see what’s out there for you.
2) Get a coach
If you really feel the need to give your engineering skills a serious boost, it might be worth hiring a professional coach.
This might not be an option for everyone. But if there’s a big gap between your current skills or career and the skills or career you want to have, a skilled and reputable coach might be a good place to start.
3) Enquire about training from your employer
If you currently have an employer, it’s probably worth asking them about any professional development opportunities they have available. Many employers are very keen on their team members improving their skillsets.
Admittedly, some employers do offer what amount to box-ticking exercises. Equally, there’s no need to start a random course just for the sake of it.
But if your employer offers serious, useful courses, why not see if they have anything that matches areas where you feel you could be stronger or that might be useful for your future career.
4) Go online (and try some MOOCs)
MOOCs are Massively Open Online Courses. They’re by no means the only kind of free or reasonably priced online course you can find that can help you climb the engineering recruitment ladder. But they’re well worth investigating if you’ve never come across them before.
Some of the most interesting include:
1. MOOCLIST – a handy tool that collates all upcoming MOOCs so you can see what your options are.
2.Udemy – has offered online courses for over a decade, often at very affordable rates. They’re particularly useful for people with software engineer jobs and working in related fields. Yet there’s likely to be something there for many other types of engineers too.
3.Meetups – while the other options here are a little more like reference libraries and university courses, Meetup is much more like a collection of one-off seminars or small-scale teaching presentations provided online.
5) Focus on your soft skills
The importance attached to soft skills in the engineering sector has been growing in recent years. Many engineering companies these days are starting to realise that it can be better to hire the person who is the right “cultural fit” for their team and then train them to the right level.
The alternative is to hire someone who looks to have the right hard skills only to find they can’t play nicely with the other members of your existing team.
For this and many other reasons, working on your collaboration and communication skills is a great way to advance your engineering career no matter what field you’re in.
Brushing up on your skills as an engineer
There’s never been a better time to start brushing up on your engineering skills or to continue your professional development.
Many engineering jobs might come with optional development training from your employer. But whether you’re currently employed in the job you want to have or not, joining a professional society, getting a coach, exploring online courses, and improving your soft skills will always be ways to improve what you have to offer.
Not in the engineering job you want to have?
Let’s talk. Ernest Gordon is a specialist manufacturing and engineering recruitment agency. Every day we match candidates with great opportunities across the length and breadth of the UK.
Reach out to us today. We’ll talk through who you are and help you find the job opportunity that’s right for you.