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Traits of Excellent Engineers Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Six Traits found in Excellent Engineers

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Great engineers are competent, creative, yet logically practical, and incredibly influe­ntial on everyone's daily lives. And yet, for some, the thought of being an engineer seems like an unatta­inable and distant goal that can never be achieved. The truth is that anyone can be an engineer, but great engineers are a rare breed. These six inherent traits are the ones that make some engineers rise above the rest.
Credit: article originally appeared on TopEng­ineer's blog. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engine­ering

1. They're naturally curious

Engineers must be able to observe a process, structure, machine, or system and determine how it works and how they can improve upon it. Curiosity is a beneficial quality in nearly every industry because it indicates interest and drives creati­vity. Engineers must have the energy and determ­ination to research and understand problems and their solutions and it starts with that natural curiosity. Kids who grew up asking, "­Why­?" are good candidates for engine­ering programs - but those who excel at engine­ering are more often those who pursue "­Why­?" to "Oh, that's why." Asking questions isn't enough for an engineer; they want to find out the answer and are willing to spend as much as time it takes until they reach a satisfying conclu­sion.

2. They are self-o­rga­nized

Engine­ering teams usually have managers tasked with keeping workers on course, but most engineers still must be able to manage their own projects to some degree. Often, engine­ering projects last months or years, and ideas or discov­eries made long ago must be readily available for applic­ation. Even better, by displaying project management skills, you are more likely to obtain raises and promot­ions. Fortun­ately, self-o­rga­niz­ation is one of the few top engine­ering qualities that can be improved upon with concerted effort

3. They are detail­-or­iented

To succeed in engine­ering, the person needs to be able to parse details and organize them to create an effective machin­e—p­rocess, system, structure. This is part of an engineer's daily respon­sib­ilities and such attention to detail allows engineers to analyze intricate problems and produce high-q­uality work.


4. Good analytical skills

There is a world of difference between something working and something working well. Engineers are typically tasked with finding the most efficient solution to a problem, which requires being able to analyze the issue as well as all possible answers to identify the best course of action. Analytical ability comes in many shapes and forms; even english majors must be analytical in some sense. However, engineers' analytical minds are constantly running, revising plans to ensure the best possible outcomes. People who are able to logically pick problems apart and discover optimal solutions on the fly have the right stuff as a potential engineer.

5. Strong mathem­atical skills

In every engine­ering discip­line, from computer engine­ering to petroleum engine­ering, you will work with numbers and equations. At its very core, engine­ering is the applic­ation of theore­tical mathem­atics to the physical world to solve everyday problems. Engine­ering programs are often rigorous in mathem­atical studies, putting students through advanced calculus, statis­tics, trigon­ometry, and geometry. Students curious about engine­ering should be confident and comfor­table in writing and using formulas to solve problems because it will be required after gradua­tion.

6. Good commun­ication skills

While engineers may seem to be asocial, number­s-f­ocused profes­sio­nals, they are far from hermits. Engineers almost always work in teams, which means commun­ication between team members occurs on a regular basis. Commun­ication failures within engine­ering result in low-qu­ality machines, ineffi­cient systems, and worse. So the ability to express thoughts and opinions must be finely honed.

As with project management skills, engineers who prove themselves adept at commun­ication often excel in management positions. Thus, if you believe your ability to commun­icate is above and beyond the average engine­er's, you should consider advanced education to prepare you for your accele­rated career in engine­ering