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4 reasons why you're going to be a successful engineer

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 8 Jul 2022

Successful engineer Hero Image

Success means different things to different people, depending on what you want out of your career and out of life, defines your success and achievements. We get way too comfortable comparing ourselves to others, that we forget what really matters to us. There will be people in your career that excel faster than you do but there will also be people that look up to you. So don’t measure your own success on the people around you.

Being successful or striving for success is what drives most of us to keep learning and developing as professionals. It can help you be happy in your role and in your personal life. Again, happiness is subjective. But success is made up of different things, including your attitude to work, your wellbeing and the skills you chose to work on. Here are a few skills that you should have or work towards, to help you on your road to success.

You’re the perfect team player

First things first, no one is perfect. It’s something that we feel pressured to be but being human doesn’t mean being perfect. We all make mistakes, have days where we may feel down. But the idea is that we get back up, keep going and work with yourself and the people around you.

Your attitude to others can affect the way you feel, they feel and the success of your team. This includes things such as being happy for other peoples’ success, always being on hand to help out when needed (willingly) and being generally motivated and wanting yourself and your team to do well. Your goals will be similar to those of your employer, and you’ll be striving with others to achieve those goals. Sometimes the people you work with won’t have the same intentions for their career and this is something you simply cannot control; but being on hand to help them as well as give support where needed is only ever a good thing, not just for your career, but for being a good person.

When it comes to helping others, if you always give your opinion and ‘advice’ when it’s not wanted. There is a fine line between wanting to help and being controlling. Always be mindful of these moments and step back if necessary. The people around you are just as competent. Teamwork is all about allowing everyone to bring themselves and their best ideas into the workplace.  

You’re realistic and honest

A lot of people tend to lie to themselves during their careers. Whether it’s telling yourself that you’re better at what you do than anybody else or that the company couldn’t possibly live without you – the extent of the truth in this can sometimes vary. I’m not saying you should be so brutally honest with yourself to the point where you feel pretty useless, but you shouldn’t give yourself false expectations of what you do for your job and what you’re trying to achieve. Truth is, there are plenty of engineers out there that could do your job and do it well. You need to know your worth, understand that you are an asset, but don’t become cocky.

Pushing yourself to achieve things is great. But give yourself realistic time frames to achieve the goals you want. If you have an idea, plan it and execute it. But don’t always expect success. Good engineers can make mistakes, understand where they went wrong and try again. In a sector that relies heavily on innovation, mistakes are going to be made. You are creating new ideas; it’s bound to happen. But don’t expect perfection the first time around.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? We don’t usually like to dwell on the things that we’re not good at, but that’s why we have a team of people around us. We can all bring something different and learn from each other. Work together to meet deadlines and don’t try to do everything yourself. Be realistic and understand that you are not capable of everything. Believe it or not, it’s totally acceptable to be honest and ask the people around you for help.

Your work-life balance is good

It might be normal that from time to time you find that there is an imbalance in your work-life ratio. In order to be successful, I believe that you need to be happy with what you’re doing in life and that includes your personal life. You need to be giving yourself the time you need to relax and refresh, if not for yourself, then in order to bring your best self to work.

You will know when it’s time for a break. Take it when you need it and don’t suffer from the effects of burnout. This really can be worse than you initially think. If you are able to spend your time wisely and find a good balance between working and letting go of those pressures at work, then you’re giving your career then best boost you can. Being successful isn’t about overworking yourself, it’s about finding happiness in what you do. And that includes things like family, friends and time away from work.

You’re determined and driven

If you’re motivated to do well in your career, then of course you’re going to be successful. I’m not saying it will be easy and happen overnight if you are determined, but this trait really does go a long way.

Following through on those motivations is key. Signs of being genuinely motivated include wanting to know more and having a thirst for knowledge of your industry. Learning from people is just as important as going on training courses – if not more helpful sometimes. You can learn invaluable information from those around you and the people you connect with through your network.

Part of being driven and motivated is not giving up when things go wrong. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time but being able to own up to a mistake, learn and move on from it is a great skill to have. It’s important to say again, that striving for perfection is an unrealistic motive to have. Ask for help, learn from mistakes and you will find that along the way, you will make less and less mistakes.

Success in your career can start off small and get bigger and better as you progress. If you don’t get the promotion, you wanted it doesn’t mean you’re a failure; it means you have to up your existing success and learn more for next time. If anything, these failures help us become better engineers.