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What Makes A Good Engineer?

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What makes a good engineer? Whenever I hear this phrase, I instantly think about a well-rounded person who has good grades, has the ability to think critically and create solutions to problems. After watching the two interviews, I have learnt that having good grades is not as important as someone who has great communication skills, both in writing and orally, relational skills, leadership skills and human skills.

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Thinking about it now, I am very hopeful that my future as an engineer will be filled with many new and exciting job opportunities. I am aware that being an engineer comes with huge responsibility. However, I can see myself trying to make the world a better place and help the economy and country grow by providing my knowledge. What excites me the most is that I will be able to go out to field sites, work on different projects, and meet new people that are equally as passionate as I am about the engineering industry. Working in a team will allow me to use my leadership skills that I have previously gained from working in group projects.

While watching the interviews, I did not realize how important it was to not only keep up to date with the engineering sector but also be aware of what is happening geopolitically around the world. I can see how this can be beneficial for me as a future engineer because the world is constantly changing. If I don’t adapt to this change the skills that I may have gained previously may not be fit for future jobs which eventually I will become an irrelevant engineer.

Another aspect that I did not realize was important for an engineer was having cultural awareness. Personally, I do think that having cultural awareness is very important as well. Since I’ll be working in an industry that requires me to build relationships with people it is crucial for me to be mindful about their differences in their attitudes and values that they believe in. Another aspect I did not realize that was important was having skills in financial management. I knew it was important to have a good overview of the cost of the project to get the best value for money, but I didn’t think that it would be that crucial. This worries me because I have no experience in any sort of financial management, however, I am keen to learn.

The thing that caught my attention while watching the interviews was when Dean Kimpton, the Chief Operating Officer of Auckland Council said “If you can do a calculation but you can’t communicate, then your career is not going to go anywhere”. Hearing that made me worry because I’m generally a shy and quiet person, and if I’m working in an industry that requires me to communicate with clients or team members, I will need to change my language in a way that others would understand. Communication is important because my clients and team members need to understand why I am solving problems the way I am because if they don’t understand they may think it’s not a good idea and possibly not be on board.

Overall, I think that these interviews have given me an insight on what my future employers are looking for in a good engineer. I now know that they are not fixed on choosing the student with the best academic background but the student who also possesses soft skills such as communication skills, relational skills, leadership skills and human skills are more desired.

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