7 tips and skills new engineering students can't do without

Posted in: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Undergraduate

Author: Suvid Jain -

Here is a list of tips/skills that I thought would be useful for any student on an engineering course. I am going to include tips not only for studies, but also for finding future employment.

1) Maths is the subject most used in all the different modules for engineering. Therefore, if more time is invested in maths, it will help automatically in other modules. Complete maths worksheets first and try to use new methods learnt in other modules to make solving a question easier.

2) Programming is a skill to be learnt that is massively helpful. MATLAB requires coding when plotting graphs and analysing them so, if the functions are learnt properly, a lot of time can be saved when processing data and the quality of the graphs can be improved. In terms of employment, programming is a skill that’s increasing in importance in engineering jobs and will be beneficial to learn for the future.

3) The ability to express your idea comprehensibly. This is an important one but drawing an idea in your head is harder than drawing a picture of something you are looking at. Therefore, the best way is to practice is by imagining an object in your head and drawing it as you visualise it. Starting with simple objects and progressing to complex ones, you will to be able to express difficult ideas in a drawing that closely resembles your idea.

4) The news is one of the best places to look for future employment opportunities. A lot of the world's problems are identified in the news and a many of these problems require engineering to be solved. By finding a problem, you can find job opportunities to solve these problems. Often names of companies are mentioned that are trying to solve the problem, so you can find out about the specific careers listed by the company and the skills they would require.

5) Communication skills are a must if you are an engineer. Working in a team requires good communication, and your opinions should be told in a clear manner in order to encourage other team members to follow you. I personally think that debating would be a useful hobby as it enhances the way you express your views in an understandable manner. This is necessary when explaining why people should follow your design if you are doing a group project.

6) Analysis is so valuable. When a design seems perfect, looking for any flaws is still crucial as it may be significant to the functionality of the product. It may seem nit-picking but can save a lot of money and time for companies, and maybe even lives. I would practise my critiquing by analysing something that is highly appreciated by many, whether it is a movie, book, or picture, and try to pick out it's flaws. This would help you when looking at others’ designs and at your own to find that flaw and solve it to keep on improving it. After all, without looking back and seeing what was wrong, how can you look forward and make it better?

7) Skill and knowledge development outside the course is vital. The world is accelerating at an alarming rate, and who knows if what is learnt now is sufficient in the distant future. That is why I would keep on increasing my knowledge outside the engineering course that I am doing, to make sure that I develop any possible attributes that could be needed in the future. Research more about subjects that could be used in your career in the future, topics to do with science or not. The variety of knowledge acquired will only strengthen you.

I hope you find these skills useful and can incorporate them into your everyday life!

Posted in: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Undergraduate

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