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How can you become a better engineer?

I am a high school student.
I want to go to a divisional 1 college when I graduate from High School. #engineer #engineering #high-school #college #graduate-school

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13 answers

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Athanasios Aris’s Answer

Hi Victwhon N,

Being an engineer requires to be able to apply knowledge in order to design systems that solve meaningful problems.

This lies beyond implementation skills in building such systems. For instance, It includes the ability to identify such problems and also identify whether the today's scientific knowledge can offer the bases for designing effective systems to solve them. In essence, being an engineer requires mastering all objectives of science, including being able to describe, explain, and predict the world around you in order to finally be able to change it.

In this context, I would say that the first step in becoming a better engineer is to always try to apply the knowledge you acquire to solve meaningful problems. Even if this means that you will re-invent the wheel, this application forces you to deeply understand the concepts and delve into the first principles of science and engineering. As you move forward and acquire more and more knowledge your systems will become more and more novel.

Believe in your self and be bold in asking questions :)

All the best!

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John’s Answer

The best time to start preparing for your future engineering career is now Victwhon.

Build your knowledge base in mathematics and science by taking challenging courses and pursuing independent study. Participate in extracurricular activities and seek opportunities for hands-on experience. You can also put your skills to the test by entering — and ideally winning — competitions related to science, mathematics, and engineering. By taking these steps, you’ll make yourself a competitive college applicant and lay the foundation for a highly successful career in engineering. If you aren’t sure what courses or opportunities are available to you, start by having a conversation with your guidance counselor today!


1.) TAKE CHALLENGING AP CLASSES – In college, engineering majors take a rigorous course load that’s packed with math and science. Prepare yourself by taking the most challenging math and science classes available at your high school. These may include AP Calculus, AP Physics, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science, and/or AP Statistics. If your school doesn’t offer AP courses, don’t panic. Colleges will take this into account when reviewing your application. Simply tackle the most challenging opportunities available to you. College admissions teams are impressed by candidates who demonstrate initiative and genuine enthusiasm for their area of study.

2.) THE SHADOW KNOWS – You’ll gain skills and knowledge through your coursework and extracurricular involvement, but it also helps to have experience. You can build real-world engineering experience through job shadowing, internships, or volunteering. Ask your parents or guidance counselors if they know of any engineering-related opportunities or connections. You can also call or email local companies and see if they’re looking for interns or volunteers. If not, would they allow you to shadow someone and learn about the job? Another way to gain hands-on experience is by attending an engineering summer camp. These camps are typically held at universities and involve design challenges, renowned guest speakers, behind-the-scenes tours, and more. Real-world experience builds skills and knowledge and gives you another opportunity to evaluate whether engineering is the career for you. Of course, all of these experiences will also look great on a college application.

3.) BE COMPETITIVE – Once you’ve gained skills, knowledge, and experience, put your engineering abilities to the test by entering a competition. STEM-related competitions include Science Fair, Math Olympiad, Science Olympiad, Chemistry Olympiad, High School Innovation Challenge, Intel International Engineering and Science Fair, and more. Competing in these events requires you to apply all the engineering knowledge you’ve acquired. If you can rack up some awards and achievements in STEM, you’ll stand out from other engineering hopefuls. And even if you don’t win, entering competitions demonstrates you continued commitment and passion for the field.

Competition for engineering jobs is stiff Victwhon, so continue enhancing your resume and pursuing challenges and opportunities in college.

Hope this was Helpful

John recommends the following next steps:

Remember that there are many fields within the discipline of engineering. You can be a biomedical, software, environmental, civil, or chemical engineer — and that’s not an exhaustive list. In high school, explore several options before settling on a specialization later in your college career.
When it’s time to get teacher recommendations for college, at least one of your letters of recommendation should be from a science or mathematics teacher. This fits with the “theme” of your application (STEM) and enhances your credibility as a future engineer.
Depending on what colleges you apply to, you may or may not need to declare a major and/or apply to a specific school within the college. Regardless, it’s important to demonstrate strength, commitment, and passion in a particular area.

Thank You Dexter for your Continued Support. “If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” — Kofi Annan John Frick

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Elliott’s Answer

One piece of advice I can give on this subject is to take advantage of any "resume building" opportunities that will be presented. Volunteer activities, internships, etc. Finding a smart engineer isn’t hard, but finding one that is marketable by college graduation is rare. Get out shadow engineers you may know who are in various fields. People generally like to show off where they work and will be happy to give you a glimpse behind the curtain! As far as getting into a division 1 college, I know SAT scores do hold some weight, but if you feel unsatisfied with your score don’t feel discouraged. You will find that it is common for students to attend a "satellite campus" (IUPUI) and transfer to the main campus after a year or so (Purdue).

Additionally, when you enter an engineering program, be sure to develop a relationship with professors. Attend office hours and sit in the front of class. Students often land internships and even jobs off of professor recommendations.

Lastly, you will find that going after certificates (six sigma, computer information technology, etc.) will do wonders to diversify and build your resume to make it more competitive! These can also help you breach gaps that others may find in getting into larger companies and organizations.

Elliott recommends the following next steps:

Participate in "Resume Builder" activities
Complete "certificate courses".

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Madura’s Answer

To become an engineer you need the curiosity.There no thumb rule s such but some of the following things can make a good professional engineer.

1. Try to read text-books and reference books as well
2. Develop your personality as you study technical skillsets.
3. Keep open mind
4. Dont study for marks and keep healthy competition
5. Try to grab your interest area in first or second year itself and try to dig in for future scope and studies in that area early.

Madura recommends the following next steps:

You can search for good mentors
Do some industry projects
Hands on is way better when it comes to knowledge gaining

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kalyani’s Answer

Hi Victwhon,

You are already on a great track with this thought process !! Since you already know, you want to become an engineer, you can now invest some time in trying to find what interests you, which specific field and accordingly you can start building your skills around that.
If you finalise a few colleges and what courses you want to pursue, you can then look at the requirements from these colleges and start working towards it by spending some time everyday reading about the same. If time permits, then you can join some online courses for the same.
Once you are in an engineering college, applying your everyday knowledge to things around you. Understanding how things work is one of the many things that will help you become a better engineer in the future!

All the best!

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Geetha’s Answer

There are around 1.5 Million engineers created every year, and with so much competition it has become necessary that one must have certain qualities that would make them stand out. A successful engineer has certain qualities that would make them a capable, accomplished and proficient individual.

Some of the personality traits include:

Analytical thinking
Problem-solving skills
Listening Qualities
Leadership qualities
Commitment towards work

To know more about the different factors that make an individual good engineer, read the below article:

Persona Of A Successful Engineer

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Carolina’s Answer

Engineering is a great area to develop in. It's really interesting since you need to get to know all the areas you are working with. That's one of the most important things I consider to be a better engineer: understanding all the business impacts of the business you are in and the different departments that go on around the product/service you are working on. That will give you perspective and you'll keep learning.

One of the most improtant things is to have a well-established code of ethics. All activities we do in engineering have a great impact in our environment, from the smallest to the greatest, therefore being clear on what is correct and not will make you a better decision-maker and engineer.

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The best way to be a better engineer is to think of the box and be competitive. update yourself with the current trends in the market related to your discipline

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Marvin’s Answer

#1 Get involved.
There are many ways to grow engineering abilities through hobbies and participating in extracurricular activities. For example, if you would like to explore electronics and wireless communications, there is a wealth of knowledge available from local amateur radio (HAM) organizations. Robotics and many other engineering disciplines are also available.

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The best way to be a better engineer is to think of the box and be competitive. update yourself with the current trends in the market related to your discipline

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David’s Answer

Hey Victwhon!
For where you are in the engineering development process, my recommendation would be to apply yourself to your core engineering classes. In order to differentiate yourself and develop granular skills, I also think it is important to take on hands-on side projects. Be sure that these projects are interesting and fulfilling for you. This is what will stand out when you go through the application process.
In general, engineers also need a lot of personal skills. A lot of advice will guide you to develop technically equally important is that you can communicate these technical ideas. This is where you can truly be an effective change maker. Be sure to focus on communication, emotional intelligence, team work and active listening skills. Engineering is first about understanding before solving.

David recommends the following next steps:

Focus on core engineering course and curriculum
Participate in projects that are interesting and challenging

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Dennis’s Answer

Great question! Let's see if I can provide you some of the knowledge I've acquired over the years. First, diversify! Learning a lot about one particular area makes you a great asset if that company needs that specific type of engineer. However, things are fluid. Things change. Having a well rounded background enables you to pivot and to pursue different opportunities and even collaborate with different groups easily. This makes you a huge asset! Let's say you're a computer analyst and your job involves data analysis & interpretation. Collaborating with -- say the business performance team may be something that comes easier than collaborating with the coders or database administrators who are implementing a new enterprise resource management system. Learning enough about a broad spectrum of technologies really enables you to "speak their language" and be able to provide meaningful input into their job -- thus allowing you to make recommendations that are very real-world. Nobody likes someone that has no idea what their job is about and makes sweeping recommendations that are nearly impossible to implement. Learning a LOT about a BROAD RANGE of areas makes you very valuable. Who knows, maybe you'll end up managing a team someday of people because you have -some- skills in that area. Don't limit yourself is my words of wisdom.

The best engineers are ones that can communicate. We all know the stigma of engineers that are "too deep in the weeds". They have great knowledge but have a difficult time communicating what they know in a way other people can understand that aren't also in engineering. One of the best things you can do is learn to be a communicator. I was a radio personality on the side of being an engineer. It made me incredibly agile and very poised and confident in front of the customer. It's a very unique skill combination. This will make you VERY in-demand if you can not only command the technology and science aspect -- as well as command the room when you go to deliver the message.

Good luck!!

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Arun’s Answer

Hi there,

If you are in high school, you probably are already having varied discussions with your family , friends , teachers & online resources regarding your career path. In my view, such discussions are crucial in shaping & strengthening your career plans (by removing misconceptions about specific career paths & allowing one to chalk out realistic & achievable goals).

Once you have decided that Engineering is the right track for you to follow, these are some of my tips to be a successful engineer.

1. Theoretical & practical expertise building should go hand-in-hand. For example, in my undergrad computer programming classes, I spent hours practising programming after the regular theory classes. In engineering education , practise, practise & practise by sweat, trial & error is a sure path to gaining proficiency.
2. Learn to be a smart engineer. What I mean by that is, do not spend too much time on tasks that have low return. For example, do not try to crack an engineering problem that is already solved by hundreds of others. Prepare a priority list of things to do & follow a heuristic approach (informed guess-work) giving more time and effort to the valuable problems. Because, in corporate & professional life you are never going to have enough time to complete your entire To-Do list.
3. Make sure you work on your Communication & documentation skills to keep them strong. In the corporate & professional level, clearly documenting the solution is as important as finding the solution itself.

Wish you the best,