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What skills can I learn to help make me more distinct in the computer engineering field.

What skills are rare/ needed in this field that not many people possess.

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Randy’s Answer

Leviticus,
Great question. In my experience (8yrs in software/tech), having great interpersonal skills will help set you apart. Oftentimes, engineers are seen as people who just want to be left alone and code all day, which may be true for some. However, engineers who have the ability to connect with others or who have empathy for others (colleagues, users, stakeholders), will be very successful.

While it is critical that you maintain a strong set of skills, you also want to balance it with how you interact with the various people you'll come across or collaborate with, during the course of your career.

Randy recommends the following next steps:

Learn to care about others - colleagues, other teams
Connect with new people all the time
Attend meetups or events
Share your knowledge and offer what you know
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Jeremy’s Answer

Hi, Leviticus! Dexter is absolutely right that communication skills will be very important in order to stand out. I also recommend that engineers and other tech professionals expand their overall business knowledge so that they can be better prepared to contribute to the company's goals. It's understood that an engineer should be very good at their technical specialty, but those who can apply that specialty within the larger context of the business' mission and vision will have a huge advantage, and a seat at the table for key conversations and decisions.

I'd recommend taking at least some basic business and/or economics courses to provide a foundational knowledge of those areas. And of course there are plenty of books you can pick up that will help, too!

Good luck!
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Jim’s Answer

Completely agree the previous answers. Public speaking and presentation skills, along with general business and economics knowledge will truly set you apart from your peers/competition. Good luck!
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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Leviticus,

I think the number one skill that most people (including me) can be better at is communication—about what they do, how they do it, and why it matters. I have met really smart people throughout my career, and the most successful ones do a great job with their ability to communicate. Conversely, I have also met really smart people who have not had success due to their inability to communicate well.

I recommend taking speech classes at a local community college, then following that up with more communication courses in college. If classroom learning isn't your thing, you can also hone this skill through drama clubs or MC gigs, though those are not exactly the same. Oh! Actually, improvisational comedy classes/clubs will also help your communication skills by allowing you to be more comfortable during dialogues with others.

I hope this helps!

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Dexter
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