13 answers
Updated Viewed 605 times Translate

What are the qualities that an engineer should have in order to be successful?

Engineering department sounds complicated but interesting to me. I want to study to be an engineer. I want to work on my skills so I can be prepared for my future. #engineering

Accomplish getting your degree. It may take some time, but it's worth it. Secondly, I would apply for a co-op or an internship while in school so you can get your foot in the door somewhere into a company you are highly interested in. I will also say that even after you graduate, continue to upgrade your skills, even if that means spending a little money here and there to be certified in some courses. Hope that helps and good luck! Courtney Sanders, MBA

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you
100% of 15 Pros

13 answers

Updated Translate

Christopher’s Answer

Hi Mariana (from Katy, Tx...I'm from Texas as well),

To put it simply, you have to like solving problems. And you have to be curious to ask questions (as you did in this forum). Of course, in our toolbox as engineers is a whole heap of Math so there's no getting around that. Finally, over the years and across many projects, it becomes more and more apparent that you have to have awesome honesty and character as the solutions you put in place will affect others. So study hard, ask questions and take advantage of every STEM opportunity that you can.

I hope this helps you along your journey....thx for you question :)

100% of 2 Pros
Updated Translate

Hector’s Answer

I think everyone will start off with problem solving, strong math skills, and strong science skills depending on what field of engineering you are in. As well as say that you need a degree, which is true, but I think these are the easiest parts.

To be successful I think is different and requires a whole slew of skills that many do not consider.

First and foremost you have to know what type of engineering you would like to do. In order to find this, have hobbies, join engineering clubs in high school and college, and also join competitions! Not only will you make friends and memories but you will find what questions you want to spend time answering as well as develop the skills you need to address those questions.

Second, I always tell students to aim for at least 3 internships before they graduate. This means you will be applying to places since freshman year. Do not think you are not enough, or need more classes to be useful. By being there, asking questions, and helping in tasks, you will be worth your weight in gold. Join internships that expose you to more than one department if you can! This part of the answer is an extension from the first. Get experience!

Lastly, is something most engineers do not enjoy. That is networking! Make friends at school especially with your professor. Keep up your relationships with professors. Keep up with friends at school, eventually they will be colleagues at work and other companies. Professors are professionals with ties to the industry and can help you get into places you would normally think you could not reach. How do I practice networking? Join a club, run for an executive position, run the club, become a leader on a group project.

100% of 1 Pros
Updated Translate

Aishwarya’s Answer

I have to agree with many of the people here and say problem solving is the most basic trait you must have as an engineer. You must be able to be curious as well as persistent to get down to the details of the problem. If you are willing to do that, then I think you have what it takes to be an engineer! We also ask a lot of questions, both to others and ourselves, so I think you are well on your way to becoming a fantastic engineer. :)
Math and physics, of course, are the core of our curriculum but with hard work and patience you can certainly learn that. And if you’re able to put in the effort to learn that, then you can definitely pick up any skill required for your specific job.

P.S. Also in high school I had no idea how many different types of engineers there are so I encourage you to look into different positions and see if you would like to do that too.

Updated Translate

Manuel’s Answer

Hi Mariana,

When you study to be an engineer, you develop certain skills like problem solving and math. What we normally don't get taught in engineering school are soft skills like communication. So I would definitely work on improving communication skills, organization, team work, and all other soft skills you feel you need improving on. This will set you apart from most engineers and will set you on the right path to become successful in any field you chose to go in. Another quality of a successful engineer is passion for learning, never stop learning. I have a PhD in Science and Engineering and I work designing rocket ships, but I still take online courses to improve in areas such as electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, computer programming, law, anything that I'm curious about and want to learn more.

Updated Translate

Steve’s Answer

Some essential qualities of a successful engineer:

1. Listening - understand the whole problem or entire challenge. It's important to know how things will be used and what success is in the eyes of those that will use your work. Many engineers create great solutions to the wrong problem or can't be used because of some limitation the user has. This goes double for software. Develop your listening skills.
2. Questioning - asking the right questions is crucial and is often the inspiration for new ideas. Don't be shy about asking questions until you really understand how things work, what the problem is, what a great solution would look like. Don't necessarily do what is asked for or what you are told, ask enough questions and you often realize you can solve a much more fundamental or useful problem. Don't put all your trust in a single source, question others and make sure you have a consistent picture of the problem you want to solve.
3. Know your assumptions - we always make assumptions about the problem, the solution or challenge. List out all the assumptions you are making, ask the person posing the problem to list out their assumptions. This helps you think differently about problems and helps you communicate with others when you work with a team (as is typical in a workplace). The process of listing assumptions often gives you a clue or idea for a new way to tackle the challenge.
4. Act like a leader - take responsibility, give credit to others. Taking responsibility (individually or as a team) is easy when things go well, but the real measure is when things don't. Giving credit to others for their contribution pays off in the long run as does taking responsibility. People want to work with you when they know you give credit for their work, and don't shift blame them when there are problems. You create a positive working culture and that leads to you taking on more responsibility and bigger challenges.

Updated Translate

Job’s Answer

Strong math and study skills. A rational thought process. Since there are many types of engineers it is difficult to list all the qualities you wil need. I forced my son th ego to the 6th best engineering school in the USA, after telling him I did not want him to be an attorney like I am. You will get a good paying job out of college if you excell at school, no need for graduate school and there a shortage of qualified engineers in the USA.
Do not go to college to study engineering unless you are ready to work hard at school and have a diminished social live. The upside is that once you have graduated you will have a skill that can keep yuo employed and you can then have a social life. My advice is to wrok very hard in engineering school or do not bother

Updated Translate

Jessica’s Answer

Your tenacity is great! Wanting to acquire the skills to be successful as an engineer is exactly how engineers think! The most important skill is problem-solving, engineers are great problem-solvers at their core. They are able to hone in on a problem, ideate, then execute their idea. If their idea does not work as planned, then they repeat the process. Understanding how to approach any problem is the first step. With this skill, you will be able to work in any engineering discipline, from computer engineering, electrical engineering, to mechanical engineering. Additionally, engineers know how to explain high-level concepts in plain everyday language, making them the middle people between different industries. Work on your communication skills and problem-solving skills as you complete your degree. You've got this!

Jessica recommends the following next steps:

join organizations on campus
Find ways to apply the knowledge that you're learning, in an internship or research opportunity
Finish your engineering degree
Find a job!

Updated Translate

Courtney’s Answer

Accomplish getting your degree. It may take some time, but it's worth it. Secondly, I would apply for a co-op or an internship while in school so you can get your foot in the door somewhere into a company you are highly interested in. I will also say that even after you graduate, continue to upgrade your skills, even if that means spending a little money here and there to be certified in some courses. Hope that helps and good luck!

Updated Translate

Mayte’s Answer

Be good in math and physics in order to be successful in school. To be successful in the real life you need to be proactive, good listener, trainable, leader., analytical, attention to detail. The most important is that you need to will to learn new things.

Updated Translate

Calvin’s Answer

A keen eye for detail, ability to manage and work with other (non)engineers,

Updated Translate

Ian’s Answer

When most people think "engineer", they instantly think of someone who is good at math and science. While it definitely helps to have strong interests and aptitudes in these subjects, getting good grades in math and science are hardly the most important things to successfully becoming an engineer. Wanting to solve the problems that most people look past or immediately give up on is, in my opinion, what separates engineers from non engineers. Trying to solve these problems (often failing) and learning from you mistakes is what will build you engineering "tool kit" even if you have no formal engineering training. Constantly asking questions, Googling things to see how they work, building something for no reason other than you want to see if you can, and obsessing over the details are all traits I think of when I think engineer.

In terms of formal education, you usually have to have an engineering degree to get a job in an engineering role (this isn't really true with software engineering if you can show your skills in other ways). Engineering school certainly isn't easy, but if you truly love this field and are willing to work hard, I believe anyone can graduate engineering school! One thing I wish I knew when I started college is how important side projects and engineering extracurriculars are. Good grades are important, but I've heard of many people who have landed great jobs from being a major contributor to the Formula SAE club, building their own app, etc. School is important, but showing you have practical experience is just as important!

Good Luck!

Ian recommends the following next steps:

Look for problems and try to solve them.
Apply to engineering schools.
Try to get good grades, but don't forget about personal projects and extracurriculars.
Never stop learning.

Updated Translate

Abhishek’s Answer

  1. Logical/analytical reasoning ability
  2. Enthusiasm for experiments and continual learning
  3. Data driven mindset

Abhishek recommends the following next steps:

Mathematics is a must

Updated Translate

Carolyn’s Answer


Your question highly depends on what field you want to go into after college -- do you want to pursue academia (i.e. be a professor or researcher at an institution), industry, non-profit, consulting, etc?

If you want to be successful in college, a good skill to have is teamwork. There will be times when you can save much more time and understand better if you get along with your classmates. Social skills are also valuable if you end up at a large company, and honestly if you become a teacher, although most Engineering teachers are not necessary the most social people. Technically, you should be active in pursuing internships to hone your hands-on skills: nowadays, it is almost a must to have some work experience before you graduate college. Good critical thinking and problem-solving skills are also essential. In engineering, there is fewer memorization in comparison to on-your-toes thinking skills. Your exams are not about knowing equations as much as knowing how to apply examples you have learned in class in a different and more complicated way.

College engineering is heavy in math and physics. If you do computer and electrical engineering, then it'll be heavy on coding.

So it really depends on what you mean, and what timeline you are asking about.