A Guide to Starting an Engineering Career
If you would like to pursue a career in engineering or technology, here are some tips for breaking into the industry and getting the job you have always dreamed about.
- Acquire the Relevant Experience and Qualifications
Is a degree needed for you to get an engineering or tech job? According to experts, the answer to this question is not always clear cut. Experts say that while personality, mindset, and capacity to learn help put you in a favorable position, education can be a powerful tool for supporting you in advancing your knowledge and skills, which are bound to impact your career positively.
Doing an apprenticeship, having a degree, or simply carrying out work experience all have the potential to give you a way into the engineering and tech industries. If you are starting out in your career, you should consider studying an engineering or technology related subject at the University, such as Computer Science. Alternatively, you can study at college while you work as an apprentice in a local company.
It is always important to keep in mind that breaking into the engineering and tech industries is not only possible for young people at the start of their careers. People looking to make career changes should consider studying at weekend or evening classes, or even work part-time while they study, but only if it is feasible financially.
- Get to Know the Sector
The engineering and tech industries are both incredibly vast, so it is worthwhile to gain experience in a few roles to narrow down your options. Doing this will give you direction when you search for a job as well as give you the chance to find local companies willing to let you shadow them; perhaps you have a family friend already in the tech industry. Ask them whether you can come in for a couple of days to find out which department or role interests you the most.
Salary is the most significant factor for many people looking to break into these industries. Last year, IT Directors were revealed to be the 9th best paid jobs in the United Kingdom, and this is expected to increase considering the rate at which the technology industry is growing. The United Kingdom Tech Salary Guide 2017 shows the salaries for various tech roles and how much they have grown in the past year, providing deep insight into roles that you should consider if your key motivation is money.
- Show and Prove Your Expertise
Potential employers should be able to determine that you are a worthy candidate before you attempt to break into the engineering or tech industry. Having physical proof of the skills you possess is more convincing that relying exclusively on word of mouth. Build a website, write a program, or learn HTML – all these prove that you have the skills needed to work in the tech industry; even if you might be a beginner, it still proves to potential employers that you have the willingness to work and enthusiasm.
You can make use of social media to build your personal profile. A LinkedIn profile will not only appear at the top of the search engine when someone searches for a name, which will help boost your credibility and visibility, but it also helps you connect with professionals in your industry that may be looking to hire. There are lots of opportunities as you can see in this post from Primat.
- Derive Inspiration from Professionals
The secret to breaking into an industry is to learn about the professionals and practitioners that may be currently a ‘big deal’ in their sector. It does not necessarily mean becoming best friends with Apple’s CTO, but rather professionals that have worked up their way in the industry, or already have the job you have always dreamed of.
Take a look at their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles to see their career paths and use that to shape and influence how you break into the engineering and tech industry. Research will show you the career paths taken by some of the leading CTOs in the world have taken to reach their current position, which will give you a head start if your dream job is being a CTO.
- Sharpen Your Interview Skills
Finally, once you build up knowledge and experience about your desired industry, the job interview is the final hurdle. The key to succeeding at interviews is showing that you possess the transferrable skills required for the job role and company; how can your experience be of benefit to the business? What is unique about you and the skills you possess that makes you stand out from other applicants? How is your motivation likely to motivate your workmates?
The truth is that most people will have to interview numerous times before they land their dream job, but practice makes perfect. If you research the company that you interview for, know the job role inside out, and be specific as to how your skills match the job description, you will be a worthy candidate for the position.
Whether you plan to be a Manufacturing Engineer or CIO, having a positive mindset, gaining experience, and taking inspiration from professionals in the industries, ensures that you are able to break into and thrive in the industry of your dreams.