3 Tips for Electrical Engineers to stand out in the current job market

COVID-19 has created immense uncertainty all around us. The most important thing to look out for in the current environment is your health and that of your loved ones. So, please take all necessary precautions to safeguard it.


On the job market front, it is not clear how this situation will play out in the short term. Some companies have already cut production and initiated lay-offs while others are closely monitoring the situation. 

In the medium to long term, the job market for Electrical and Computer engineers looks more promising. According to numerous surveys, such as this one by Forbes magazine which is titled ‘America’s High Tech STEM crisis’, the United States like many other developed countries will be facing a serious shortage of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) graduates.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/arthurherman/2018/09/10/americas-high-tech-stem-crisis/#2f27ea64f0a2

But this simple stat by itself shouldn’t be a source of comfort for engineers and engineering students regarding job opportunities and security. We live in a fast-paced world today where skills that are in demand right now may become obsolete tomorrow. 

Here are 3 concrete steps that you can take not only to survive in this economy but thrive.

1- Broad skill set with a specialization 

Π represents a broad skill base with specialization in two areas.

T represents a focused skillset with deep specialization in one area.

Until recently, the common wisdom was to choose one or the other. 

However, in today’s economy, it is important to have both.

Where do I start??

  • Make a list of key skills that are in high demand.
  • Review postings of dream jobs online at various job boards:

www.indeed.com

www.linkedin.com

www.glassdoor.com

  • Use SMART approach to increase competency in these areas.

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm


2 – Work towards your PE license

One of the best investments that you can make in your career is attainment P.E. license and getting registered as an E.I.T. Not only will you join an exclusive group of engineers, these designations will greatly improve your chances of getting more tangible rewards in the form of promotions, salary increases, job security and better opportunities. PE licensing is a long and tiring process which is why many engineers don’t pursue it. But for that same reason, those who attain it get recognition and reward for proving themselves as practicing professionals by meeting the strict requirements of their governing engineering boards. 

More details can be found at National Society of Professional Engineers website https://www.nspe.org/resources/licensure/why-get-licensed/advantages-licensure

How to get started with your prep!

You can kick start your FE Electrical and Computer exam preparation by making use of our highly rated free resources below.

FREE RESOURCE |3-Step Framework for FE Electrical and Computer Exam Preparation

Get access to the up-to-date and go-to resource for exam preparation where we cover topics including how to get into the right mindset, tips & tricks as well as the best resources out there to kick-start your FE exam preparation

FREE RESOURCE | FE Electrical and Computer Exam Preparation Planner

The planner includes:

  • 4-month exam preparation schedule
  • Warm-up exercises for exam planning
  • Exam preparation strategy

FE Electrical and Computer exam is the first step towards your PE licensing goal. Both exams require multiple months of focused efforts which are a challenge in itself.

In the absence of effective exam preparation resources, a lot of students procrastinate and put their licensing goals off over and over again.

Remember, the longer you delay it the more difficult it gets.


3 – Improve people skills

Warren Buffet’s Best Investment

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/21/billionaire-warren-buffett-says-a-100-dollar-course-had-the-biggest-impact-on-his-success.html

Dale Carnegie course turned out to be Warren Buffet’s best investment. I’ve personally taken this course as well and it has helped me a great deal in improving my people skills too (link included at the end).

Engineers are stereotyped as smart but socially awkward individuals. Engineering curriculum is partly to blame because it contains limited opportunities to develop people skills. Almost the entire focus is on technical knowledge, labs and research. This is in contrast to many other academic curricula that place a heavy emphasis on these areas. 
As an engineer, you should proactively work on improving your interpersonal skills. Communication skills form a big part of overall people skills. A lot of people have a misconception regarding communication skills that they only include speaking skills. That’s incorrect because communication covers speaking, reading, writing and listening. The last three tend to get ignored because they are not very visible. Your aim should be to improve all areas of communication.

Where can you start?

I’ve included links to the two venues that have served me well over the years in improving interpersonal skills.

https://www.toastmasters.org/

Toastmasters is great for public speaking and overcoming fear of giving presentations in front of large crowds. It also helps you thinking on your feet by delivering impromptu speeches. Membership fees are relatively low and you can probably find a club nearby.

https://www.dalecarnegie.com/en/topics/people-skills

Dale Carnegie course on people skills can help you relate better to others in your personal and professional network. I went through this training over a period of 1 month (1-2 days a week) which included many group and individual activities. By the end of this course, I could see a marked difference in my confidence level. It’s a bit pricey but well worth it.