In the quest for tightening screws for four years; engineers sometimes lose their own screws. They’re sometimes rather absent-minded and somewhat self-absorbed; a rare species in their own right. My analysis is not technical. It’s about those things that engineers might miss or ignore while struggling to be technically sound. So when you are about to step out of the nutshell of your engineering college, there are a few things you must know:
1) SWOT without the T*
After four years of studying, an engineering graduate must know his strengths and the exact nature of the work he/she is looking for. Because there are some who can’t really figure out what they want to do even at the end of four years. Following are the four types of engineers that usually exist. (If you belong to the fifth type, kindly write back to me.)
If you are confident enough of your technical skills, then apply at an engineering-oriented organisation where practical work is required. Simple and trouble free!
Crammers with good grades
Not any good in the lab? But you can cram things easily and were lucky enough to pass your exams with flying colours? Then you can go for teaching and the academic side of engineering.
If you love to write, then the best thing you can do is to fuse your professional studies with your passion. You can go for technical report writings, research paper writings and also end user manuals writings.
A rare breed but they still exist. If you are good at communication and your convincing power is strong, then you can opt to be a sales engineer (highest paid are the ones who bring business for the organisation) and also go for the technical support side.
*T — without the ‘T’ because I think at the start of our professional lives, we shouldn’t consider anything as a threat.
2. Switching careers
Honestly speaking, after the third year, some of us are completely sure that this is not what we actually wanted to do, but at this stage completing the degree is the only option left. So yes complete your degree and then do a self-analysis. If not engineering, then what exactly is your cup of tea? It’s high time to muddle through the outside pressure.
3. Job role
Before landing any kind of job, you must know the progressive role of the job and its hierarchy. You just can’t let anyone take advantage of your skills and degree. In the current situation, organisations are hiring engineers where they used to hire laymen. So keep your ears and eyes open!
4. Trust me, I am an engineer
Act like an engineer. As you have the most influential bachelors degree. Your body language, dressing, confidence and attitude should articulate before you speak. No ‘Harry Potter’ specs and no baggy jeans. Look tough and smart. Do you know that on August 18, 2010 the Guinness Book of World Records chose ‘ENGINEERING’ as the TOUGHEST course among all other courses! And you nailed it.
5. Human resource
Engineers must know the role of HR, so that their rights are not oppressed. If you can’t afford to do a Professional Practices or HR course, then at least Google it.
6. Sexual harassment
Engineers are too busy making circuits work all four years. When they step in to practical life and see the behaviour of people around, they are completely shattered. They actually know nothing about how to survive in such situations. So understand that flirting, dirty jokes and abuses (text, call and verbal) are sexual harassment. This is a serious threat for a naïve engineer and affects his/her professional and personal life.
7. Social responsibility
Not only engineers but every graduate in this country should understand his/her social responsibility. Student life was fun but it’s OVER. Now it’s time to pay back in any way you can but more important is to realise that. Don’t try to implement any logical approach here. Think positive because sometimes… the most useless circuits work!
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2011.
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