Engineers Need Intangible Soft Skills to Stand Out and Succeed

The past was a simpler time.

Has there ever been a truer sentiment with regard to just about every aspect of modern life? In the workplace, in particular, we’ve already seen the simple career formula become obsolete: A bachelor’s degree plus 30 years on the job used to equal a guaranteed pension and retirement bliss. Today, if a young person would even want to spend his or her entire career in one place, there’s certainly no guarantee an employer would want that let alone subsidize retirement.

In the engineering field, it’s no different, despite a history in which Baby Boomers were able to forge long, stable careers in the big-four engineering disciplines (civil, mechanical, industrial, and electrical). Engineering opportunity, of course, is still there. In fact, over the next decade, demand for engineers is expected to grow by 11 percent, with the National Association of Colleges and Employers reporting that engineering majors currently rank second in the most in-demand skill sets.

But make no mistake; this is not the your father’s engineering environment where a seemingly simple, straightforward set of technical skills was all it took to be successful. Along with the current growing demand for engineers comes a very different set of expectations from employers.