What skills do you need to become an engineer?

Written by michele m. howard
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What skills do you need to become an engineer?
Engineers combine many talents to make things that work well. (architecture image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com)

Even though engineers work in a wide range of fields, such as chemical, civil and software, there are basic traits and skills common to them all. Engineers take concepts and ideas and apply them to make products that meet social and consumer needs. A successful engineer has the technical, analytical, communication and management skills needed to design and create these products.

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Attention to Detail

A successful engineer is detail-oriented. They know where every bolt should be placed in a construction project to ensure the integrity of a structure. Engineers are knowledgeable in all design standards, guidelines and compliance requirements for each phase of a project. They have the discipline to check the smallest details at each step.


Engineers are knowledgeable and proficient in using the technology and computer software necessary for their job. They have a wide range of technical knowledge including excellent mathematical skills. They know the right formulas to use and are able to solve difficult and complex equations.


An engineer is a problem-solver. They are able to analyse what the cause of a problem is, determine the best solution and quickly take action with confidence. Engineers are able to analyse and interpret charts, graphs and reports with accuracy.


Successful engineers are good communicators. They know how to write clear and concise reports, how to convey ideas to top leaders of corporations and are able to communicate precise instructions to construction workers.


Engineers are creative thinkers, they think outside the box, they are curious and ask questions. Engineers look for new innovative ways to make systems work more efficiently.

Team Player

Teams that work well together are successful. As part of a team, an engineer works with a positive attitude within a group for the success of a project. When called upon to lead, an engineer must have good managerial and organizational skills. Confident and enthusiastic engineers are able to succeed by gaining the trust of co-workers.


Technology, computers and computer software are constantly changing. A successful engineer continues her education and remains current with any changes and new ideas in the field.

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