Ten Skills You Need for a Successful Career
in the Engineering and Technical Sectors

So you want to be an engineer or technician and make your mark on the Industry Sector? Years ago, it was a simple case of having passion and some mechanical aptitude. However, times have changed and it’s no longer just “nuts and bolts” or just basic computer programming.

Machinery is becoming, well, more technical, and more and more sectors depend on computers to run and decode their inventions. This means would-be engineers need to possess, or at least be willing to learn, a more encompassing skill set.

The same goes for aspiring technicians or those who wish to transfer their employment to a different industry sector. Here, we ask Cartisan what are the top ten skills you’ll need to master to turn your dream career into a reality.

Top Ten Skills

There are many different skills you may need to be successful in these sectors, and what might surprise you is that there are some skills that aren’t as technical as you might initially think. Here, we outline some of the top ten hard and soft skills recruiters and employers in these industries may be looking for.

The ability to use tools to repair and maintain machines (and also maintain and repair the tools!)

This is probably the most obvious and basic skill and most initiates, or those looking to transfer from a different sector will likely always had an interest in how things work. This is true whether it’s an engine being assembled or an inventory and maintenance of IT assets. It’s essential for you to properly understand the inner workings of the machinery you’re working, as having a broad range of knowledge and repair skills could mean the difference to a heft delay on your project while you send an item off for repair and being able to seamlessly carry on once you’ve fixed it yourself. However, you’re not expected to know how everything works, especially if you encounter machinery that you’ve not used before. It’s therefore also essential to speak up rather than attempt a repair you’re unsure of.

Possessing knowledge of engineering science and technology

Whether its qualifications acquired at school, college or university, or hands on experience – the knowledge you already have under your belt could be more extensive than people give themselves credit for. Mathematics, for instance, is part of the standard curriculum and a love of this subject naturally integrates into the engineering and technical fields. You may be able to demonstrate transferable skills that could make you an asset to an employer in such a technical field.

An aptitude for design

When you naturally have an interest in how things work; it is inevitable that your mind will take things one step further to naturally problem solve and even invent! This could be of significant benefit to employers. An ability to think outside of the box and develop solutions for their problems will certainly make you employable.

Working well with your hands

Dexterity is a must have skill for both technicians and engineers who often have to get their hands dirty! The ability to quickly perform often difficult and time reliant actions calls for fine motor skills and a critical eye for detail. You can improve your dexterity and fine motor skills with practice, and this is certainly something you may want to look at doing.

Attention to detail

Many engineering and technical processes literally help to save lives and protect sensitive data. Those that don’t still need to run like a well-oiled machine in order to turn companies a profit! Critical thinking skills, including the ability to focus on the task in hand and trouble shoot when things go wrong (whilst keeping a cool head), are necessary to forge a successful career.

Accepting criticism and working well under pressure

You can be the best at what you do but no one is perfect. Things break down, processes go wrong or are no longer efficient. Or, a rush job comes in and the knock on effect can quickly mean you are under pressure and about to blow a fuse or a gasket (literally and figuratively!) The more you can accept advice and help as well as being able to move up a gear will keep you and your work running smoothly without temporary work place stress becoming a chronic drain on your creative productivity.

Being a team player

No man or woman is an island – there is no team in “I” and so getting along with others is a pre-requisite unless you are working alone, offshore! Communication is key when it comes to working as a team and while you may have extensive knowledge of the project at hand, you should certainly take the time to listen to other teammates constructive feedback and input. After all, they may see something in a different way than you do and working together as a team may ensure you see all angles of a problem and can brainstorm the best solution together.

Computer literate

You don’t need to be a whizz but you will need to be able to be comfortable around computers and be able to use standard packages. If you’ve not been using computers all that often, it could be well worth updating your knowledge and it’s always worth looking at emerging technologies and keeping abreast with new innovations. From electrical to software – these fields are fast keeping pace with the modern scientific world to include artificial intelligence and advances in the medical field and technicians need to be able to quickly adapt to the evolutions taking place.

No matter what sector you’re looking to work in, whether it’s IT, mechanical engineering or another technical field, demonstrating the skills employers are looking at and focusing on continuous professional development is essential to make sure you can take up any opportunities that come your way. Honing the soft and technical skills mentioned will be sure to put you in the best position for future career progression.

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Learn how to set yourself effective personal goals and find the motivation you need to achieve them. This is the essence of personal development, a set of skills designed to help you reach your full potential, at work, in study and in your personal life.

The second edition of or bestselling eBook is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills and learning potential, and it is full of easy-to-follow, practical information.

About the Author

Richard is one of the leading figures at UK-based technical recruitment agency, Cartisian. As one of the UK's fastest growing technical recruitment agencies, Cartisian is famed for its pin-point accuracy in seeking out positions for clients with highly technical and specific employment requirements. Based in Solihull, Cartisian specialises in sourcing exceptional talent in technical fields across the UK and Europe.