Career Development

Engineer using iPad.

As you consider graduate programs, it often helps to approach the process similarly to how you would consider a job you're interviewing for.

It’s important to know an employer is looking for someone that can do technical skills, work well in a team and help the company fulfill its mission. But more importantly, is that job the best fit for you? Will the job be the best use of your personal skills? Will it challenge you and allow you to move ahead in your career?

Line drawing of two people talking with text bubble "Monetize your open-sourced cloud based distributed architecture".

On more than one occasion I have heard a CIO or CTO say “I have a team of technical experts, but very few of them I can take to meet an officer or a customer.” Our technical language is absolutely critical. In my world as an engineer, we used terms like SS7 and TCP-IP daily as we communicated with each other. This mix of technical speak and acronyms helped us communicate complex ideas between each other quickly, but it was difficult for anyone else outside our technical positions to understand what we were talking about. I had to learn how to speak two “languages.”

Four graduate students on sitting on a deserted island.

The idea of teamwork and the ability to work collaboratively with others is taught from a young age, whether on a ball field or in the classroom. Even as we get older and learn to hone new skills to excel in a profession, those same simple teamwork skills still apply.

Woman with glasses wearing hardhat.

It's no secret that most engineers and technology experts are experienced in technical and analytical skills. We are all about going to classes or conferences where we can dive deep into learning specialized skills to better perform tasks in our respective fields.

Woman giving presentation in high tech computer lab.

Are you being overlooked for a leadership role? For many engineers, there is this awkward time in their career where they are starting to look at leadership roles, but their boss and others around them still only rely on them for their technical expertise. Though you may have a lot more value to offer your company in both your current engineering position and a future management one, no one may be noticing the potential but you. So, how can you stand out? Here a few tips on how to show leadership qualities in your current job.

Person wearing suit holding a hard hat in the middle of a large field.

You have proven that you have the skills to be a good engineer, but can you be a good manager too? In engineering, management positions require a blend of the technical skills you already have with soft skills, such as team communication, that you may be lacking. Your undergraduate degree prepared you for the first part of your career, but now it is time to prepare for your next step into a leadership role. Here are five steps to help you go from engineer to manager: