The electronics engineering industry is responsible for some of the greatest technological inventions. However, this industry is primarily recognized for creating, designing and producing everyday devices like mobile phones, music devices, and computers. Some inventions have played a critical role in shaping the modern world. Working in such a prestigious industry is a privilege for any engineering graduate. Though there are plenty of jobs in the electronics industry, if you want to be successful, you will need to up your ante by harnessing the right skills and qualities.
In fact, electronics engineers need to get out of their comfort zone and acquire new skills to stay relevant in the industry. From a thorough understanding of the core subject to developing a high level of attention to detail, these skills will help you succeed in your career.
Read on to know more about a set of intangible skills that is in demand for electronics engineers.
1. Thorough understanding of the Core Subject
If you want to be a successful electronics engineer, you need to have a thorough understanding of your core subject apart from the basics of electronic components, circuits, semiconductors, electromechanical machine design, signal systems and communications systems. Only the core subject knowledge of your field of study will establish you as an industry expert. For the same reason, don’t limit your thirst for knowledge in your core area of expertise.
A successful electronics engineer should also have a broad grasp over general engineering subjects. For example, an electronics engineer with the ability to write computer code in JAVA or C++ is more desirable compared to the one who doesn’t know anything apart from his/her core subject.
2. Application of Core Knowledge
What good is your engineering knowledge if you can’t apply it in real life? Though good grades will get you the opportunity to secure interviews with the best employers, you will need the ability to apply your knowledge to survive through different stages of your career. Remember, your employer is only interested in how well you can apply your theoretical knowledge to improve the productivity of the company.
So, how do you apply your theoretical knowledge in real life? Developing real-life projects that make your application skills evident is perhaps the best way to develop that skill. However, this doesn’t mean that unapplied knowledge is always useless. Paying attention to the theoretical part of your subject will increase your ability to apply that to relevant applications.
3. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
Interpersonal and communication skills include the ability to express your ideas as well as listen effectively through oral, visual, and written communication channels. With the onset of globalization, interpersonal and communication skills have become a necessity. Most engineering jobs will require you to communicate with clients, colleagues, and subordinates. Sometimes you may have to translate complex technical documents into design specification.
Interpersonal skills will not only help you succeed professionally but also personally. Usually, people with strong interpersonal skills can resolve conflicts and disagreements in a positive manner. They can often influence others to come to a mutually agreeable outcome as well. Besides, you will be a part of an interdisciplinary team comprising global team members from both, the technical as well as the non-technical backgrounds. In short, if you want to express your views clearly, you need to develop strong communication and interpersonal skills.
4. Planning and Organization Skills
Without planning and organization skills, you will soon feel lost and disoriented in your workplace. Most engineering positions will require you to work on complex projects, usually having a rigid timeline. Organization skills will help you schedule your tasks, set your priorities, and perform under pressure. It will also help you avoid miscommunication, procrastination, and inefficiency, making you the preferred team player in your company.
You can start developing your organization skills during your student life. Organizing talent hunts, tech events, and participating in extracurricular activities will set the tone for your organization skills. Staying organized will not only save the company’s resources and time, but also boost your personal productivity. That’s why employers prefer to hire engineers with excellent organization and planning skills.
5. Analytical and Problem Solving Skills
As a specialist in technical information, you will need to use your analytical and problem-solving skills every day. Analytical skills will help you break down a problem into different parts, while problem-solving skills will help you find the correlation between them.
As the technologies involving life sciences, mathematics, physics, and chemistry merge with core engineering technologies such as electronics, engineers will need to apply their analytical skills to a vast domain of engineering designs and applications. Though you will need core engineering knowledge, your problem-solving skills are more likely to take precedence over it.
As a student, you need to work on projects that require you to solve large problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. These types of projects will certainly help improve your analytical and problem-solving skills.
6. Creative Thinking
Creativity is the key to innovation in any field of engineering including electronics. Fortunately, once you develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills, creative thinking will come to you naturally. However, the scope of creative thinking in electronics engineering will change as you may need to consider a broader range of interdisciplinary sciences while solving real-time problems.
You will need different levels of creativity depending on the position of your job. For example, if your job position involves punching a series of buttons or watching out if any error pops up in a work process, you are not likely to require a lot of creativity. On the other hand, even a junior position in the product development team working on a piece of cutting-edge technology will require strong creative thinking skills. So, you need to start thinking outside the box, particularly if you want to work in the challenging research and development sector.
7. Computing and Information Technology Literacy
Computer and information technology have become indispensable as different industries continue to rely on computers even for routine tasks. So you are better off, if you have basic computer skills. However, as an electronics engineer, you may need to learn a few advanced computer skills such as programming and coding, depending on your job profile.
You are likely to encounter problems related to computers and information technology as a student. So you may acquire a considerable set of computer skills by the time you graduate. However, to survive in this fiercely competitive field, you will need to keep yourself well-versed with the recent information technology (IT) related developments.
8. Adaptability or Flexibility
The world of global trade and commerce is evolving rapidly, and the electronics industry is no exception to this trend. In fact, not just technology, but the social, political, and economic inclinations are also shifting rapidly. As a result, the demand for electronics engineers with exceptional flexibility or adaptability has gone up. According to the info graphic by the University of Phoenix, adaptability or flexibility is one of the top 10 skills needed to succeed in the 21st-century workplace.
Adaptability gives you the ability to deal with unexpected change. This may involve, coming up with alternative options for discussion, accepting the rejection of your primary ideas, preparing a backup and persuading your clients to consider new outcomes. As a result, you may need to change your roles, accept new responsibilities and say yes to challenges. In other words, you may have the ability to adapt to the changing environment quickly and learn the necessary skills required to do so for a successful career.
9. Knowledge of Relevant Industry Developments
An electronics engineer needs to be a lifelong learner. You constantly need to learn about the latest developments not only in your core field of study, but also in the social, political, and economic environment around you. However, you need to have a thorough understanding of the relevant developments in your field of study.
You can subscribe to electronic engineering magazines such as The Institute, IEEE Spectrum, Electronic Design and EE Times to keep yourself informed of the latest developments in your field. Alternatively, you can also join various online forums to discuss the latest news in your industry.
10. Attention to Detail
Successful electronic engineers need to pay close attention to details irrespective of their job position. Most engineering projects are complex, involving an interdisciplinary team of members such as computer engineers, mechanical engineers, management and sales executives, brand managers and financial experts. Ignoring even the smallest detail during planning and execution can delay a project for several days resulting in tremendous losses. It is, therefore imperative to look through everything with a fine-toothed comb.
Electronics is one of the most renowned fields of engineering. However, it is also one of the most competitive industries. So, if you want to be a successful electronics engineer, you are going to need more than just an excellent academic background. As employers continue to look for workers with multifaceted skills, it has become essential to look beyond your core field of expertise. These skills will help you become a successful electronics engineer irrespective of your job profile. Feel free to let us know in the comments section below, if any skills are missing from the list.