What’s The Recipe For A Great Engineer?

Great writers have a strong inner monologue. Great illustrators have an eye for detail. Great marketers know how to capture the imagination, but what’s the recipe for a great engineer? If you are considering a career in engineering, here are some of the skills you should hone up on and personality traits you should polish.

What's the recipe (or blueprint) for a great engineer?
What’s the recipe (or blueprint) for a great engineer?


Deduction, reasoning and problem solving

Engineering is about finding the answer to a problem. You don’t just need to be a good problem-solver. You need to be the kind of person that eats problems for breakfast and washes them down with a cup of piping-hot predicament tea.

Fastidious attention to detail

When you are designing a bridge, you have to account for every single nut and bolt. Engineering requires incredible attention to detail. You have to be meticulous in your approach.

The ability to make things happen

Having a big idea is one thing. Having the energy to execute it and make it a reality is quite another. You are a doer. A maker. A completer-finisher. Whatever you want to call it, you know how to get projects across the finish line with as little friction as possible.

STEM skills

Growing into a great engineer requires brawny skills in the STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and maths – especially the latter.

CAD confidence
It goes without saying that IT skills are a must, but you should also learn to make your way around specialist software like 3D CAD. It will likely become as essential to your career as ropes to a rock climber.

Competency With CAD
Competency and confidence with CAD does not go unnoticed


Fistfuls of ambition

Engineering is one of the most exciting, varied and potentially lucrative careers you could plump for, but getting to the top isn’t easy. The University courses are grueling and the projects are demanding. You’ve got to be made of the right stuff to keep going and stay motivated.

You manage your time, not vice versa

At University or at the top of the profession, engineering is time-intensive. Big projects, often with distant deadlines are the order of the day. You have to know how to take control of your time and break projects into manageable chunks to stay on track, on deadline and on budget.


Work well under pressure? Then you’ve got the right mindset for engineering. You have to able to juggle projects – often with fierce deadlines – and stay calm when your client decides to change the design of your parajet at the eleventh hour. You thrive on adversity.

Good (really good) communication skills

Ugh. Why does every job advert list communication skills as a necessary skill? You can talk; people understand you (most of the time). What’s the big deal? Well engineering is incredibly technical. Misunderstanding a colleague can have dire implications for a project. You have to be able to explain what you mean – communicating technical concepts in plain English. Even more importantly, you have to be a fabulous listener. Easier said than done.

The ability to take responsibility

In engineering you are rarely working in isolation. It’s far more likely that you will be responsible for one small part of an extremely large project. You should be prepared to take ownership of your role. To work with the team for the good of the project and to defend your decisions when necessary.

Added bonus: a great name

Elon Musk.

Nikola Tesla.

Archimedes of Syracuse.

Many of history’s most notable engineers are endowed with fabulous names. Sure, you might have to go some way to beat Isambard Kingdom Brunel, but a bit of sass to your nom de guerre could take you far.

Elon Musk of Tesla – one of the world's most famous (and innovative) engineers
Elon Musk of Tesla – one of the world’s most famous (and innovative) engineers


Over to you to finish & fine-tune the recipe!

Engineering is an expansive discipline. Depending on your chosen specialism, there’s no doubt you will have to acquire some extremely nuanced and niche skills, but there are certain traits and abilities that are required right across engineering. Fine-tuning them is likely to hold you in great stead for your future career.

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.