1. Learn from everyone: your co-workers, your boss, your customers, and your subordinates. And from all levels. You will be surprised at what you can learn from the people on the shop floor or the work site.
2. Be a sponge and soak all the information shared with you.
3. Learn soft skills. These are things they rarely teach us in engineering schools. But it is so important and useful.
4. Put in the hard work. You will benefit a lot even at all no one notice or show appreciation.
5. Be a strong member whenever working in teams. Earn a reputation for teamwork. This is a great area to earn goodwill and learn. Given credit to those who perform and contribute.
6. Grab whatever chance there is to speak in public or give presentations. Not only will it give you are the experience, but you will also develop self-confidence and let people take note of you.
7. There will always be challenges. Accept this fact. It will enhance both your skills and build your character. Do not fear failure but learn from it.
8. As you gain in years, you will find that you have less opportunities to be on the ground and getting your hands dirty. But these are things that will carry you throughout your career. So, grab all chances to be hands-on.
You know you are new and lack experience, expertise, and a strong network.
But my advice to young engineers is this:
Focus on your strengths and stop worrying about your weaknesses. Of course, you must address those areas where you are weak, but avoid spending too much time or effort on them. Chances are, you will never be perfect in these areas, so it makes no sense to waste your energy on them.
Instead, focus on developing your strengths, what you can excel at, because they will set you apart. And believe in yourself. There will be times when things are hard for you in your career, but if you believe in yourself, have a vision of where you want to go and develop your strengths, you will go far.
Today, there are no limits to what young engineers can dream they might achieve in their work. Digital technology has changed everything.
Keep your mind open. It will open many doors. When an opportunity presents itself, do not hesitate. You have your whole future in front of you. It is up to you to grab the opportunities when they come your way because the same opportunity may not come again.
I found that being flexible, and endlessly curious, created new opportunities and accidental career pivots I could not have foreseen.
I encourage you to adopt a self-reliant attitude and to “own” the work that you are doing. Immerse yourself into it. Invest the time necessary as though your life depends on it. Your passion will grow. And that is what that will propel you forward.