Are you determined to maximize your potential as an engineer? If so, you should seek to obtain a position of authority in this field by becoming an engineering manager. Reaching this lofty professional height will help you to carve out an expert reputation for yourself in your sector, which in turn will stand you in good stead should you decide to start your own engineering company in the future.

Make no mistake about it; you are not going to become a successful engineering manager overnight. Following this career path will demand dedication and determination from you over a sustained period. If you think you have what it takes, be sure to put the following advice into practice.

Here is everything you must do to if you are serious about embarking on a successful career as an engineering manager:

Study your craft and obtain necessary qualifications

First and foremost, you need to lay solid foundations for your future career in engineering management by studying your craft and obtaining necessary qualifications. The lessons that you learn and the degrees that you earn on your journey through higher education will be sure to open up many doors for you in your career. In turn, this will no doubt enhance your chances of being able to forge an authoritative reputation for yourself in your field going forward.

Many top educational establishments offer comprehensive engineering programs, Kettering Global being one of the very best. On their MSE-Advanced Mobility course, which is designed specifically to meet growing demands within the advanced engineering sector, you will have the capacity to study a whole host of beneficial subjects. Some of the topics that you will cover on this course include:

1. Integration of electrical and computer systems

2. Development of advanced mobility applications

3. Design of dynamic systems

4. Robotics enhanced by artificial intelligence

If you want to find out more about Kettering and the specific support that they provide to prospective engineering managers, be sure to check out this page

Hone many attributes

As well as receiving a proper education and earning the right degrees, you also need to hone many specific attributes if you want to forge a successful career as an engineering manager. Once you cultivate effective management skills and embrace a leading temperament, there is no telling how far you could go in your profession.

Here are six attributes that you absolutely must hone if you want to reach the pinnacle of the engineering management sector:

1. Trustworthiness

If you want to get the best out of your team, you need to showcase the fact that you are trusting. You need to believe in your team’s ability to get things done and, more importantly, you need to provide them with the time and space they require to shine. Micromanaging will not get you very far in the world of engineering, which is why you must have confidence in the individuals that you manage.

2. Emotional intelligence

To establish a mutual respect between yourself and your team, you need to display a serious level of emotional intelligence. Cultivating this all-important attribute will make it easier for you to control and express your emotions, which in turn will help you to handle interpersonal workplace relationships in a highly judicious and empathic manner.

3. Motivation

Motivation is one of the most important attributes that you can hone as an engineering manager. If you fail to motivate your team members, the productivity levels in your workplace will be sure to drop. This will then have an adverse effect on your team’s output, which in turn will damage the success of their releases and ultimately the reputation of your company.

There are a number of things that you can do to motivate your team members. Here are just a few of them:

  • Ensure that your team members have the capacity to look at their work through the company lens and understand how they contribute to the company’s profits
  • Make your team members aware of the fact that they do not necessarily have to fear failure — what they should instead fear is stagnation, and show them how to avoid that
  • Celebrate every achievement that you and your team share, no matter how big or small
  • Be completely transparent with your team to sure that each individual feels included

4. Company cohesion

If you do not buy into your company culture, how can you expect your team members to? As a manager, you must embrace and ultimately display company cohesion at all conceivable points. This will facilitate better collaboration amongst your workforce, simply because it will provide them all with a shared goal to work towards.

5. Open-mindedness

The field of engineering moves forward at a frightfully fast pace. If you’re serious about keeping up with all of the changes and trends that take place within your sector, you need to be incredibly open-minded

To cultivate this crucial attribute in your place of work, you must:

  • Actively listen to everything everyone has to say, and never be too quick to shoot down an opinion or idea
  • Avoid self-confinement — get out there and converse with as many different people as you can
  • Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone
  • Ask A LOT of questions
  • Forget black-or-white thinking — there are different shades of grey to found at every turn in the field of engineering
  • Challenge your limits

6. Problem-solving

As a manager, you must be prepared to face a slew of hurdles daily. To ensure that you deal with these challenges in a highly effective and efficient fashion, it is essential that you are confident in your ability to solve problems as and when they arise. This means that you must be able to remain calm and rational when faced with pressure situations. More importantly, it means that you must have the capacity to study difficult situations meticulously before you attempt to rectify them.

Cover the basics

Going above and beyond to showcase your expertise is all good and well, but not if it interferes with your day-to-day performance. If you are serious about proving your worth as an engineering manager, you simply must resolve to perform your basic tasks to the best of your ability. Everything else comes second…

Here are just a few of the basic engineering management tasks that you must seek to optimize daily:

1. Listening to the wants, needs, and desires of your client base

2. Coming up with competitive yet fair prices for your engineered goods

3. Working out the feasibility and timeline of each project that you are asked to undertake

4. Planning and creating meeting agendas

5. Enforcing deadlines for contractors

Constantly challenge yourself to improve

You are never going to reach the top of the engineering management career ladder if allow yourself to stagnate in the same position for too long. If you are serious about maximizing your potential in this profession, you must constantly challenge yourself to improve. 

To achieve this crucial feat over a sustained period, you must:

1. Commit to continuous learning, even after you have left full-time education

2. Stretch your thinking and look past any preconceived prejudices you have in life

3. Gather feedback from your peers, team members, and clients regularly

4. Curate your work and revisit it in the future

5. Be curious about the industry and always be prepared to ask questions, no matter how tough or proactive they might be

6. Master the art of networking and never shy away from industry events (be them physical or, in true 2020 fashion, virtual)

7. No matter how experienced you become, find yourself a mentor and extract as much information as you can out of them

Setting yourself apart

If you want to climb your chosen career ladder, you are going to need to earn many promotions. Make no mistake about it; nobody is going to hand you these kinds of opportunities — you need to make them happen by setting yourself apart from the competing pack. Even if it means competing against your friends and colleagues, you need to go above and beyond to showcase the fact that you are the right person for the job. 

To set yourself apart in your line of work, it is imperative that you:

1. Find your edge and use it to obtain a competitive advantage

2. Set yourself many clear-cut goals

3. Dedicate every fiber of your being to your work

4. Strengthen your weaknesses

5. Learn from every experience, especially those that you consider to be failures

If you are determined to carve out a reputation for yourself as being a leader in the field of engineering management, you must put all of the above advice into practice. Once you study your craft and obtain all of your necessary qualifications, hone many all-important attributes, cover the basics, challenge yourself to improve and set yourself apart from the competing pack, you will be sure to reach the pinnacle of your sector in no time.