Engineering design is more than hard skills. This is a demanding field, and success requires a strong balance of technical know-how and interpersonal skills. That’s why today we bring you three soft skills essential to engineering design and how to hone them.
What Are Soft Skills?
Before we take a look at the soft skills essential to engineering design, let’s define soft skills.
Soft skills are interpersonal attributes and behaviors that help build relationships, solve problems, and communicate effectively.
By contrast, hard skills are technical abilities and knowledge that are indispensable to tackle a task. Some examples of hard skills include degrees, computer skills, and design skills.
While hard skills are particularly important in engineering design, success in this field can only be obtained by balancing both types of skills.
3 Soft Skills Essential to Engineering Design
Even the most brilliant hard skills are of little use if a design engineer can’t communicate their findings, or ask for what they need to achieve the results expected of them. Especially when dealing with clients, misunderstandings can occur easily, leading to delays, reworks, and cost overruns. Some steps that design engineers can take to hone their communication skills include:
- Focus on active listening
- Pay attention to body language
- When writing, proofread and reread your messages
- Make it a point to ask questions to ensure that you understood what the other person is trying to say
If you are a design engineer or aspire to become one, chances are that you grew up taking machines apart to understand how they work. This is a common manifestation of curiosity, another soft skill essential to succeed in the world of engineering design. While you may be naturally curious about machines and mechanisms, it’s important to broaden the scope of your curiosity. These are some ideas to help you do just that:
- Listen non-judgmentally
- Ask questions
- Read about a wide variety of topics
- Exchange ideas with people from different backgrounds than yours
Leadership skills are essential if you aspire to reach an executive position. A great leader knows how to motivate, guide, and support their team. And while these abilities may appear closer to psychology than to engineering, there are things you can do to improve your leadership skills as a design engineer:
- Listen effectively
- Cultivate critical thinking
- Seek advice from other leaders
- Take a leadership course
Learn More About Engineering Design
This discipline is an exciting field with myriad real-world applications. Below are some previous posts you can read to learn more about this fascinating topic.
- How is engineering design different from other types of design?
- A basic glossary of engineering design: part 1and part 2
- Engineering design for children: 5 useful benefits
- What is the engineering design process?
- The amazing history behind Roman bridges
- What is a Gantt chart?
Darnell Technical Services is an engineering design firm with extensive experience in a vast array of projects.
Our headquarters are located in Santa Ana, California, and we have an office in Las Vegas, Nevada. Contact us today by telephone (714-285-0082 (CA), 702-945-2899 (NV)) or through our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to learn more about all the technical instruments and materials we put at your disposal.