The New Age of Engineering

Author: Peter Serles

As the technological age pushes the world forward, the state of the engineering profession must quickly adapt. Consulting engineering positions which once carried a competitive advantage through specialized knowledge have become obsolete due to the ability of the common engineer to access a plethora of specialized technical knowledge or quickly search through standardizations. Wherein once a consulting company could offer a specialized service and charge an associated premium, now they must adapt and offer a new attribute to the customer to stay competitive. But, the standard of customer expectations has not kept up with this change in industry ability. Rather, since the common consulting company can now offer the standard service which the customer requires, the company which can offer this for the cheapest becomes the obvious choice.

But what if the industry as a whole can be reinvented to match these changing times? An industry once defined by performance and price must adapt and redefine “industrial merit”. Professional accountability becomes a major selling point of any consulting company, the completion of the work itself becomes a standard while the quality and excellence is a major attribute. The age of billable hours and meeting expectations has died with the technological revolution, the transition to provide a new value add and exceed expectations is the only way for consulting engineering companies to stay relevant.

For young engineers emerging into the workforce, this means a number of things. The expectation of all engineers has increased with innovation and professional accountability at the forefront. With a major baby boomer population nearing retirement and a void of technical knowledge accompanying them, young professionals who are able to take advantage of the plethora of knowledge available to them will be the norm. At this point, soft skills become the competitive advantage that sets you aside from the rest. Extra curricular activities foster communication, problem solving and teamwork – all major aspects of working in practical engineering situations. We begin to live in an age of high risk and high reward, the potential for growth is only limited by your own dedication and development. Get involved, innovate and push yourself to new goals – that is what the exciting aspects of the engineering profession are rooted in. If you’re lucky enough to face these challenges with a strong attitude, you’re able to experience and adapt to any number of situations and hopefully become an effective leader.  This is where adaptability and growth are put to the test, management is considered doing things right but true leadership is doing the right things.