A challenging part of setting engineering career goals is that the field and the job requirements are constantly changing. So, it might seem overwhelming to try and envision what you want your future self to be at least 10 years from today.
Still, what will not change is that the engineering sector will continue to be in demand. For instance, George Fox University claims that the job prospects for engineers are expected to grow by 18 percent between 2016 and 2026.
To avoid being overwhelmed, identifying your career goals is crucial for having a guide on how to enhance your professional life and strive for personal growth. This article will discuss how to define possible career goals for engineers, set up career goals, and tips on how to achieve them.
How Can Career Goals be Helpful to Your Engineering Career
Career goals are an essential part of life. They can help you reach your full potential and pursue the right job for you. Corporate Finance Institute defines it “as a clear statement that explains the profession that an individual wants to pursue throughout his or her career.”
Setting career goals is critical because the engineering industry shifts rapidly. If you don’t have a vision of what you want your future to look like, then it might be easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed with all of the different opportunities out there.
SMART Goals: A Great Way to Win Half of the Battle
Defining one’s career goals is just half the battle. An individual must focus on achieving the professional or personal development goals he sets out for. So, it would be helpful to use SMART goals in this endeavor.
Atlassian defines SMART goals as specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals. These parameters ensure that your targets are accomplished. SMART goals will help you avoid generalizations and guesswork, establish a defined timeframe, and make tracking progress and identifying missed milestones easier.
For instance, your career goal is to be an engineering manager. You can use SMART goal as a guide. It might look like this:
You’ll be a practicing engineer for five years. During this time, you’ll take on more responsibility progressively as you lead projects and teams. You’ll then pursue a management role in this current company or another organization.
Then, you can measure your progress by the number of years you have been in your current role, your team size, your department’s budget, and the number of direct reports you have. If you’re not on track to meet your goal within the set timeframe, you can reassess and adjust your plan.
By measuring your progress and being specific, you’re more likely to achieve your career goals. Whether you’re an engineer looking to work as a project manager or an entrepreneur wanting to start your own business, having clear career goals can help you chart the right career path for your success.
How to Set Engineering Career Goals
Setting career goals can help you reach your desired results and propel you forward in your career. Below are some guidelines on succeeding in your plans for future growth.
Determine Your Career and Personal Development Goals
It may be considered outdated, but it’s highly effective if you write down your career and personal development goals. This would help you organize and determine what you want out of his job and how to attain it.
One way to organize your career goals is by categorizing them as short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are what you can achieve in the next year or two. They might be specific technical skills you want to learn or certain positions you want to get.
Long-term goals are more like a five-year plan. They are generally bigger goals that will take longer to achieve. Your long-term career goals might be getting a promotion, moving into management, or switching fields entirely.
Personal Development Goals
Your personal development goals should not take the backseat to your career goals. These goals can play a significant role in helping you to achieve your overall career goal. For example, if you’re looking to advance your career, one step you can take is to train to improve your communication skills. In addition, if you want a management position, another personal development goal might be to earn a master’s or doctorate.
Divide Your Career Goals into Milestones
Having specific milestones will help make engineering career goals more attainable. Once you have identified your career goals, break them down into smaller pieces. This will help you better understand the steps you need to take to achieve each goal.
For example, if one of your long-term career plans is to get a promotion, you can break this down into smaller milestones. One example of a milestone is getting a certain number of years of experience in your field. Another milestone you can consider is taking on additional responsibilities at work. A third milestone might be to earn a higher degree or certification.
Set a Timeframe for Your Goals
A timeframe can make your goals more achievable and help you better focus on each effort you need to exert to achieve it. For instance, if you’re looking to get a promotion, set a timeframe of two to five years. If you want to earn a higher degree or certification, you can set a timeframe of one to two years.
Seek Out Support from Your Colleagues, Friends, and Family
Another effective way to achieve your career goals is to seek support from those around you. This may include asking for help or advice from coworkers or managers, scheduling regular check-ins with your friends and family, or joining a professional networking group. It may be helpful to meet with a mentor or another experienced professional to get their feedback and guidance for setting your goals.
Revisit and Adjust Your Goals
It pays to have a schedule of when you will revisit your goals. You must keep your goals relevant and up-to-date by periodically reviewing them, ensuring that you stay on track and make any necessary adjustments. Allotting time to review and set your goals would do wonders in making you successful in your engineering career.
Tips for Achieving Your Engineering Career Goals
To become a great engineer, you can take different career paths and work in various fields. Those paths don’t have to be linear. They should give you room to steer your career in the direction you wish. Below are a few tips to help you achieve your engineering career goals.
Commit to Your Professional Development
Continuous professional development lets you stay current in a fast-changing world and increases your worth to companies. Hence, you should consider learning new skills while also keeping an eye out for further career growth opportunities.
Improve Your Soft Skills
While technical expertise is necessary, soft skills also shape your engineering success. Some of these are:
Problem-solving is a skill that you can hone through time. Practice tackling new challenges as they arise. In each role you play in your career, always remember to work on honing your problem-solving skills.
Effective communication is critical in any workplace and even more so for engineers. You’ll be required to communicate with other professionals from various organizational levels throughout your career, be it working with colleagues, engaging with clients, or delivering technical reports.
As you progress in your career, you will be working with increasingly more extensive and more diverse teams. Effectively collaborating with coworkers will help you get the most out of these team relationships.
Identify Mentors and Role Models
Role models and mentors may teach you a lot about how to advance your profession. This may be, for example, the best engineer at your workplace. Speak with them, ask questions, and collaborate on teams or projects they are also involved in.
You might also find inspiration from industry leaders and other role models outside your organization. When doing this, don’t just look at the outstanding engineering job they produce, but also how they become successful.
Update yourself with the current industry trends
To achieve your career goals, it’s also essential to keep abreast of the latest trends and developments in engineering. Some ways to stay updated include reading industry reports or blogs, attending professional development events, or speaking with colleagues.
Build your network by joining professional organizations
You can build a robust professional network by entering or participating in industry associations and organizations. This is where you can meet other engineers from various backgrounds and levels.
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Agile Workplace Staffing (Agile WPS) can help you update your resumes and get interviews with reputable companies. They also consider your unique skills and interests when looking for a suitable company.
We understand that picking suitable job opportunities is the first step toward success. Contact Agile WPS today so that you can learn more about our engineering career planning services and help you achieve your career goals.