Engineering jobs are undergoing a drastic change

Along with the increasing number of opportunities in the engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors, there is a shift too in the expected skill sets from an employee. Here is a look at what experts seek in a prospective employee.

Prospective employees should have basic engineering knowledge coupled with sector specific competencies and skills like operation and maintenance of power plants, project management, engineering designing etc.

The very nature of engineering jobs is undergoing a drastic change making it imperative for professionals to have expertise and capabilities of high standards, which was not the case earlier. Today, engineering jobs are more about how innovative you are in terms of product offerings, reducing cost, increasing efficiency and deriving value. This brings in plenty of career and growth opportunities for aspirants getting into the industry and also making the industry a preferred career destination for many. But along with the opportunities, the career prospects and responsibilities of an engineer is also going up the value chain.

Today organizations appoint fewer engineers and give them wider responsibilities. Even though the basic qualification required for getting into the industry remains the same employers now lay more emphasis on various soft skills. In any technical role, there are three important aspects – problem solving abilities, relevant technical and functional skills and organizational skills. Organizational skills include your communication skills and interpersonal skills. Each role will require different degree of proficiency across these three areas. While some roles that are extremely process centric require a person to have a high degree of proficiency in the functional skills, some other such as programming requires a person to be really good at problem solving.

Employers put more emphasis on skills like communication leadership capabilities etc. We are looking for employees who are highly motivated and result oriented. In engineering, project management is critical. You must be able to plan and execute all while staying within the budget. In manufacturing we value individuals who understand and apply manufacturing techniques.

Toshiba JSW is looking for engineering professionals from heavy engineering and manufacturing industries with hands on experience in turbine manufacturing having machining, fabrication welding and CAD / CAM skills. Prospective employees should have basic engineering knowledge coupled with sector specific competencies and skills like operation and maintenance of power plants, project management, engineering, designing etc.

While organizations are raising the bar of skills required. Job seekers are finding it difficult to match up with the industry expectations. Experts blame this on the gap in the curriculum and the industry requirements. According to experts, a change in the educational system is essential to get adequate talent for industries. Rudimentary approach of colleges and universities towards curriculum if does not get changed along with time and technology will throw several problems. The business approach is the key requirement expected from professionals and at degree course level, fair level of teaching in finance, HR, marketing as well as IT is essential to facilitate employees to get a wider perspective while performing his/her duties.

The colleges must update the curriculum at regular intervals and teach students about the latest technologies. They can offer some courses on project management, quality control, health and safety requirements etc that are beneficial for professionals. But changing the curriculum will not improve the quality of technical talent in our country. Improving the quantity of education is important and one of the best ways to do it is to allow the industry to participate in the education process.

But a job seeker cannot blame the education system for his / her incapability while going through a recruitment process. Experts suggest that the students themselves must put in effort to enhance their employability. The first and foremost is the acquisition of basic knowledge during the engineering or basic education programs which would serve a platform on which advanced skills and competencies can be learned.

Even after completing graduation and post graduation, one has to continuously upgrade their knowledge and skills related to their own field and technology associated to the tools and techniques for use on day-to-day basis. It is important for everyone, not only the employees, to keep their skills levels to ensure that they are always employable. Many a times, after getting a break in to a good organization, employee becomes complacent and concentrates only on their day-to-day tasks without getting updated on the general scenario in the industry. This has to change.

Today, going global is the trend, students must also prepare themselves for a global career. An understanding of global business is important for professionals. Fluency in a second language is the gold standard, but an understanding of cultural differences, its impact and how work gets done in different parts of the world is also very important.

Getting into a dream job is no cake walk; a lot of preparations and hardships go into it. With an increasingly tough job market, one cannot wait for long to improve his / her skills to get employed. A few tips to enhance employability:
Start with an assessment of your current proficiency across skill areas. Different sectors require different skill sets. Secondly, make sure that you do your industry training or project work in your final semester very seriously as it is your last chance to develop practical exposure to what the industry wants and be prepared for that.

The engineering manufacturing and construction sectors are destined to witness growth. However, you need to be equipped with skills that give you an edge over the rest.