It came to me the other day, when I chanced upon some online job descriptions for mechanical design engineers, and noticed quite rightly that there is a pattern of essential and desirable skills for these sort of roles. However in my 'small' engineering world, dare I say, I think they just might be missing a few.
I think we would all agree that the most basic skill a design engineer needs these days is the ability to use CAD software and have an appreciation of everything it can do. I’m sure we have all been in a situation when we are put under immense pressure when told to make last minute changes to a drawing by ‘yesterday’. Digging deep, relying on your own problem solving skills when working through complex designs. Plus, when things don’t work, to be creative in coming up with helpful and more importantly, positive solutions to help drive the project forward rather than backwards.
Being a sociable soul (those that know me will agree, I’m sure), I do like working as a team, and this is crucial when working as a design engineer as you need to liaise with a variety of personnel across the business, together with external partners too. Above all having a commercial awareness of what you are actually making or producing, not only works, but can be manufactured in a cost effective way, is vital.
But having gone through all the usual skills you find on a job description, and having worked in this industry a long (!) time, I would say a couple more could be added. The most important is to have a genuine interest and love for all things mechanically based. I discovered this at an early age and if you have read some of my other blogs, then you will know that I really enjoy taking things apart and reassembling them.
Being a coffee drinker ….. I find it is my go-to 'comforter', when things aren’t working out. It helps me to take a deep breath, pause for a few minutes to reflect on the technical issues that need solving. When I’m struggling to find an answer to an engineering problem, I remember why I chose this path in the first place, have another coffee and get on with creating a solution.