Engineering Careers: Career Planning to Get the Gears in Motion
Once you’re employed in an engineering job and are accredited with your professional qualification - Ceng chartership or IEng incorporation – you’ve achieved a base level of competence from where to begin Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in your engineering career. Membership of an engineering institution accredited by the Engineering Council UK (ECUK) – there are 35 across the engineering sectors – is a good first step to begin to build your professional standing.
Progress in a specialist technical area of an engineering job requires career planning to assist your professional achievement. A plan will help you progress and enable you to assess your progress against your objectives. Objective setting is vital to ensure you can reach your professional goals and remain at the forefront of your profession.
Planning for Engineering Careers
- Identify areas of the profession that you aspire to, or wish to explore further.
- Make a record of the skills you possess and points of progress in your career to date.
- Career management tools, such as Career Manager from The Institute of Engineering and Technology can be really useful in assisting your planning, recording your skill levels, and identifying areas for development.
- Set yourself an action plan with realistic and achievable objectives. When doing this it is best to have intermediary objectives that plot your path to a goal and it is vital that you set yourself realistic timescales for each step.
- Consider relevant qualifications and build these into your career plan. Over time the profession will evolve and new skills and expertise will gain importance. Keeping up to date is vital to ensure you remain at the forefront in the engineering job market. Having a full suite of the latest skills will give you a sense of job security from combining the correct expertise with a growing number of years of experience to maximise your employability.
- Sharing your experience with colleagues is an excellent way to stay on track with CPD - mentoring other engineers or speaking about your successes enables you to expand your network of peers and also develop your own skills and experience. Many mentors find that helping others reach their goals can give a real sense of achievement.
- If you reach a point in your engineering career where you feel your progression is being limited by your current role, refer to your career plan to refocus your aims. You may reach a point in your CPD where your circumstances require a change of direction and a new objective. Your career record to date will give you a log of your development and skills which can be used to retarget your engineering career in a fresh direction.
Have you employed career planning in your engineering career to date? What approaches have worked best for you?
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