Business of Engineering

Keeping relevant

Staying up-to-date with engineering trends will allow you to quickly shift if change is necessary.
By Amara Rozgus March 29, 2019
Staying up-to-date with engineering trends will allow you to quickly shift if change is necessary. Courtesy: CFE Media

Several years ago, I had a supervisor who suggested I update my resume and LinkedIn profile every 6 months. “Why would I need to do that?” I asked. I wasn’t looking for a new job. I was at the same company. I hadn’t moved or changed any of my personal information.

To stay relevant, she replied. By updating details of what I do on a regular basis, I am showing both myself and the industry that I am remaining current, trying new things, taking on new tasks, and know how to pivot when change is necessary.

Adapt or die, as my current boss would say.

“Nothing is certain except for death and taxes,” is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Christopher Bullock, or Edward Ward—depending on who you ask. But I think there is one more thing that is certain for all of us: change. Change comes in many forms, and for sake of brevity, let’s stick to change in the professional world.

Some pretty incredible buildings were erected thousands of years ago with simple tools and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of human workers. These structures, many of which are still standing today, showcase advanced mathematical and engineering skills—long before a calculator or computer were dreamt of.

Fast-forward to today, and structures are rendered with exacting precision by computerized systems, providing detail about daylighting, wind shear, structural integrity, waterflow, air changes per hour, life safety needs … and the list goes on and on.

The point is that, without accepting incremental and leaps-and-bounds changes, engineering would be stuck back in the day of using logs to roll giant rocks into place for a school, or via astronomical calculations to select the site of a new hospital campus. Most engineers are pretty conservative by nature, but I’m guessing that the incremental change of using a rendering for clash detection is preferred over finding out that pipes and structural beams crash into each other during the actual construction process.

Learning a new software program or calculation tool was hard. Not knowing it might be even harder on your career.

I encourage you to come away with two things from all this:

  1. Remain relevant in your practice by learning, trying new things, and stepping outside your boundaries.
  2. Update your resume or LinkedIn profile to share your new knowledge.

Amara Rozgus
Author Bio: Amara is the Editor-in-Chief/Content Strategy Leader for Consulting-Specifying Engineer.