Stay ahead of the curve

Use these three resources to stay on top of your engineering game.

By Amara Rozgus, Consulting-Specifying Engineer February 3, 2015

For the most part, everyone knows the recipe to run a successful business. Have a high-quality yet affordable product. Hire talented people that will make you look good. Create partnerships with like-minded businesses that will help you succeed. Be a leader in the industry. Make sure customers are happy, encouraging them to return. Stay on top of the latest technology and trends. Market the firm to show off all of these attributes.

Who has time for all of that, though? Several engineers I’ve spoken to over the past few months are spread too thin—they have too much work and not enough talented people to handle the job. They are struggling to keep on top of projects already in process, let alone develop new business for the future. They have job openings that are tough to fill with the right talent. They don’t have time to attend conferences or in-person education sessions because they’re already traveling too much for client meetings. They haven’t kept up with the latest trends in engineering technology or developments to help them streamline current processes. In short, they’re treading water.

On the flip side, many manufacturers are regularly creating new, high-quality products to help streamline the engineering process. They’re partnering with out-of-the-box thinkers to take their product lines to the next level. Manufacturers are pushing their products toward the more consumer-type Web-based applications that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. They’re relying on feedback and analytics from the consumer (engineers) to design their next product or system. Now that the economy is looking up, they’re spending cash on research and development and on high-tech systems.

There isn’t a silver bullet for the engineer to take in all this information to help ensure the business stays strong. Sure, publications like this one help. Reviewing research and understanding trends can help ensure the engineering team is staying on top of the industry. Education sessions—like webcasts and lunch-and-learns with equipment vendors—can shed light on technology trends. Keeping professional networks up-to-date ensures regular interaction with both clients and partners.

To help develop your business further—whether you’re a five-person engineering firm or a multibillion-dollar behemoth—we’ve gathered three things to help you do your job a little better in 2015:

1.      Future of Engineering: This new column, found at the back of the print publication and online here, will focus on one item each month that you should be aware of. Sometimes it will be technology (like it is this month); other times it will be about legislation or codes and standards. This forward-looking column will discuss a concept that engineers should be familiar with. Thought leaders are invited to submit.

2.      Career Smart: Though this section isn’t new, the team of columnists has reviewed research and determined what business development topics you need most. Read past columns at

3.      Research: Our research team gathers data on specific engineering disciplines and on general topics of interest to this audience. Regular reports will help you stay on top of recent trends in particular portions of the industry.