Why engineers should get involved
Whether it is with a professional organization, within your community or in the workplace, getting involved can open many doors for young professionals
You have just completed your rigorous journey through college and have obtained an engineering degree. You have filled out job applications and have been through interviews. You have secured your first professional job as an engineer. So, what’s next?
There is no time like the present to get involved, especially for a young professional. It can reap many benefits and open many doors. Whether it is getting involved in a professional society, helping teach a local sports team or volunteering at the library, any sort of involvement will benefit you in more ways that you can imagine.
Community. Getting involved within your community can help develop your nonengineering skills. This is one of the biggest benefits that I have witnessed firsthand as a result of getting involved. When I say nonengineering skills, I mean those essential aspects outside of math and science. You may not think about it, but you use these skills on a daily basis.
The confidence and leadership you portray when you speak and the way you organize your daily schedule are two basic examples of these. I have personally become a more self-assured speaker, confident leader and, ultimately, a more vital team member by getting involved. You work with many different types of people in many types of roles. You take on all sorts of tasks and situations that you typically will not see in your work environment. By doing this, you will learn more about yourself and polish your business skills.
Industry. Becoming a part of a relevant professional association will allow you to collaborate with other industry professionals. Fortunately, for people like you and me, almost all professional societies have a young professional’s group. These groups introduce you to other young professionals and allow you to connect to those in similar situations.
You will learn about active trends in the industry and further develop your knowledge on the codes and standards that set the benchmark for the engineering industry. You will meet professionals that have either been in your shoes or are currently in your shoes. You will learn from them and they will learn from you. This is a great way to either start or continue building your name in the industry. According to Consulting-Specifying Engineer, the typical age of an engineer in this industry is around 50 years old. The earlier you get involved, the more your engineering portfolio will develop.
Workplace. How do you get more involved in your workplace? By planning social events, team-building activities or even a casual cookout, you can insert yourself as a vital part of a more fun work environment. Connecting with your coworkers outside of what you do on a day-to-day basis can build trust and confidence among your coworkers. Talking about home improvement projects or upcoming trips can bring comfort to those you work with.
In times of stress, this becomes very important and can be the deciding factor between success and failure. By organizing events and accommodating everyone’s interests and schedules, you open yourself up to others and demonstrate that you can be relied upon in addition to someone who can deliver in times of need.
The more you become involved, the more you realize how important being open-minded is. In the engineering industry, there are a multitude of ways to go about problem-solving and it is important to proceed with the most efficient and effective way. People have different approaches to solving problems and the more you interact with them, the more you learn from them. This allows you to refine your own approach to solving problems and eventually will give you the power to save valuable time.
So, what is stopping you from getting involved? You can make a difference both in your community and in your industry by simply getting involved. Keep an eye out for local organizations seeking help and opportunities to help with relevant professional societies.
In the short period of time in which I have been in the industry, I have developed my nonengineering skills much more than I could have ever imagined by getting involved. I challenge you to do the same. The results you see will transform you into a better person both personally and professionally.