Getting a Management Career in Engineering and Getting Established

Deciding to pursue a career in management is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Managing people, processes and operations, can be highly stressful, and if you are not cut out for the role, or if you are not suitable, it will drain you of your mental and physical energy very quickly. So, why do you want a career in management, and why should you look at the engineering sector? Answering as many questions as early on in the process as possible will ensure that you get the career that is suitable for you and that you get the opportunity to thrive in an industry that is growing and in demand.

Knowing You Are Right for a Management Position

So, are you right for a position in management? Have you got any experience within this role, and, most importantly, what can you bring to this role? All of these questions are essential, and they will also be asked in an interview, so getting the correct answer prepared now will save you time further down the line. If you have visions of being a manager and have ideas about what it will look and feel like, then it is important to hone these ideas, as picturing a perfect role with model employees is rarely going to come to fruition. Being realistic and being honest about the role and about what it entails is crucial.

You will know that you are right for a management position within engineering if you have the drive and the passion. You have to be able to show enthusiasm (through your actions), and you have to be able to speak with passion, especially when you are trying to get everyone on board with a vision. Within a management position, a lot of the time, you have to be prepared to compromise, and you have to be prepared to tweak or alter your plans and plan of action. Being versatile and being ready to lead from the middle or lead from the front shows that you are ready for a position in management.

Why You Should Pursue a Management Career in the Field of Engineering

Engineering is an industry that is constantly growing and developing. Within engineering, there are lots of hands-on roles that are available, and these, of course, will be filled by the engineers. However, who is going to lead them, who is going to keep them on track, and who is going to drive them forwards? Through those projects or tasks that they do not want to complete, who will be pushing them? Engineers are good at what they do, but they need direction; they need guidance. Essentially, they need a manager, and this is where you come in.

Yes, you have an interest in engineering; you may even have a passion for it, but the one thing you know is that you don’t want to be in an engineering role, and this is the crucial part. Managers stand apart from engineers; they do not stand above them. Managing a team and getting the best results is what a good manager can do, and this is what you know you are good at. As a manager, potentially within a bigger team, you get the chance to make a difference, and you get a chance to influence, even if you are not involved directly with the processes that lead up to production, and this is what is appealing. 

Why Focus on the Engineering Industry

There are so many industries to choose from, so why engineering? Well, why not? It is a growing industry, which evolves to suit the economic climate. Its usefulness and versatility mean that it is always needed and even depended on, so why wouldn’t you get a career in the engineering industry, especially when there is such stability on offer? 

Another reason to focus on the engineering industry is the future it can provide you. The industry is not a fad that will go away within the next five years, it is an industry that is here to stay, and it is a titan of an industry that will continue to grow and develop, both over the next few years, and continuing into the future.

The engineering industry offers you the opportunity to be part of something bigger; it offers you the chance to make an impact. Improving how things are doing, diversifying, and improving how society develops and grows is enough for selling the engineering industry; however, if you are financially motivated, it also offers you the opportunity to have a comfortable lifestyle too.

Do You Have What it takes?

Now that you know that the engineering industry is right for you, the important question to be answered is – do you have what it takes? The demand for managers within the engineering industry is there, but just because there is high demand, it does not mean that companies and businesses alike will settle for any less than the best. So, do you have what they need and what they want? Are you a strong character? Are you headstrong, or are you open to compromise? A management career is demanding, and if you are not prepared for what it entails, you could find that it could easily end up consuming you.

To establish if you have what it takes, you need to think about the worst-case scenario. You know, the one where everything that can go wrong does go wrong! For example, if you are managing a team, who is engineering a new prototype that is due within the next few days, but they are yet to start work, how would you handle this? How would you take control of the situation? You need to be prepared that everyone on your team can let you down or disappoint you at some time, and this is the beauty of human nature, but you also need to be prepared as to how you will fix and resolve the situation. Waiting for a situation to get better on its own is not what a good manager does. A good manager is proactive and not just reactive. So, establish if you can handle things when they get rough because, if you can, you are right for the job.

Getting the Right Qualifications is Essential

Of course, learning about what a manager does and what a position in management entails is crucial to your success as a manager. Getting the right qualification is essential. A qualification, such as a master’s, will provide you with the knowledge and toolkit needed to be a great manager and not just one who gets by. When it comes to getting the right education, you need to find an online masters in management that offers you the in-depth knowledge you need to handle whatever gets thrown your way. Managers cannot afford to be ill-prepared, especially those who work within engineering, so ensure that you have the right qualifications and education behind you to ensure that you make an impact and make a difference.

When it comes to finding a suitable university to study with, you need to focus on the reputation on offer. A universities reputation will affect the quality, and value of your master’s degree, so ensure that it is everything you expect it to be. As you will be studying online, you need to know that you are getting the right standard of education. You do not want to have a sub-standard education just because you are learning from a distance, so do not settle for any less than the best. Weighing up the positives and the negatives on offer from a handful of your chosen universities will ensure that you choose the correct institution for you, and this will, of course, be one that offers the education you need and one that ensures high standards.

What Skills, Qualities, and Attributes Should You Hold?

As a manager, there are certain skills, attributes, and qualities you should hold. As well as establishing and maintaining a strong skill set, you also need to ensure that you are a strong manager who upholds values. You will be looked up to, and you will be respected by your team, so to earn and keep this privilege, you need to ensure that certain rules are followed and adhered to. Successfully implementing the required rules is not as easy as it sounds, and, of course, there is a right way to do this, but this is where a good solid education comes into play.

So, what qualities and attributes do you need to hold within a management position?

  • Drive – You need to drive your team, and you need to drive success. If you struggle to drive others, then this is definitely an area you need to improve upon. Remember that you need to be driven to drive others.
  • Consistency – Are you able to consistently perform, and are you able to ensure consistency within your decisions and processes? Team members will look to you to ensure that consistency is met and upheld, so ensure that you can offer and provide consistency at all levels.
  • Determination – You need to be determined to push through barriers, and you need to be determined to turn situations around, even at the last minute. Without determination, you will just be a manager who is seen but not valued and certainly not respected.
  • Honesty and Transparency – You need to be honest and transparent with what you do and why. Do not go behind the backs of employees, and do not make decisions without the consultation of those you are leading. If you are seen as dishonest and murky, you will be seen as someone who cannot be trusted.
  • Clear and Open Communicator – Every time you communicate with others and with your team, you need to ensure that you are clear and open. If clear and open communication is not focused on and also not encouraged, then you will create an atmosphere that is difficult to work within.
  • Reliability – Your team needs to know that you are there for them, and they need to know that they can count on you. As a manager, you must be reliable because if your reliability is doubted, team members will not respect you, they will not depend on you, and ultimately trust will be broken.

Looking at your personality and looking at the traits and skills required early on will help you establish where areas of weaknesses exist and where improvement is needed. 

Applying Your New Knowledge and Finding Work

Once you have completed your education, and once you have improved your offering as a manager and as an individual, you are now in the position to find work. When it comes to finding suitable work within the engineering industry, you can look both online and offline. Ensuring that you cover all bases and that you go for the right businesses is crucial. Just going for anything and everything is not the right thing to do. Targeting your efforts and focusing on companies that work with similar values to you is the route you need to follow.

Networking and Building up Key Contacts

Getting started with your career in management can be draining; building up a list of key contacts and networking to find key allies within the industry, and external to the industry, will ensure that you succeed within your new role. When it comes to networking, it is important to establish what you want to gain out of each meeting. Just hoping or expecting to make contacts will not work. Having goals in mind and being ambitious about what you will gain will ensure that networking is successful for you.

Building up key contacts and even allies is beneficial as it will ensure you always have someone trusted to turn to in times of need. As a manager, you need others, and you need to know you have people around to rely on, so do not be shy about networking and building up key contacts.

News Reporter