Essential Soft Skills for Aspiring Design Engineers

Posted on: 8 November 2017

Exhibiting technical acumen as a design engineer is highly significant especially with increased competition in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers are increasingly looking for creative, competent, and well-rounded design engineers. However, as the engineering field continues to expand, technical knowledge has seized to be an essential attribute for employers. Notably, soft skills are increasingly taking center stage because design engineers have become part of the entire manufacturing chain – from conception to final product release. This article explains the most important soft skills that an aspiring design engineer should strive to cultivate if they want to succeed in their profession. 

Collaboration -- For a long time, a design engineer's role was restricted to coming up with an idea of a product and developing a prototype. Once they were done with these two stages, design engineers usually left the rest of the production processes to the manufacturing department. However, such restrictions are time-consuming. For example, if there are anomalies with the product, then it has to be sent back to the designer for tweaking and then to the manufacturing line again. With collaboration, however, a design engineer can work with the manufacturing team through the whole process. The approach limits the possibilities of mistakes because the design engineer is always on standby to make corrections along the production line. Since corrections are made on the production line, there is no interference with production, which helps to meet expectations of different stakeholders along the supply chain.

Adaptability -- There is no denying the fact that consumers change their mind every so often. For instance, an engineering company can design a type of earphone that is not tangled up while placed in the pocket. However, while this is what most consumers want at the time of design, a lot can change. Notably, client tastes and preference can alter during the production of the prototype. While this is discouraging, you need the flexibility to survive in the industry as a design engineer. For example, you must be able to come up with different tweaks to designs for products that might never hit the market. Dynamism in creativity and responsiveness to customer needs are essential for success.

Stress Tolerance -- Once a client places an order and gives you ideas on how they want the product to look like, it is your job as a design engineer to conceptualize the requirements within stipulated schedules. The process involves designing and producing a prototype that will be tested to ascertain client needs are met. In some cases, you might be required to work long hours to meet a deadline. Therefore, if you are not tolerant of stress, then you will find yourself giving up quickly. Managing your time well and seeking help from colleagues is an excellent way to handle pressure.

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Ian's Guide to the Industrial Sector

Hi! My name is Ian and this is my guide to the industrial sector. I do not work in the sector myself but ever since I was a boy, I have loved the idea of seeing heavy industry at work, manufacturing the goods and products our country needs. My passion started when I visited my dad's workplace when I was a boy. My dad worked in a large industrial plant on the outskirts of Perth. I was so impressed at the sound and the large machines and the energy of the place. Although I didn't get a job in the industrial sector, I still take a very keen interest in it.

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