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7 Habits of Highly Effective Engineers

[So I conducted a survey on a few experienced engineers on what makes an engineer efficient and effective in his profession. Below is a summary of the answers I have received.]


1. Asks questions and seeks help.

     An effective engineer knows how to ask questions and seek help when faced with a daunting and seemingly insurmountable problem. This is usually not the case to some because it is an act of swallowing one's pride, specially when the problem is deemed easy and a no-brainer. There is nothing wrong with seeking advice and guidance, more importantly from those who you don't expect would have an answer at all. Most of the time feasible solutions only surface when technical biases sprouting from routine and experience is cleared.

2. Always learns something new and creates something new from it. 

     An effective engineer is a fan of the learning process. He/she does not view study and research as a drudging task, but as a rewarding experience. Even better is when the engineer yields productive application, affirming his/her understanding of the matter. With this the engineer grows, becoming more prepared against tougher and harder engineering challenges.

3. Manages time wisely.

     An effective engineer spends his/her time under a plan. Time is a resource, and like all resources from an engineer's point of view, must be conserved economically and consumed properly. Such a habit can keep deadlines at bay. Optimal productivity is also achieved. Spare time allows the engineer to learn new things and makes way for development in other aspects of life.

4. Seeks order over chaos.

     An effective engineer can not tolerate disarray at any level. Being organized is important, even moreso for an engineer. It is even part of the Japanese "5S" - Seiri. Ignoring such a habit could lead to detrimental effects that may extend through time [i.e. future consequences]. Keeping a daily planner and calendar is imperative for a busy schedule. There are times when this habit slips from time to time when the schedule is too crowded that it would seem inefficient to write all of the tasks down or it would not be a decisive time to organize things at the present [thus postponement].

5. Communicates ideas and concepts well.

     An effective engineer is a pioneer of effective communication. The significance of exchanging ideas can never be devalued. Take the following short story for example:

     "I have a dollar. You have a dollar. We exchange. Both of us have gained nothing.
               "I have an idea. You have an idea. We exchange. Both of us have gained something!"

Thus, exchanging ideas effectively becomes more important, since the engineer would want his thoughts and opinions well understood by the other party. Poor communication skills can lead to miscommunication, and in the industry, this can lead to hefty losses.

6. Practices interdependence over independence.

     Being independent is an admirable trait to anyone. Yet, in a task where teamwork is a pivotal factor to success, independence may not always be the answer. This stems from when an individual may employ certains skills better than the other and vice versa. Interdependence then, comes above independence, that is, each part of the team depends on one another towards achieving a goal. This way, no one gets left behind, everyone gets to do their share, and everyone is credible for the task they complete.

7. Looks for new and exciting challenges.

     An effective engineer seeks new and exciting challenges. He/she is willing to take the risk of failing that challenge, and understands that each failure is a stepping stone to a rewarding success. New challenges help engineers grow and become more effective in their responsibilities (This habit shares the same benefits of learning something new).

Honestly, I myself admit that I do not practice all the habits stated above, but am taking measures to implement them now on a regular basis. If you are also an engineer who is lacking in any of the above, please join me and let us start becoming more effective engineers in order to serve society better.


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