Training is just one component of a Project Engineer, or any engineer for that matter, in my opinion.
As a project engineer for more than 15 years, my view is based on successes as a hands-on, highly motivated, what-ever-it- takes, tinkerer and inventor. But that is just one perspective.
Growing into a roll as a supervisor of other engineers has lead me to the conclusion that there are two types of engineers. Type I has the education and did well in school. Type II is the person who was born to be an engineer. This is a person with a strong mechanical aptitude and natural curiosity.
In my opinion, today's market demands an engineer to be hard working and efficient, more so than ever. Sometimes a solution can come from a book but more often the inspiration comes from experience. I'm not referring to on the job engineering experience but a lifetime of repairing, building, tinkering, hot rodding, or other hands-on activities. That behavior is indicative of a engineer who was born that way, a person who knows how to get things done.
History shows that people like Henry Ford or Steve Jobs are the hands-on, get it done variety and obviously successful. These are examples of type II engineers.
I believe my success as Project Engineer is also the direct result of being a type II, “born that way” engineer, on a smaller scale of course.
My current staff is composed of Type I and Type II engineers but I get more results from the Type II.
Perhaps it was a coincidence that I numbered the types the way I did but it is common knowledge that number two tries harder.
My advice to a new project engineer – get off the computer, your hands dirty and see how things really work. Learn from your mistakes and apply that knowledge.
That may be considered a non-traditional career path for today's engineer but we know that it works.