What are the best project engineer qualifications and training to get ahead?

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What is the best training for becoming a project engineer? What types of ongoing training or certifications are necessary to be an effective project engineer?

What do non-traditional career paths look like?

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Bob in Englewood, Ohio

72 months ago

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.

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openmic in Winston Salem, North Carolina

71 months ago

however, only Type 1 engineers actually get job interviews...

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Gwen Cooper in Fort Collins, Colorado

71 months ago

Here are a few ideas for you.

I am a recruiter who is always looking for mechanical engineers with energy modeling skills (DOE-2, TRNSYS, EnergyPlus, etc.)
Also, it takes time on the job, but Commissioning Engineers are another group I'm always looking for.
With the new stimulus package, civil bridge and highway engineers will be needed.
Good luck and if you know anyone in these fields who is worried about a layoff or is in transition feel free to forward my e-mail. There is never a charge for candidates and I keep it very confidential.

cooperco@verinet.com
Sincerely,
Gwen Cooper

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