How you can become a successful engineer

Every summer, millions of students have a tough time selecting the right engineering college that will open the doors to an exciting career. Let us assume that you made it to the engineering college of your dream. If you think that was difficult, then you really don’t know what you are up against!

The upcoming semesters are going to be hectic, where you are going to be bombarded with assignments, projects, tests and everything your professor feels that you need to do to be ready for your role as an engineer in the real world. Also, don’t expect your professor to spoon-feed you because in college, you are expected to hone your own skills. Despite the incomprehensible lectures, endless homework, and impossible tests, studying engineering has been quite easy.

If you want to be the best, then you can only be the best through your own efforts, hard work and creativity. Don’t believe in the concept “My teachers know everything I need to know to be an engineer. Their job is to tell it to me in lectures, and my job is to soak it up and then repeat it on exams. If I can do that, I’ve learned it.”

That approach may have worked in your qualifying examination but it begins to fail in college, and once you get into the class or research lab, it stops working completely. Out there, there are no professors, lectures, or texts with worked-out examples, and the problems don’t come neatly packaged with all the information needed to solve them.

So, I would like to give you simple tips to help you start learning it now.

1) Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn

If you are having difficulty in classes or can’t figure out the equations that are being calculated on the whiteboard, ask your professor to explain it again. Most professors genuinely want their students to learn—that’s why they became professors—and often complain that their students rarely ask questions.

2) Read, read and read different books

Some textbooks try to clarify difficult material by giving practical illustrations and explanations. Check out those parts of your text if you’re having trouble rather than just searching for solved examples that look like homework problems. Read everything in your library and everything else that you can get your hands on related to your course work.

3) Work with other students

When you work alone and get stuck on something, you may be tempted to give up, where in a group someone can usually find a way past the difficulty. Working in groups may also show you better ways to solve problems than the way you have been using. Get group members, especially the weaker ones, to explain all completed problem solutions before ending a problem-solving session.

4) Make your own portfolio of projects

You might have a busy schedule but try to participate in every experiential learning project you can get your hands on. This will help you apply the knowledge that you gain in college and in addition, you will have a portfolio of projects to show your prospective employer.

5) Build a good network

Engineering is not an isolated field but requires leadership and team work. You need to build your network in college so that you are not lost when you start your career. The best way to network is to have good relationships with your classmates, seniors, alumni and teachers. Attend seminars, lectures and conferences on-campus. Also use social media to stay in touch!

6) Consult experts

When practicing engineers run into such problems, as they all do occasionally, they consult experts. Apart from your course instructor, consult graduate teaching assistants, other professors who teach the same course, students who have previously taken the course.

7) Intern during the summer

The best way to retain your knowledge is through practical experience so intern during the summer at every opportunity. Prospective employers love new undergraduates with practical experiences. Also, try to build your portfolio of projects along the way! Interning will also help you prepare for the new semester!

Lastly, have faith in yourself and don’t give up! With hard work, you will excel as an engineering student.

The writer is former registrar, JNTU Hyderabad.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2021 11:22:13 PM |

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