The strategy behind growing your career as a project engineer comes down to two things: managing your skills to manage a project the best that you can. The construction industry is constantly innovating with new technologies, regulations and career directions that requires even the most experienced project engineer to be strategic when it comes to career growth! There is an increasing competition for skilled workers in the industry, with construction project engineering high on the list of coveted positions. So, how do you stay on the cutting edge of innovation while managing your skillset?
Here are five things to remember as you grow your career as a project engineer.
1. Take the Initiative
It does not matter if you are in an entry level position, mid-career or a senior executive, you must constantly be looking for opportunities to take initiative in your career because no one will do it for you. Change is the only constant in a healthy career. A practical way to approach this is to set specific, measurable, accurate, realistic and timely (SMART) goals! Look out five years, ten years or even fifteen years to roughly forecast out where you want to be. Then, you work backward to create the tactics and strategies for how you want to achieve your SMART goals.
Another reason to take the initiative to plan out your career long term and think strategically is because once you know where you are going, you will know how to grow your skill set to get there. For example, if you want to follow the career path from being a project engineer to eventually being a senior construction project manager, it is important to notice the specific skills that you will need to develop to get there. Along the way, you might find that there are skills that you don’t have in your arsenal that would give you a strategic advantage, such as contract negotiation, budget management or contractor management. The more that you look ahead in your career, the more aware you will be about the skills that you need and you can backtrack to create a strategy to develop them.
2. Tackle the Tech
Technology is taking a key role in how the construction industry is becoming far more effective and streamlined in communication practices. Anyone who is adept at understanding project management software, or has a strong expertise in Autodesk AutoCAD skills, could use this to negotiate for a salary bump in an interview process, or simply as an added value to an employer over another candidate. It is highly important to stay relevant with technology, to grow your company with the latest trends available. When you create value for your company you create value for yourself.
3. Grow Where You are Planted
Growing your career does not mean that you wait until you change positions or companies before you can increase your knowledge and skillset. We are inclined to like fresh starts, however, there is something powerful about teaching yourself how to grow where you are planted. You may have a dream job, with a dream company, but the best way to achieve those long-term goals is to improve or add skills in the role you currently hold. This will bring value to all parties involved.
Learn and grow professionally by seeking out resources! That resource can be a new technology tool, an online training course or a mentor in the industry. When you invest your time in people, people are far more likely to invest back in you. It is key, no matter what your industry, to grow where you are planted.
4. Offer a Unique Skillset
Adding onto the point made in “Tackle the Tech”, it is important to not only offer a wide variety of industry knowledge, but most importantly, a unique skill set that makes you stand out in your field. Opportunities for advancement are often accompanied with how you differentiate your personal brand in your industry. It can be easy to find yourself stuck in a dead-end job as a project engineer, but in order to create your own opportunities, you must be conscious of the skills you are developing and how you are developing them.
5. It all comes down to…
…your skill set and willingness to grow. Perhaps this is one of those rather self-explanatory suggestions, or maybe it is just what you needed to hear. Either way, these five things will help you grow your career as a project engineer in an industry that is booming with opportunity. From innovation, to technology, and strategically growing your skill sets, the best way to grow in your career to start now.
What is the best advice that YOU have received about growing your career?