Advice for the next generation of engineers

I’m passionate about helping young engineers, especially women, navigate their career path. I do this several different ways: mentoring, hiring interns and co-ops, and blogging.

I’m often asked, “What is most important thing I should do?”
The answer is always getting a good technical base. Think about your technical knowledge like the foundation of a house. You need a strong, deep foundation before you start to build your house.

If you don’t spend enough time and energy ensuring the foundation is good, you risk future cracks.
Your technical abilities are the same for your career. Your first job should be technical, regardless of if you know you want to move into something non-technical later.

Focus on learning as much as you can so that your foundation is strong enough. You must resist the temptation of moving to another position too quickly. Often people over estimate their own understanding and performance. So, try to critically evaluate your technical abilities.
Just like a foundation, your technical skills need to have the right dimensions.

Breadth is learning the full span of a subject. Depth is the extent to which specific topics are focused on. You need both to be successful. As you become an expert in your role, make sure you understand how it fits into the overall solution.

Taking an holistic view will actually make you better at your job because you will be able to identify process improvements that have a positive cascading effect throughout the project.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to reach out to me with questions or comments. I love hearing from you!