What’s comes to your mind, when you think of an engineer and a scientist? For an engineer, perhaps you will picture a helmet, safety goggles and calculator. On the other hand, for a scientist, you might picture a person wearing a white lab coat, holding strangely colourful fluid contained in test tubes.
As the world economy changes rapidly, the role of engineer and scientist has expanded, at least I feel. Therefore, you might be wondering what it takes for a scientist or engineer to be successful in the modern days?
No longer a frog in a well
These days where innovation is the driving force for company survivability, engineers and scientists will need to be creative so as to generate useful ideas to sustain a business competitive edge. This can be done by having the engineer and scientist to be exposed to multi-disciplinary fields of study. No longer a major in one single topic is sufficient.
In a dynamic corporate world, team will consist of various experts from each of the field they represent; sales, designing, marketing, manufacturing, etc. To have that synergistic effect, everyone in the team is expected to be at least understand and appreciate what others’ are working in. No doubt this take effort and immense intellectual curiosity to read, ask and google to find out the fundamentals of the unknown.
Employers are also reviewing on potential employees work experience and personal interest during an interview as such information will reveal the candidate’s ability to take on future leadership role and customer interfacing roles.
Outstanding ideas should make economic sense
All ideas are good, at least no one should disparage any seed of thought as who knows it might be the next big thing. However, outstanding ideas are those that make economic sense, meaning, those that are pertinent to current issues or relevant to the customer needs and wants.
Therefore, it has become imperative for all scientist and engineer to acquire business acumen competency. It is important for all researchers that involved in projects to understand how the business works. This will help to improve their critical thinking skills and decision-making skills which might significantly improve the success rate of these new projects.
What can be done?
Training and upgrading are the two main keys to achieve the above mentioned. In Singapore, it usually involved a tripartite effort; employee, employer and government.
– Employee must be willingly to undergo upgrading courses so as to be able to take on more roles. Some sacrifices will have to be made for a better future, be it less time for the family or less rest.
– Whereas the employer must provide such opportunities to employees. They could also make job-rotation option available to the employee so that they could learn important skills through different job assignments in different departments in an organisation.
– Singapore government has been encouraging workers to keep upgrading their skills. The sum of $300m has been invested to build two massive Continuous Education and Training (CET) campuses – one in Paya Lebar and the other in Jurong East. The purpose all be to house training providers, career counsellors and classrooms under one roof. This will greatly aids workers in seeking for the relevant trainer and vice verses. With constant feedback, the trainers could also develop relevant courses that are required by the labour market.
Whether you are thinking of becoming an engineer or scientist, or If you are already one of them, I hope you can strive to be a value-added staff and belong to a unique group of technical gurus equipped with business essence, who can solve problems and most importantly deliver value to your customer.