Engineers: How to Advance From Work Bench to Manager’s Desk

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These days, many engineers consider themselves lucky if they have a job. But being complacent even in the most erratic economy can cost you a much needed promotion.
If you’ve been stuck in the same role and aren’t moving up the ladder, there are a few first steps you can take to remedy the situation. Anthony Fasano, an engineer, career coach and bestselling author of  Engineer Your Own Success: 7 Key Elements to Creating an Extraordinary Engineering Career  offers a few suggestions.
He notes that most engineering firms review their employees once or twice a year. Yet 9 out of 10 engineers are ill prepared for their review. He advises engineers to gather all their materials well before their review date and practice presenting their accomplishments to their manager or supervisor.
To help engineers make the transition from workbench to manager’s desk, Fasano launched the Institute for Engineering Career Development. The affordable engineering and personal development program is designed for engineers eager to improve their soft skills and leadership abilities. IECD’s program is comprised of monthly live, content-rich webinars featuring Fasano, a licensed professional engineer, providing insights and tools to help engineers advance their careers by developing superior ‘people’ skills.
“While I thoroughly enjoy giving keynote presentations and seminars throughout the country, I wanted to share my knowledge of successfully building a stellar engineering career to a wider audience, hence the IECD was born,” says Fasano. “Making this program affordable and easy to access was one of my top priorities. I know firsthand how well defined soft skills can enhance one’s engineering career. Whether the engineer’s goal is to rise up through the ranks of the firm where he or she is employed, or become a thriving entrepreneur, becoming a member of the IECD will accelerate their progress towards achieving their goals.”
Another thing engineers tend to do is bury themselves in their work. Deadlines and project timetables become all consuming. They become excellent “technicians” and let their people skills lapse. If you want to move up to a management role, you'll have to know how to interact with clients, make  presentations and work with various agencies. Put simply, to move up the ladder, you’ll need to develop and hone your soft skills. One way to do that is through Toastmasters International, a public speaking group that builds self confidence and enhances your communications skills.
Advancing your engineering career won’t be easy in these tough economic times, but it can be done. Many prefer remaining in the lab or at their work bench, but for those with greater ambitions, there are specific paths to promotion.
Image courtesy of Naypong/

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