Tips for Young Engineers—Vaughn Professor Draws from Years of Experience

October 6, 2020 Student Life

Today’s young engineers are entering an unprecedented market, as their skills are in high demand due to the specific industry needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. It therefore comes as no surprise that with high demand comes a competitive climate. So, what does it take for young engineers to edge out the competition and land the job?

This month, we turned to Dr. Shouling He, engineering professor, adviser and program coordinator for the mechatronic engineering program at Vaughn College, for her advice and tips on how young engineers can become top contenders in today’s hottest engineering market.

Build from the basics

Dr. He began by reinforcing the basic building blocks for anyone with a passion for engineering. She said in order for students to be successful in the field, their work ethic must be deeply rooted in these fundamental elements:

  • Being a practical problem solver
  • Ensuring the solution to the problem makes sense, and particularly paying attention to units and the order of magnitude in engineering design and analysis
  • Breaking a complex problem into smaller and manageable pieces, and then solving them step-by-step
  • Ability to work in teams and being a good project planner

Top skills for today’s market

Today’s engineering market is fast-paced and changing before our eyes. Dr. He explained that for young engineers to capitalize on this trend, they should have a broad range of knowledge. She said Vaughn’s mechatronic engineering program is the perfect fit for today’s ever-changing market. The program focuses on mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, which are considered among the top skills that companies are seeking today. Were you aware that Vaughn’s mechatronic engineering program is one of only four mechatronic programs in the country accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)? This distinction signifies the rigor of the program and is a reflection of Vaughn’s dedication of giving students the education and tools they need in order to have successful careers in the field of engineering.

Landing the job

In today’s COVID-19 era, competition may be more prevalent than ever. Competition can, however, be a good thing. It drives one to up their game and demands them to fine-tune their skills. Dr. He advises her students to focus on both their personal qualities as well as their professional ones. Here are some tips she offers young engineers to gear up for the job market:

Things to do during a job search:

– Read the job postings carefully

– Fine-tune résumés and prepare best samples from your course projects and labs

– Research the company

 

Key qualities to edge out the competition:

– Focus on strengths and do not feel intimidated

– Be an excellent communicator and share your thoughts and opinions

– Have confidence in your abilities

– Have hands-on experience

– Have a positive attitude and be willing to work in a team

In addition to the tips listed above, Dr. He emphasized the importance of students attending engineering conferences and job fairs hosted by Vaughn. Even in today’s climate, conference and fairs can be attended virtually. Did you know that more than 164 companies recruited at job fairs hosted by Vaughn last year? Vaughn students have landed jobs with industry leaders that include Lockheed Martin, Boeing Company and Daimler Trucks North America, just to name a few. Read the success story about recent Vaughn graduate, Atif Saeed ’20, and how his degree in mechatronic engineering landed him a job as a mechanical engineer at Lockheed Martin.

Attending conferences has proven to play a vital role in standing out among the competition. Read more about how attending these conferences can set you apart from the competition in our blog, “Top Conferences to Attend as an Aviation or Engineering Student.”

Standing above the competition

Will you be graduating soon? Earning your degree is a milestone and one to be proud of. Combining your knowledge with your unique personal strengths can prove to be a winning combination to a successful career. Here are some additional tips that Dr. He believes can position you for a chance to land your dream job:

  • Be willing to work hard
  • Complete tasks on time
  • Accept there will be challenges to face as technology changes rapidly
  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Have the capability to learn new things—and be prepared to learn them yourself

Dr. He’s Vision

With almost 35 years of experience in the fields of aerospace engineering and artificial intelligence, among others, Dr. He brings a host of knowledge to Vaughn and her students. During her nine years at Vaughn, she said nothing has made her happier than seeing her students follow their passion for engineering. As a woman engineer herself, she is proud to see more female students wanting to enter the field. “As a mostly male-dominated field, we are seeing women having an advantage over men in some aspects of engineering,” Dr. He explained. “Women pay more attention to detail and tend to be more consistent—especially when it comes to computer programming.”

As the world continues to change, Dr. He said one thing remains constant. “We give our students the knowledge and skills they can build on throughout their lives,” she said. “The exciting part is seeing how they will use them to develop and design new concepts and new products for our future.”

Discover all that’s possible with an engineering and technology degree from Vaughn College. Apply today. You can read more about the latest surge in demand in our recent blog, “Demand for Engineers and Technologists Surge Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic.”