Three Common Engineering Misconceptions


Post #69 It’s Okay to (Cautiously) Dream

I do not wish to put a damper on your dreams.  But, there are a few things I’d like to share with you while you are still an engineering student.  Things I wish someone would have shared with me.  Perhaps there are others, but for now, I want to talk about three common engineering misconceptions students believe.


There is a Dream Job Waiting for you

You are working so hard in one of the toughest majors.  It feels natural to believe all this hard work will be rewarded in the form of a dream job.  Almost as if you’re entitled.  What I want to tell you is that there may or may not be a dream job out there.  I will go one step further and tell you most adults hunt for their dream jobs unsuccessfully.  It is true that some people never find it.  My intent here is to help you be realistic and cautiously optimistic.  It’s perfectly fine to think about a dream job – but don’t rely on it to make you happy.  Be aware that many people never find it, and it’s possible you may not, either.  View all jobs as stepping stones!

Professional Work is Just Like Coursework

Your engineering courses are challenging you in certain ways.  They challenge your technical abilities, your communication abilities, your time management abilities, among others.  What engineering students love most is the technical challenge.  We thrive on equations, charts, software and all things numbers.  Many engineers naturally wish to continue tackling these technical challenges in their careers.  And many engineers assume their careers will comply.  In general, this is not the case.  Of course, there are specialized engineering jobs that do utilize technical abilities you gained in school.  However, those jobs can be far and few between.  Please read Post #51 as I talk about this topic a little more in depth.  Be aware that the real life work out there is usually very different from your technical coursework.


Employers are Responsible for your Professional Development

All employers are not created equally.  Some are very supportive of professional development and will pay for your additional trainings or certifications.  Other employers, not so much.  What I want you to understand is that this is not an automatic right you earn as an employee.  In fact, it’s very much a privilege for any employer to invest in you.  They do not have any obligation.  The takeaway here is that you must be responsible for your own development.  If your employer pays for it, GREAT.  If they don’t, you must find creative ways to support your own growth.

I will continue in the future to post other common engineering misconceptions.  For now, digest this information.

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