Post #63 Why Report Writing is Important
Your engineering professors are preparing you for your future. Writing is a daily part of most engineering jobs. It is a critical form of communication that should complement your engineering skills. Writing engineering reports is as vital as your technical problem-solving skills.
Report Writing is a Critical Engineering Skill
What good are your results if you are unable to clearly communicate their meanings? Writing engineering reports is a fundamental engineering task. Engineering students naturally tend to focus on the problem-solving aspects of their curriculum. To many engineering students, communications classes are simply a requirement (see Post #26). A lack of writing skills can hold engineers back. This can include, but is not limited to: incorrect vocabulary, improper grammar/spelling, lack of word precision, lack of ability to adequately describe, plotting/graphing mistakes, incorrect references, and wrong dates. The biggest mistake I have seen during my engineering years was carelessness and overuse of the copy/paste feature.
Pay Attention to Details
Firstly, writing engineering reports is part of the job. Please don’t be tempted to get a report done for the sake of getting it done. Secondly, I would encourage you to increase your vocabulary and grammar skills throughout your professional development. The larger your options, the more descriptive and precise your writing can be. This will lead to less confusion, less questions, and less time wasted. Thirdly, always proofread. Pay attention to spelling and grammatical details. This is basic advice but it is underestimated, especially when people are in a time crunch. Take the time to do it properly the first time – others will see you as dependable.
Your signature on any item will forever represent you. If your name is signed to a sloppy paper or to a faulty report, you may have some explaining to do. It is your duty to accurately explain the significance of any results you produced. If others associate your name with incorrect or vague reports, they will misunderstand your capacity. Think of your report as a self portrait. When strangers view your portrait, what do you want them to see? People will judge based on your output. Think of it this way: your reports are a direct representation of your being.
In conclusion, writing engineering reports is as critical as your problem-solving skills. Do not underestimate the power of writing; it is essentially the equivalent to your self portrait.