What Qualities Make a Successful Electrical Engineer? (By Electronics Division)

Engineering is a complex field with many specialties, each requiring specialized expertise. A typical example can be shown in a mega construction project. In such a large-scale project, electrical engineers are required to work in a team comprising professionals from different engineering disciplines and even non-engineering fields such as finance and accounting. To contribute to the success of the project, electrical engineers need to be equipped with critical thinking skills and effective communication techniques, and look at problems from various perspectives to figure out the optimal solutions.

In addition to the aforementioned qualities, some may ask, "what is the winning formula to be a successful electrical engineer?" The answer lies in the fundamentals of electrical engineering – IVRi:

  • Innovation – In today’s world, project success is defined as meeting technical and budget requirements while fulfilling safety obligation and reaching customer expectations. With evolving expectations and requirements, electrical engineers should integrate knowledge, perspectives and approaches to innovate and create greater value and more rewarding outcomes.
  • Vision – The best electrical engineers should have a big-picture vision. In the era of digitalisation, a technology vision for the next decade is needed. They have to keep updated with the latest technological developments, and foresee the trends which are going to dominate the markets in the next ten years and prepare for it. This element is not only critical to one’s development, but also helpful in leading a team of professionals to move to the next level.
  • Receptiveness – Successful electrical engineers are willing to listen to and accept new ideas and suggestions. It stimulates thoughtful solutions and promotes understanding of the reasoning underlying the ideas. 

The next question is, "how to master IVR"? One must have a "PhD"ii :

  • Passion for the Profession
  • Hunger for Knowledge
  • Determination to Succeed

"PhD" are the personal traits that drive oneself to success, from one’s inside to outside. They are powerful traits that accelerate learning curve, and more importantly, they help create persistence. In other words, "PhD" is an essential pre-requisite for achieving "IVR". 

To develop "PhD", one should fully understand his or her interests and goal, and then formulate a plan to pursue it. He or she should focus on the defined strategic plan, spend effort on it and constantly review the process.

In conclusion, apart from technical competency and proven project management skills, a professional and successful electrical engineer carries and practises an "IVR" and "PhD" all the time.

[i] In 1827, Mr Georg Simon Ohm first published probably the most important and earliest quantitative description of the physics of electricity, i.e. Current (I) = Voltage (V)/Resistance(R)

[ii] A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest academic degree awarded by universities in most countries.

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