3 Things Every Aspiring Engineering Student Should Know

By Engine Room Posted 2yr(s) ago Reading Time: A few minutes

Earning an engineering major is no easy feat. The 8am classes, (seemingly) unsolvable math problems, all-nighter group work and not to mention, being the designated call guy or girl when the hostel’s Wi-Fi is down. For students pursuing an engineering qualification, those two to four years are some of the most challenging yet. But, if done right, they can also be the most rewarding.

Having experienced the full spectrum of highs and lows, three final year Polytechnic students share their biggest takeaways from their journey so far. 

#1 You might not apply everything you learn, but learn them anyway

It’s no surprise for engineering students to be handed an overload of information, from textbooks and manuals to research papers. Singapore Polytechnic student Mohammed Arshad found himself asking more than a few times if anything he crammed for that final semester paper would be applicable in real life.

Having said that, the mechanical engineering student enthused that this is no reason for skipping out on classes. He says, “Always show up, take notes and ask questions.” One of the modules he found most challenging was that on AutoCAD, which turned out to be immensely valuable during his internship where he was able to contribute to designing digital prototypes.

The point is, you simply cannot tell what kind of skills and knowledge you’ll need at the workplace. School, then, is the best place to grow and add to your intellectual toolbox, in preparation for the future. 

Mohammed Arshad, Singapore Polytechnic, Mechanical Engineering Student

#2 Technical skills are just the start

Gone are the days of perfecting a code in a cozy personal pod. 23-year-old Hafiz who just completed an internship with driverless software solutions start-up Moovita shares, “An effective engineer is one that has more than just technical skills. Hiring managers today look for engineers who are great at what they do, but who also play well with others in the workplace.”

He added, “Having dipped my toes in the waters of work life, I’ve discovered that the ability to communicate clearly and demonstrate a willingness to learn is just as, if not more, important than being able to perform tasks accurately.” While technical skills may get your foot in the door, people skills are critical to opening more doors to come.

Mohammed Hafiz Bin Mohamed Helmi, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Automation & Mechatronic Student

#3 It’s okay if it takes awhile to find your fit

If you chose to study engineering, there are probably a number of things you know you’re good at. For example, Physics, Sudoku and DIY projects. And then there’s the other longer list: Are you a big-picture thinker? Do you speak machine? Do chips make you tick? Few people enter tertiary education with an idea of what they’d excel in, and some don’t find out till much later on. That’s completely okay!

Temasek Polytechnic Electronics Engineering student Natasha always knew she was great with her hands, but took some time to figure out that she did her best work when tinkering with circuit designing and patching. After toying with the idea for awhile, she started designing a smart home movement-tracking system for families with elderly for her final year project. This led her to land the IES Innovation Challenge for the Community 2019 Merit Award.

The 19-year old adds, “It helps to ask the people around you – your family, course mates and lecturers – what your strengths are. Because sometimes, others can identify them much more quickly.

Natasha Tan Zhaowen, Temasek Polytechnic, Electronics Engineering Student

And there you have it – three things every aspiring engineer should know. Hold ‘em close to your heart and you might just ace the new school year. 

Earning an engineering major is no easy feat. Having experienced the full spectrum of highs and lows, three final year Polytechnic students share their biggest takeaways from their journey so far. - Engine Room

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