The below video is in response to a question that I received on our facebook fanpage asking, “What computer skills should engineers have?”
This is a great question! Especially for younger engineers and recent graduates, you will need to be very proficient on the computer. You must know how to use the Microsoft Word and Excel programs so that you can do calculations and prepare reports. You will also need to be very proficient in AutoCAD (Computer-Aided Design), especially for mechanical and civil engineers because you’re going to use a lot of AutoCAD right from the beginning of your engineering career.
In the past, engineers would draw up a design by hand and then give it to a draftsperson to draw it up on the computer. That doesn’t happen anymore. Now engineers do everything from conceptual to final design on the computer themselves. Some of the tasks you might do on AutoCAD (especially for civil engineers) include grading of land, cut and fill calculations, road profiles, site plans, etc. Of course you may have a senior engineer or project manager working on the design with you, but you will find yourself doing many of the calculations yourself right in AutoCAD.
Your computer skills are especially important in today’s economy. When looking for a job, most prospective employers will ask you about your CAD skills during the job interview. You should be prepared to discuss them and you should bring samples of your CAD work if possible. This may give you a big advantage over other candidates. To answer your question: you need to be very proficient on the computer as an engineer in both the Microsoft Office programs as well as AutoCAD. Depending on your engineering discipline you should research what other specific programs you may need to know (i.e. MathCAD) and learn them ASAP. I hope this answers your question and helps you in your engineering career development!
If any of you have questions about engineering careers, post them on the wall of our facebook fanpage and I will try to respond as soon as possible!
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on how computer skills can advance your career as an engineer.
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To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success