6 Things All Engineering Consultants Should Know

by Craig Pemberton

Life as an engineering consultant can be overwhelming. From managing company expectations and client demands, you can feel like you are constantly trying to keep your head above water. On the other hand, consulting can be incredibly rewarding. Nothing beats the feeling of a successfully completed project and seeing the physical outcome of your hard work.

So, for those people getting started in engineering consulting, it’s important to know that there are some things that you can only learn through experience. Here are six things I learnt the hard way that all successful consultants need to know.

1. You don’t know what you don’t know

It’s important to rely on your judgement and experience. However, you should be aware when you are working outside your comfort zone and simply ask for help. It is okay that you do not know yet. Engineering means you’re always learning.

2. Experience vs Theory

Be aware of the difference between practical experience vs engineering theory. If practical experience can’t be explained by theory, it is your understanding of the theory that is wrong.

3. Hand calculations

In a day where online calculators and analysis software are widely used, you should also carry out your own independent and sometimes simplified hand calculations as a self-check. Try and guess the correct answer beforehand and trust your gut feelings.

4. Lack of evidence vs First-hand accounts

Trust the people on the front line that work with the problem day in day out. They are trying to save you from embarrassment.

5. Using your engineering judgement

You are an engineer with experience. Don’t be afraid of using judgement and trusting your capabilities. However, you should always be transparent when a decision was made based on your opinion if other information wasn’t available at the time.

6. How to balance

In a world where clients are always requesting more for less, it is important to manage clients’ expectations carefully. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Everyone has their own style. Align your decisions with the morals of your company but ultimately follow your own personal ethics.

Read the original article on LinkedIn