There has been a dramatic shift in technology throughout the last decade.
Since 2010, we've seen the rise of 4G internet (with 5G making waves in 2020 and beyond), cloud computing, augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI)... just to name a few. The evolution of the smartphone and wearable devices have also taken off this decade. These technologies have been making an impact on everyday lives - such as commuting with rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft, ordering groceries using voice control devices like Amazon Alexa, logging into your accounts using facial recognition with an iPhone, and much more.
These technological breakthroughs in the 2010s revealed new opportunities for growth and change - but these opportunities weren't only limited to everyday routines. They also presented themselves in the industry... especially in the world of engineering and related disciplines. These technologies have impacted the processes and quality of products created to cater to consumer demand. Examples of emerging technologies in engineering in this decade include 3D printing, digital twin, and generative design technology.
As an engineer, you may wonder how to keep up with and help shape the future of engineering, as industry trends are constantly changing. To develop, nurture, and prepare yourself for what's to come in the next decade, here are a few resolutions for you to consider in 2020:
1. Envision Your Future:
With digital transformation (DX) technologies like AI, IoT, augmented reality (AR), computer-aided design (CAD), and additive manufacturing becoming increasingly universal, it’s appearing like those sci-fi movies portraying a future filled with robots and automation weren’t too far off.
As digital transformation technologies are continuing to transform the way the workforce and factory operates, the demand for individuals to fill roles in the skills gap increases. In this decade, new careers have been emerging and they continue to do so with these technologies. Roles for AR engineers and industrial engineers using CAD software have evolved to meet the demand of new technologies coming into the market. Growth in these emerging technologies also means growth and opportunity for you.
2. Develop Your Skills:
Don't just work on your hard skills - such as writing, reading, and math. It's also fundamental to nurture your soft skills - like communication, listening, time management, and social interactions. Both hard skills and soft skills are essential to any career and help you gain a competitive edge in your chosen career path. Possessing both soft skills and technical skills will set you apart from other candidates, employees, and competition.
3. Become an Expert:
Just because you graduated college or have completed prior education doesn't mean your learning should end. It is essential for personal and professional growth to continue learning. In this day and age, learning material is often at the tip of your fingers. All you have to do is grab it. There are even online learning guides and tutorials on LinkedIn and YouTube. Don't forget to explore options within your company. Explore what resources your company has to offer and look into the benefits they offer for continued education. Many individuals find that their companies offer amazing learning benefits that they weren't formerly aware of. (You can also explore our continued learning options here).
4. Showcase Your Work:
Something that sets you apart in the application process or when seeking a promotion is showcasing a previous project. For many candidates, including engineers, this means considering an online portfolio. Using an online portfolio, you can track, showcase, and provide potential or current employers with content that embodies characteristics they're looking for in an individual. Some recommended best practices for showcasing your work via ePortfolio can be found here. Leveraging these resources can give you a competitive edge. These resources can be particularly valuable for engineers pursuing careers in industries like aerospace, automotive, and more.
5. Make Sustainable Choices:
As we enter the next decade, cutting-edge technology and digital transformation that positively impacts the Earth will become crucial. These powerful technologies give you a platform to share information easily in a captivating way, which can help relay information on how to properly dispose of waste, report on natural disasters, and even provide communities with safe water through smart, connected systems.
In an AR experience created by PTC for Earth Day, eco-friendly life choices are depicted in a gamified learning experience. The entire design process is paperless, creative, and showcases how technology can make an impact on everyday choices by sharing invaluable lessons like maintaining a sustainable lifestyle.
Similarly, news outlets have leveraged AR technology to show events happening around the world, like forest fires in the Amazon and how people in the community are affected. You can view the AR experience here. This company has used IoT technology to create a smart, connected solution for the water crisis that affects many rural communities. These sustainable solutions that have developed in this past decade have set a strong precedent for initiatives that are sure to come in the future.
6. Find Balance:
Staying organized, making healthy choices, checking things off your to-do list, and simply getting from point A to point B can be challenging. Setting time aside to reflect on what you’re doing and where you’d like to be doesn’t have to be intimidating. Write down your goals. Delegate your time. Create a system to stay organized and on task. Work on finding balance this year and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
7. Understand the Technology You Use Daily:
Consider the abundance of resources readily available and how you can use new technologies not simply to replace old systems and technologies, but to improve the way you work in industry alongside technology. As you familiarize yourself with these technologies and interact with them, consider sharing this knowledge with co-workers or even non-technical people. Many people go everyday using popular AI, AR, or IoT devices, but how do you show them how that power can be leveraged in industry? Show your family and friends how the technologies work by demoing an interactive AR experience or by watching a video or two. Discussing how the physical and digital worlds are converging is exciting, and you have the ability to help spread the wealth of knowledge.
A new year brings new opportunity for reflection, growth, and success. In an era of digital transformation, it’s inevitable that society as a whole will continue to change. As the new year rolls in and brings a new decade with it, explore the opportunity for transformations in your own personal life and career.