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What characteristics make a good chemical engineer?

What characteristics make a good chemical engineer?

Many aspire to become an engineer but not everyone has the opportunity to develop the courage and personality traits required to enter such a career and become ultra-successful. The question is what does it take to become one of the best engineers and how can one attain these behavioral qualities and personality traits?

Chemical engineering is much more than the simply knowledge acquired from engineering courses. Employers look deeper than good grades during the recruiting process. The best engineers demonstrate more than just outstanding technical proficiency.  They also bring to the table an array of key “soft skills,” including:

  • Top engineering candidates can describe and explain their work – not only to other engineers, but to non-engineering staff members whose decisions affect their work.
  • Like other professionals, engineers must frequently work on teams.  As a result, they must be able to collaborate with other engineers and with professionals across disciplines.

Key Personality Traits for Engineers

  • This is one of the personality traits that are built over time with the members of the organization including your boss and team members. If the organization is built by trust then projects will most likely have a positive outcome because the team members are working better together. It is also one of the most common causes of disputes in a team, which leads to people leaving or even betraying each other.
  • Chemical engineers must be able to explore new ways of applying engineering principles. They work to invent new materials, advanced manufacturing techniques, and new applications in chemical and biomedical engineering.
  • Though chemical engineers can get caught up in mixing chemicals, they need to focus on safety and pay attention to the lab environment. Chemicals can sometimes mix together and create unexpected results. Wearing proper equipment and goggles and ensuring chemists do as well is important to prevent burns, injuries and eye damage. Chemicals can also cause environmental damage if spills occur or chemicals leak into the water supply.
  • Every project has deadlines, and unexpected delays, disasters, and other events can throw a schedule off track.  Top engineers have the ability to organize their time, as well as the flexibility to handle unexpected challenges.
  • Honest / Speaking the Truth. As an engineer, you should be honest even if the situation will not favor you, even if it is painful to deal and even if it contradicts the needs, desires, beliefs, and intentions of the organization. This is one of the key personality traits and the most basic job of a good engineer. Projects tend to fail with dishonesty as the problems that arise may not be addressed properly.
  • Problem-solving skills. In designing equipment and processes for manufacturing, these engineers strive to solve several problems at once, including such issues as workers’ safety and problems related to manufacturing and environmental protection. They must also be able to anticipate and identify problems to prevent losses for their employers, safeguard workers’ health, and prevent environmental damage.
  • Team Player / Good Working Relationships / Teamwork. No one can finish a project by themselves alone. You need team members to work on it in order to make it a success. Becoming the head of a project, one must be able to encourage, empower, and improve team members. It also includes acting as a role model to everyone including the bosses.

This is done by doing well in the leadership role, using the resources of the company in an effective manner and spending the budgets wisely, keeping the necessary people well informed involving budget reviews and milestones, communicating well with everyone in the organization, supporting the people around you and presenting an accurate message with your bosses and clients. This is the number one personality trait that will contribute to your success as you go from being an engineer to a manager.

  • Time Management Skills. Managing your own time as well that of your team will of course affect project completion and overall progress.  Failure to adopt a proficient time management structure can result in negative consequences such as not meeting a client’s set date for contract completion.
  • Thinking Ahead / Being Ready for the Unexpected. This is one of the personality traits that separate a few from the many. It is important for an engineer to think ahead and identify the possible problems that might arise so that when it happens it would be easier for the issue to be addressed. One must be able to also see and take advantage of the opportunities that come in. Thinking about the long term effect of it and how it can benefit the company. If you always think about more than one solution, then if the first fails you’ll be ready to implement the second.

Need the skills required by chemical engineering employers? Find out more about the chemical engineering course we have to offer and book onto chemical courses at London TFE.


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