I Should Have Gone to the Apple Store Three Years Ago; Don’t Wait in Your Engineering Career

About three years ago, I founded a speaking and training company to help engineers with their career and personal development efforts. There were many times over those three years that a short video would have helped me tremendously in marketing a product or service—for example, my speaking services. However, I didn’t know how to create and edit videos on the computer and didn’t have the budget to hire others to do so; therefore, I didn’t do it, and my business suffered for it.

Fast forward to three years later. A few weeks ago, I took an hour out of my Saturday to go to the Apple store and take a free one-hour workshop on the program iMovie. In that one hour, I learned enough to make a great video with shots from our recent family vacation, and I can now create nicely edited videos, whether it be for business or pleasure.

Never Underestimate Yourself

I think part of the reason I never thought of taking that workshop before was that I never thought I would be able to edit videos. That is something only an expert in that field can do, I thought. Engineers often underestimate themselves, which restricts their confidence level and ultimately prevents them from advancing in their careers. You are capable of doing anything you want to do in your career and life as long as you put your mind to it. Sure, you might need to invest some time and money in training to accomplish a goal, but think beyond the investment and consider all of the benefits that will come with those new skills.

Avoid Having to Deal with the “What If” Question

Since I took that training a few weeks ago, I find myself asking the question “What if?” What if I had taken that course three years ago? I know I shouldn’t be asking that question—I should just let it go—but that’s easier said than done. Do you find yourself asking questions like, “What if I had studied more for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam?” or “What if I had taken the Professional Engineering exam a few years earlier?” You can avoid these questions by tackling these items as early as possible in your career/job/business/etc.

Start with a List

I challenge you to make a list of all of your strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion, we should focus more on developing our strengths than shoring up our weaknesses, but there are cases where improving weaknesses will dramatically facilitate the achievement of your goals. Identify the weaknesses that you believe you can most easily strengthen, whether by taking a class, reading a book, or attending a conference. Next, write down next to each weakness the benefits that you will enjoy if that weakness is improved. For example, if your networking skills improve, you can bring in more business for your firm, which in turn will help you get promoted faster. Lastly, select the weaknesses that are most easily tackled and will provide the biggest benefits to you personally and professionally once improved.

I wish had gone through this process three years ago. Wait no longer.

This is a guest post by Anthony Fasano, PE, author of Engineer Your Own Success. Anthony found success as an engineer at a very early age and now writes and podcasts to help other engineers do the same. Visit Anthony’s website atEngineeringCareerCoach.com and subscribe to the top 3 resources Anthony has used to become a partner in a firm at the age of 27.