How to make a career change in engineering by switching industries

How to make a career change in engineering by switching industries?

Jacintha Verdegaal

Not loving your engineering job as much as you once did? You’re not the first to realize that what was once the perfect environment to develop your skills, simply doesn’t excite you anymore. If you still enjoy what you do, but not where you do it, then why don’t you try making a career change in engineering by switching industries?

How to switch industries as an engineer

Does the thought of switching industries make you nervous? Don’t be! Think of this career change in engineering as a process and not something that has to happen in one day. All the roadblocks in your head that keep you from taking the first step – experience, money, hassle – are all manageable if you break it down. And that’s what we’re going to do right now.

Why do you want to make a career change in engineering

Before we start you should do some self reflection and decide why you want to make a change. Maybe you’re hating your current job. But is this related to the entire industry you’re in or is it actually just this company that isn’t the right fit?

Even if you’re determined to become the expert in one industry, it’s usually a good idea to get experience in other industries. The perspective, knowledge and skills you pick up along the way are extremely valuable, no matter what project you’ll work on in the future.

So first step: think of your career goals and your motivation to change. It’s going to require some effort and maybe some setbacks to get there, so make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Get to know your new industry

How well do you know the industry you want to work in? What qualifications, skills, knowledge is required to be successful?

Don’t limit this step to doing online research. Attend meetups, events and talk to people who can answer your questions. If you make a good impression they might even help you with a job opportunity in the future.

Make a list of your transferable engineering skills

You don’t want a future employer to quickly scan your resume and reject you because of your limited industry experience. It’s easy to focus on the differences, so what you need to do is look for and convince them of the similarities.

Every industry thinks they’re unique. But when it comes to engineering there are many skills that are transferable. And your outside perspective can actually help to come up with new, innovative solutions to their problems.

At Tasker we often match engineers with tasks in a different industries. A mechanical engineer in the offshore industry who’s a specialist in designing heavy load bearings worked on a task for an equipment manufacturer. The industry was different, but the skills he had to use were the same.

After you’ve done your research of what’s needed in your desired engineering industry, make a list of the similarities with what you’re doing today. Maybe they’re using different words for the same type of work, so be aware of that as well. Use their language.

Look for opportunities to get relevant engineering work experience

Even with the right motivation, your transferable skills and clear interest in this other industry, an employer might still want to see relevant work experience. Don’t worry, there’s no need to quit your current job and accept an unpaid internship. But you do want to look for tasks and projects where you can demonstrate how well you fit in this other industry.

Look for short-term freelance opportunities that you can combine with your job. With Tasker you can work on engineering tasks when you’re available. And as I mentioned above, not having specific industry experience is not necessarily limiting your chances of working in that industry. With every task you’re growing your credibility, experience and network of people in that industry.

Keep working on your engineering career change

Some industries are harder to break into than others. You might need a few additional steps to get to where you want to be. Keep putting yourself out there, tell people what you want to do, ask for advice and take action when an opportunity presents itself. They’re all important steps on your career path and bringing you closer to landing your dream job.

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