How the digital revolution and digital engineering are making engineering tasks easier and influencing the requirements profiles for engineers.
One of the main advantages promised by digitalization is that digital capture, processing and exchange technologies will provide rapid access to comprehensive data. As a direct consequence of the now good to very good availability of CAD component data, the actual project work in 3D engineering takes less time. With staff able to coordinate easily and at short notice in web conferences, digitalization in mechanical engineering speeds up project work, often for several projects at once. Such advantages provide prime examples of the great impact digitalization has on engineering in particular, with requirements profiles for engineers’ work changing and certain soft skills gaining in importance.
Digitalization and engineering make the perfect pair
When it comes to actually building structures, it is already a huge advantage for efficiency when manufacturers supply clearly structured 3D data for every component directly. In the medium term, new approaches to 3D engineering tools and configurators are necessary to combat the ever-growing workload in engineering. Such tools and configurators must be intuitive, easy to use and simplify complex tasks. Ultimately, they need to offer clear productivity benefits compared to usual 3D engineering solutions. Digital engineering ensures engineers have the right tools to hand, for example in the form of the item Engineering tool. These tools help them complete repetitive standard tasks much faster than when working in a conventional CAD environment.
Basic digital expertise and practical experience in 3D engineering are becoming fundamental requirements for engineers in the era of digitalization. More and more companies are on the lookout for candidates who can research independently and work well in a team. Given how easy it is to share engineering data thanks to digital technologies, teamwork can also mean working across different continents, which calls for the appropriate language skills. A working knowledge of English is the bare minimum and will not be enough on its own in the future. Initiatives such as “Made in China 2025” – often compared to Germany’s own national strategy “Industry 4.0” – are seeing the Chinese language come increasingly to the fore. Intercultural skills, meanwhile, are essential to ensuring staff can work efficiently and effectively with partners and customers from different cultures.
Digitalizing engineering – new requirements
With digitalization taking grip of the engineering sector, today’s engineers need to be all-rounders. They are expected to meet customer requirements that are changing all the time and must be able to quickly and accurately interpret third-party designs. Mechanics, electronics and software are becoming more closely interconnected in general. What’s more, new job opportunities are opening up for IT specialists who can develop new 3D engineering software solutions. As constructions get more complex, engineers become a factor in production planning, since – at the very least – they are involved in calculating assembly times. Engineers will have to take on additional coordination tasks in the future and thus assume a project management role in certain areas.
When establishing the must-have qualifications for working in a digitalized mechanical engineering sector, IT skills always come top of the list. But what exactly does this mean for engineers? For a start, core IT skills are more important than having a particular specialization. The basic set of requirements is growing in scope and digital know-how is therefore becoming a basic prerequisite. Employees who can demonstrate appropriate training or hands-on experience have a clear-cut advantage. As regards engineers, they don’t necessarily need to know their new employer’s software inside out right from the start. What is key is that they have a basic grounding in 3D engineering and can transfer their knowledge to the system they will be working with.