Why every Mechanical Engineer should be upskilling themselves in weird ways

Today’s Engineering sector is, and always has been, full of extremely driven and talented people. The driver for success in this relentless space, in my mind, is differentiation. Here a little left-of-field knowledge goes a long way.

Scott Adams says that even if you know only 10% more than someone else about a given subject, you’ll seem like an expert. It is for this reason I try to research and apply widely different subject areas, from machine learning to electronics design, lisp programming to web development. I dip my toe in everything I can. All on top of my foundational role of doing mechanical design and manufacturing in my day-job.

Jack of all trades, master of none

is the classic description of this skill-set. I fundamentally disagree that this is a bad thing, however. Of course we need boffins working tirelessly on painfully obscure and specific niches, but the average joe like me?

I can do much more useful work for people whilst standing on the shoulders of giants: the complex work done by actual smart people to make machine learning, electronics design and web dev easy. Thanks to the fantastic work like python and sklearn, nodered and laravel, I can pick a few packages, wire them up, and have some IoT gateway or a Fusion360 Add-in up and running in a few weeks.

This is where we’re at, a Mechanical Engineer trying everything, I suggest you try something too!

If you’d like to learn more I’ve got a short guide on web automation, though that’s more for marketers scraping data or populating CMS systems.

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