Many engineers are more willing to solve a complicated Fluid Dynamics problem or analyze a water network then market their own business to prospective clients. It is not because engineers are not capable of marketing, it is just that marketing is simply outside of their comfort zone. Engineers train for sometimes decades on solving highly technical real world problems. For the most part engineers are accustomed to seclusion to concentrate on complicated designs and analysis, while marketing has the perception of requiring a more gregarious person, an extrovert. Fortunately the skills required to perform well at marketing are teachable.
As an engineer progress in their careers they move away from technical analysis and design to managerial tasks. The head of an engineering department spends perhaps 95% of his day on management and maybe 5% on engineering. The lowly Project Engineer will spend 95% of his day on technical designs and analysis, and maybe 5% on a management task. Due to a lack of business skills, some engineers are unable to make the leap from engineering to management.
Since business skills are teachable, the engineer can continue his education through training seminars and courses. Once the engineer comprehends the marketing concepts, he will understand that like engineering market is a process that can be easily broken down into individual steps. The engineer will also learn that the marketing for engineering business is not like marketing for any other type of business, and that an engineer is quite capable of performing many different types of marketing campaigns. An engineer will be pleased to know marketing engineering services do not require television and radio advertisements or elaborate magazine advertisements. Engineering marketing requires only one thing; communicating your knowledge about your business to prospective clients.
For the most part the vehicles utilized to communicate this knowledge are very familiar to the engineer. Most engineers are familiar with writing technical reports and making presentations on technical analysis and designs. This skill is also used in marketing. Turning some of these reports into articles for trade magazines is a form of marketing. Speaking at a convention or professional organization on some of your unique projects is another. There are numerous other ways to communicate your business to interested audiences.
The marketing skills and techniques can be learned through continuing education courses that are tailored for the engineering business. The two main sources for continuing education are seminars and study courses. Seminars are held on a specific date and time. Attendees are required to register and be present throughout the seminar to receive a Completion Certificate with Professional Development Hours. Seminars are usually either held at a specific location or on the internet.
The other main option is study courses. Study courses can be completed over a couple of weekends at the Community College or at your convenience on online through a continuing education website. Since engineering marketing is very unique the likelihood of finding a course at the Community College and is acceptable to the State Licensure Board is about null. There are several online websites that do offer engineering business courses with professional development hours. Most of these sites either tend to offer mostly courses on technical topics or offer courses in a multitude of other disciplines besides engineering. A few websites do actually provide courses specifically for the business of engineering. The best way to find these sites is to search the internet with the key words “engineering business continuing education”.
Most of the State Licensing Boards require Professional Engineers to renew their professional licenses periodically with a minimum number of continuing education units. These units are usually Professional Development Hours (PDH) or Continuing Education Units (CEU). One PDH is equivalent to one hour of course education, and one CEU is equivalent to ten PDH or ten hours of course education.
In this article we have discussed the different sources for engineering marketing courses that offer engineering continuing education credits. The transition from engineer to manager can be difficult, but there are resources available to obtain the necessary knowledge. Acquiring the necessary management skills can be the difference between a good and a bad engineering manager.