How to Get the most from Engineering Magazines and Online Sources - Quickly and Conveniently
Career Management for Engineers
Try these ideas to obtain the range of advantages offered by engineering magazines and on-line technical information. Apply them quickly and conveniently, to suit your busy lifestyle.
- Every one of us has limited time - on the face of it, not enough time to go through magazines and online forums. So a great way to make the best use of it is to build methods into your day-to-day routines using the
convenience of digital media. Use
the web, social networks and mobile communication. Many of us browse,
surf, blog and check details on our phones. Weave the sources of the
information you need into this routine. Add the most relevant sites to
your favourites; follow the best sources on twitter. Why just be passive
when you can be proactive by replying and contributing to debates?
you maintain a professional network
of people within your industry sector. Many will be at your current
organisation, however if possible try to stay in touch with useful people
at your previous companies. Include suppliers and customers. Talk and
actively listen to people who do things differently and are knowledgeable
about industry trends and product news.
a real effort to attend meetings, conferences and events about new ideas
and cutting edge concepts. Once there, make the best use of your time by
using a targeted list to talk to people that matter.
you get an opportunity, talk to people about ideas and concepts related to
your profession; push yourself to do this. The subjects you have in common
are an excellent ice breaker and cut across any differences in status. In
addition, many technical people are most happy when talking about their
chosen subject. Please see Networking
- Consider joining at least
one professional engineering institutions (please see section on Professional Engineering Institutions).
Select ones which are representative of your technical discipline and also
your industry sector. The organisation will almost definitely publish a
journal, probably a traditional engineering magazine, as well as a digital version
available on-line. Make an effort to read it – institution publications are
an invaluable source of keeping up to date. Why not get involved in some
of the events and activities to extend your networking circle.
technical and industry journals and engineering magazines (more later). These
publications supply a wealth of information and subscription is often
free. Typically, completion of an online form is all you need to
a simple folder system to capture
information relevant to you. Follow this straightforward idea to
rapidly get the info you require from journals, and so stop the build-up
of a pile of engineering magazines on the corner of your desk:
you get a engineering magazine and have 60 seconds, quickly go through it page-by-page.
Turn the top left hand corner of any sheet with a headline or feature
that interests you.
you have more time, get a pen and speed-read
the pages you’ve highlighted. Use the pen to circle or cross-hatch
paragraphs or phrases of interest. Make notes or comments applicable to
you and your projects. Then scribble the page number on the front cover.
through the engineering magazine covering each page of interest in this way. Using
this method you can cover pages as and when you have a spare moment or
the whole magazines if you have the time. Breaking down your journal pile
in bite-sized-chunks like this makes it far more manageable (and less
likely to simply be thrown away and therefore potentially missing out on
the useful information inside).
complete use a knife and quickly, yet carefully, cut the pages out you’ve
marked up. The list of pages on the front cover speeds this up.
add the pages into a lever-arch folder. You may want to place the pages
in (used?) plastic wallets to protect them.
- Get organised and develop
a simple method of storing and accessing useful digital information. This is likely to consist of product and
service literature and interesting articles applicable to your work. Files
will automatically be stored in alpha-numeric order so data is easy to search
- Create a digital folder. Copy and paste articles on blank
Microsoft Word pages, before storing them as files within the folder.
Also download PDFs and other digital flyers in your folder.
- Pro actively use the internet to discover more about industry
news and trends. Not only is the web the quickest and most convenient
method of speedily obtaining interesting information, data can also be
copied and pasted into your own files to form an on-line technical
- Use both your digital
and lever-arch folders for reference material for future work, including
projects, research and decision making.
- For reports or business cases, get in the habit of making
qualified statements backed up with quotable credible sources. Your reference
folders give you that information source at hand. It complements the more
general web-searches we all have access to, providing a more targeted specific source of information, relevant to your particular
business, role and career development.
Next... Distinct Career Advantages
of Reading Widely - Magazines
Back to Your Career Management
Based on your experience, what’s the Single Best Piece of Advice you’ve heard for a Great Engineering Career?
Have you had an inspirational coach, mentor or manager? Knowing what you know now, what’s the single most effective piece of advice you’d give to a young engineer coming through now?