Engineers Need More Than Technical Skills to Advance Their Careers – Doug Howard


Are you an engineer who’s struggling to build the career you want and deserve?

Doug Howard is changing mindsets, careers, and lives throughout engineering. The LinkedIn Thought Leader and YouTuber has fascinating advice for taking control of your engineering career.

In his previous life as an engineering manager, he built a 40-person department from the ground up. 

He launched his business a few years ago – shortly after getting laid off. The inspiration came while reading this thank you note from one of his direct reports:

I never told you, but the only reason I stayed all these years was you.

The way you lead us, supported me, and helped me change things about my personality…

I will owe you for the rest of my life!

While most engineering managers focus strictly on production and technical skills, Doug formulated a unique leadership style – ironically, it was shaped by his experience in toxic work environments earlier in his career.

Despite outperforming his peers, he’d get overlooked for advancement opportunities – and stuck on boring cookie-cutter projects, instead.

I ran circles around my peers, and thought it would get me ahead – but all I got was more work, overtime, and frustration

Eventually, it led to this life-changing realization…

Factors like being correct or deserving the promotion, really don’t matter if you can’t convince the other person.

The way Doug sees it, soft skills matter most – more than any technical skill – when it comes to career advancement. 

Instead of leaning on his technical skills, he learned how to leverage people skills to his advantage – which resulted in 4 promotions (over 6 years) and doubling his salary! 

I quickly noticed the full impact these skills were having in every area of my life, so I developed more ways to systematize this and take it further

As a manager, Doug realized that engineers rarely lack the technical skills needed to be successful – so it didn’t make sense for him to push his team in those areas. 

Instead, he focused on helping them grow in the areas that weren’t taught in school, and where they struggled the most – which was primarily social skills.

I don’t believe any engineer should be held back by non-engineering skills.

But many engineers are too embarrassed to admit they struggle with soft skills…

And it’s a problem because every area of your life is limited by your ability to deal with people.

In other words, technical skills are needed to do the job – but it’s difficult to be effective or advance in your role without soft skills, because at some point you’ll need to convince a decision-maker. 

And when you know how to relate to other people, win them over, earn their trust, and influence their decisions to work in your favor – it empowers you to reach your full potential!

Today, Doug helps ambitious engineers transform soft skills into their biggest strength through coaching – but you can start learning how to apply these skills today by subscribing to his YouTube channel!

Connect with Doug!





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