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How to Lead at Every Stage of Your Engineering Career

A year-by-year plan to score a leadership position in engineering

3 min read
Illustration: Gillian Blease/Getty Images
Illustration: Gillian Blease/Getty Images

While everyone’s journey is different, many freshly minted EEs dream of leading major projects, or ascending to the C-suite of a large company. If that’s your goal, engineering career experts agree there are some common milestones to aim for on the way up.

Years 1–5: Find a good place to build your technical foundation.

This stage requires patience from the striving future leader. “When you’re fresh out of school, it’s 99 percent technical work, and that’s good,” says Anthony Fasano, founder of the career training platform Engineering Management Institute, in Ridgewood, N.J. It’s also helpful to remind yourself that the best engineering managers can jump in on the technical side, Fasano says. He recommends that as you gain expertise, you should signal your interest in learning how projects work. Ask a colleague or superior about how they build budgets, or offer to collect data for a project.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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