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I'M AN

ENGINERE

ENGENERE

ENGENEER

I'm good

with maths.

WHY WRITING FOR

UNIVERSITY IS

DIFFERENT FROM

WRITING IN INDUSTRY

- THE THINGS THEY

FORGET TO TELL YOU

One of the comments that we get most often on feedback

forms after people have attended one of our courses is 'I wish

I'd been taught this during my education'. Some Universities

are now running specialist workshops for skills required in

industry, such as Project Management and Technical Writing,

but only a few.

If you think about the aim of writing during your education,

it's predominantly to prove to the teacher how much research

you have done and how much you have learned. This is why

you are encouraged to write detailed, comprehensive reports

with lots of relevant references.

When you take your first job in industry, the chances are you

have just graduated with a good degree, of which a large part

will have been your final year thesis. You then have a mindset that says 'This is what a good report looks like, because

I've just got a good mark for it'. However, in industry they are

employing you for the knowledge you have and do not need

it all to be referenced back to published sources. They need

you to communicate your findings clearly and succinctly. This

means that your report must be easy and quick to read and

the reader easily gets your key message, the significance of

your findings and your recommendations for future work. Your

reader should not have to work hard to interpret what you have

written. The key points should leap off the page to your reader.

IT'S EASY TO IMPROVE

YOUR WRITING SKILLS

- YOU JUST HAVE TO

WANT TO!

As the picture above shows, it has long been a joke

that engineers can't spell. Whilst this is a sweeping

generalisation, there is more than a grain of truth in it.

If you think back to your early school career, people who went

on to be engineers tended to be the children who were busy

making things, taking things to pieces, doing experiments

and calculations. They were not usually the children writing

essays and sitting quietly in the corner lost in a book. Quite

early on you may have preferred and developed your practical

and mathematical skills and not worked on your writing skills.

Now, as a professional engineer you have to recognise

that you must develop your writing, spelling, grammar etc.

but it will take a bit of effort because these are skills that

you may have not used or refreshed for a number of years.

Changing your mind-set is the first step and then 'conscious

incompetence' (becoming aware of what you don't know) is

the next step. That's where our training courses come in.

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