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Graduating from university with flying marks is still an important prerogative, but your academic successes are not always enough. Nowadays, employers and the job market are on the hunt for candidates that can demonstrate a wide array of qualities.

What does this mean for aspiring engineers? What do professionals in the making need in order to stand out in their sector? Here, we take a look at some of the hard and soft skills that project leaders of the (near) future should possess.

Communication and cooperation

Communication is the vital piece that completes a complex puzzle. With several operations happening at the same time, managers and project leaders should be able to create bridges within their teams. This allows tasks and activities to be completed smoothly.

In this respect, future engineers will need to get acclimate themselves to modern ways of communicating with fellow colleagues. With a range of modern devices at our disposal, project leaders will need to communicate messages in a concise fashion via innovative channels. Transparent and clear communication is an artful skill, and paying attention to what’s going on around you is a crucial quality to have as well.

Digital and technological abilities

It is no secret that technology is constantly expanding its barriers. Learning how to make the most of digital equipment is an excellent asset for project leaders to possess – especially in an increasingly digitalised world.

Nurturing an interest in technology will provide you with more than one ace up your sleeve. Of course, you won’t be expected to be a master in programming or computer coding. However, project leaders will benefit immensely from embracing innovative tools and exploring their infinite features.

So why not give technology a go and get some digital skills under your belt? As a future manager, you can take advantage of several innovative tools, such as commissioning software and other useful equipment.

Management skills

Solid management skills are another vital trait to exhibit. Want to climb the ladder and become a project leader? You will have to demonstrate that you have the ability to manage a budget, a team, deadlines, and possible risks.

A project leader has a responsibility to unite their team and get them working towards the same goal, while also helping them pursue their personal ambitions. Team management requires strong dedication, starting from peer coaching to growth evaluation.

It is also fundamental to keep finances and budgets in check. In fact, expenses, plans to control costs, and potential risks should be revised and monitored on a regular basis. Therefore, project leaders need to show both their competence and experience to identify potential mishaps, setting up suitable strategies when required.

Last but certainly not least, time management is an essential factor too. Deadlines can often be tight, and numerous tasks might need to be completed in a limited amount of time. In this respect, a true project leader has the ability to determine a sound timeline and make sure all duties are taken care of in a punctual manner.

Flexibility and adaptability

As artificial intelligence evolves, technology progresses, and work schedules mutate, future managers and project leaders need to be flexible and ready to adapt to change.

How can you enhance your adaptability skills? Embrace new adventures, gain new knowledge, and journey out of your comfort zone. This will truly help you learn how to manage unfamiliar or unexpected situations. If a sudden problem arises in the workplace, you will have the skills to adapt and respond to the situation with confidence.

Empathy and emotional intelligence

Finally, employers are increasingly on the search for candidates with soft, emotional skills. Practical abilities, of course, are essential – but an empathetic project leader will always keep fellow colleagues on their side. From taking an interest in their team’s well-being to building a sense of unity, emotional intelligence is becoming a crucial attribute to possess.

Offering your team members some all-important emotional support can boost the chance of success of a project. What’s more, getting to know your colleagues on a personal level can help to develop a collaborative, trusting, and inspiring environment. It is fair to say that it is an extremely valuable asset to have.

To keep in step with times, employees are now asked to enrich their skillsets. But what are the qualities of a future project leader? From a flexible attitude to cooperative and digital abilities, there are several skills that will truly make you shine in the engineering world.