Why is professional registration a good step in your engineering career?

September 23, 2019










Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel (unsplash.com/@ripato)


By: Mohammed Tageldin Y.

Yesterday, while on a train, I was with some of my colleagues who work on a mega project, wondering about train designs. It was rush hour, and the train was full of travellers, on the seats and standing in the carriage. As electrical engineers, we imagined how a group of engineers, from different disciplines, would come to the table for a definite length of time, and decide about optimising this train’s design while making sure it is fit for running over the years, quite often carrying loads beyond its seating capacity. Put simply, that must have not been an easy challenge to overcome, and that is one of the reasons engineering as a career is exciting and meaningful. Almost everywhere you look, you will find a solution for a problem that was solved for us by an engineer.

Engineers play the most critical role to achieve success on projects, help maintaining our present existence, and building our world’s future. But should every engineer pursue professional registration? To try and find an answer to this question, we must first define what professional registration or chartership conveys. From the outset, qualifying as a professionally registered engineer means that your professional status and experience have been assessed against the standard for professional engineering competence. It is a group of guidelines and steps that set the standard for the practice of the engineering profession.

We then would need to think about what makes an engineer competent? A competent person is a professional who has the ability, necessary attributes and skills to successfully and safely carry out the work. Education, knowledge, experience and training are main prerequisites. In the UK standard from the Engineering Council, this is outlined in five generic areas of:

  • Knowledge and understanding,
  • Design and development of processes, systems and products,
  • Responsibility, management or leadership,
  • Communication and inter-personal skills,
  • Professional commitment.

Being professionally registered then really means that you have demonstrated you have the competence and commitment towards the profession and ultimately the society. You are considered fit and trustworthy to undertake the job or task, observing health, safety, ethics, sustainability and the preserving of the environment, while also committed to continuously keeping your knowledge and skillset up to date in a way that serves the purpose of our profession, reflecting on the services, products and solutions we deliver.

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel (unsplash.com/@ripato)

Being not professionally registered does not mean one is not a good engineer. Far from it. But every good engineer will naturally have experience undertaking the above. Every good engineer is a continuous demonstration of knowledge and understanding of their assignment. An engineer works to deliver a system or a product within a process. Some influence the process outlining their tasks and jobs. We all communicate, and our level of achievement depends on our professional commitment towards continuous development and improvement. It is the nature of our job.

The answer to the first question then, whether every engineer should pursue professional registration, is: why not? Every engineer should pursue professional registration because the essence of our job entails we probably have majority of the prerequisites ticked off at a certain level. Professional registration has levels, and this helps provide a framework for everyone to identify their competence level at a certain point in their career and then effectively plan and work to reach the next level in their competence.

For some it has proven better employability, more recognition, higher remuneration, etc… Some employers insist it is a condition for certain roles. For me, professional registration is about taking control of my engineering career and identify which areas I need to improve on and strive to develop in these areas, naturally advancing to the next level.

Often, our responses are: ‘but I don’t feel I am ready now…’ or ‘I don’t believe I am there yet’, the answer to that would be: no point in waiting. Take it one step at a time and start now with familiarising yourself with the different levels of professional registration and the guidelines. You would be surprised how many of these areas you have already achieved, how not difficult it is to continue to accomplish the rest and that, usually, it is just a matter of articulating your experiences and achievements.

Article on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-professional-registration-good-step-your-engineering-y-/

[The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this text belong solely to the author and not necessarily to the author’s employer or any other group or organisation.]