The long-awaited fourth industrial revolution has finally come of age, bringing with it a multitude of possibilities born from cutting edge developments in technology.
Naturally, the impressive capabilities of AI have triggered fears across the industry that human workers will inevitably be replaced by their machine-intelligence counterparts.
However, while advances are certainly coming thick and fast, the best a computer can do for the time being is assist engineers in improving workflow – from planning and design through to mass-production. In fact, research has shown that demand for engineering skills in the UK could mean onboarding as many as 265,000 new recruits a year through to 2024. That is a lot of engineers.
Nevertheless, it’s true that technological innovation is set to change the nature of jobs in this fast-paced sector in the foreseeable future. But what shifts can we expect in the skills and roles organisations hire for, and how can both engineering talent and hiring managers adapt to this brave new world?
Teaching the machines
From software and structures to self-driving cars, the impact of artificial intelligence in the engineering sector alone has already proven revolutionary in assisting with ever-more complicated tasks. As more firms adopt AI technology into their design and manufacturing processes, the demand for specialist talent in the fields of physics, cognitive science, programming, statistics, probability and logic will naturally see a sharp rise.
While the role of an engineer will depend on the industry in which they operate, it will be professionals equipped with the skills to improve deep learning engines and expand the capabilities of their neural networks that firms will fight over in the future.
Communicating new insights
The onset of the digital age saw data become an inherently valuable commodity in guiding business decisions across almost every industry. One of the most exciting applications of AI within the field of engineering is machine learning, and the potential it has to analyse large swathes of performance data to quickly identify mistakes and formulate solutions.
For engineering firms working on large scale public projects, data science will soon become a highly sought-after skill as it can provide critical guidance on how well certain solutions have worked in the past and whether a project will be successful. However, in a collaborative environment made up of technical and non-technical stakeholders, the ability to communicate such insights is make or break. After all, what use is a skilled data scientist if they cannot communicate their findings to leadership?
Hiring for adaptability and creative thinking
While an understanding of how machine learning works and how best to use AI to fuel key decisions will be essential for the modern engineer, the need for soft-skills cannot be understated. Beyond technical expertise, engineers should have the foresight to conceptualize how solutions can increase efficiency, cost-effectiveness and add competitive advantage.
AI-powered tools may enhance workflow, but they will be of most use to a forward-thinking engineer who knows what they’re looking for and can adapt quickly to unforeseen problems or new environments. Only be asking the right questions will an engineer be able to truly unleash the full potential that artificial intelligence has to offer.
At Murray McIntosh, we’ve taken time to invest in our people and as a result, we now have a team of expert recruiters who are ready to help you make the most of your career. If you’re looking for your next opportunity within the engineering industry, we have a wide range of roles available below. To get in touch, call 0118 907 7580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org