More often than not, the career plans of engineers are only made inside their minds. They are almost never written or stated explicitly, which lacks the opportunity and convenience in checking if the current status of employment is in line with the career goals.
For engineers to be able to plan effectively for their future, establish a direction for career growth, and take responsibility for their career paths, they need to have a Personal Development Plan or PDP.
What is this exactly?
A Personal Development Plan is a structured tool in creating an action plan based on an individual’s learning, performance & achievements, to plan for his or her personal, professional and educational development. Its primary purpose is to help employees, like engineers, to reach short- and long-term career goals as well as improve current job performance.
It has be written in print or stored digitally, whichever is convenient. Because the PDP has to be constantly reviewed and updated since it is a lifelong process of guiding the engineers’ career.
Photo via Civil Service Blog, UK Government
There are four critical areas of importance that can be found in a PDP. Here are those listed below:
What goals are you aiming for?
The most basic aspect of all PDPs is the statement of goals, which is the first step. Without this, it’s fairly difficult to have a strategic plan and make career decisions along the way.
Goal statement requires an honest analysis of oneself. For engineers, this means that they should have a vision of what they want to do in the future, and which goals are considered short, medium, and long term.
Weigh in on your current situation
Where are you now as an engineering professional? This question asks engineers to identify their key competencies, skills to develop, and resources available. To be able to establish the current situation helps in strategizing.
A concrete actionable plan
This step is where engineers are needed to put into details what needs to be done to achieve career goals. Activities like completing trainings, choosing employers, looking for other sources of income, and even planning family life, among others, are done in this stage. A concrete action plan should come with a reasonable timescale depending on objectives.
Review your progress
After a considerable time, engineers should go back to their PDPs and check whether the goals have been met and action plans have been executed. The PDP has to be reviewed constantly if engineers want a much more secure career in the future.
Source: Top Universities