Self-Development – Constant Work on Yourself






Self-development entails activities that improve identity and awareness, develop potential and talents, facilitate employability and build human capital, contribute to the realization of aspirations and dreams and enhance quality of life (Nurmi, 2011). Not limited to self-help, the concept of self-development involves informal and formal activities for developing others in roles such as counselor, teacher, guide, life coach, or engineer. When self-development takes place in the context of engineering institutions, it refers to the programs, techniques, tools, and assessment systems that support engineering development at individual level in the institutions. Beyond improving oneself, self-development labels a field of practice and research like engineering (Nurmi, 2011). As a field of research, self-development topics appear in higher education reviews, scientific journals, and business books. As a field of practice, it includes learning programs, self-development methods, and assessment systems.

Any type of self-development whether biological, economic, political, or personal requires a framework if one wishes to ascertain whether the development actually occurred (Nurmi, 2011). An individual functions as the key judge of regression or improvement, but validation of objective improvement requires assessment using standard procedure. In Engineering, self-development frameworks may include benchmarks or goals that define strategies or plans for reaching goals, end-points, and stages that define milestones along development path, measurement of progress, and feedback system to give information of the changes.

The vectors of self-development include developing competence, managing emotions, achieving identity, and developing integrity within engineering field (Pedler, Burgoyne, & Boydell, 2013). They also include developing purpose, developing mature interpersonal relationships, and achieving autonomy and interdependence. Programs for self-development in institutions include engineering workshops, health programs, stress management, counselling, work-life balance, and time management. As an investment, self-development programs have the aim of increasing human productivity, human capital, innovation or quality or engineering services (Pedler, Burgoyne, & Boydell, 2013). Self-development also forms an element in management tools such as assessing one’s level of competency using a competency grid, self-development planning, or getting feedback from questionnaire filled in by colleagues at different levels in the engineering institution.

In conclusion, engineering is a very competitive and technical field that requires professional engineers to strengthen their skills in order to remain competitive in the market. Self-development is very important in engineering. As a professional engineer, you are recommended to understand your business, to keep your technical skills current, to find new challenges and assignments, to keep learning and improving your performance. An engineer should never stop learning new concepts in the discipline.


Nurmi, J. E. (2011). Socialization and self-development. Handbook of adolescent psychology, 2, 85-124.

Pedler, M., Burgoyne, J., & Boydell, T. (2013). A Manager’s Guide to Self-development. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

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