Whether you're an entry level worker in the construction industry or have been around for a few years, it's important to know what kinds of skills contribute to long-term success. That's because the business of building comes with a few unique qualities that make it unlike other pursuits. In no particular order, here are seven of the most essential skills for anyone interested in making a career in the field of construction.
General Mechanical and Building Knowledge
Even if you're not a licensed engineer or mechanic, having a solid background of general mechanical and building knowledge can serve as an excellent foundation for professional success. Many newcomers to the field take coursework and earn certificates in specialized areas like site maintenance, safety assurance, electrical support, and more. If you want to get a better idea of what some of the specific areas of competency are, look at a building inspector's curriculum list at any real estate website.
Coordination of Equipment, Supplies, and Work Crews
At supervisory levels, it's vital to have a firm grasp of how to coordinate multiple tasks at once, including the movement and allocation of equipment to particular locations, the distribution of supplies in a busy environment when everyone seems to want the same things simultaneously, and the assignment of work crews in the most efficient way possible.
Being at Ease with Technology
Like all other sectors of the economy, technology is rapidly making its way into the various building disciplines. There's no room for hesitancy or avoidance on the part of workers. In fact, successful candidates will feel at ease with all the technological systems, apps, devices, and programs that are already such an essential part of every project.
Ability to Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle
If you need to fill in for an absent worker during a busy work cycle and that job entails driving a vehicle on-site or off, it's essential to know how to drive stick shift trucks, cars, vans, buses, and standard construction equipment. If you're unsure how to drive manual transmission cars, you can review a helpful online guide that explains how. Plus, it explains not only how a clutch works but why it's such a crucial component of a car, whether a passenger or commercial vehicle. Knowing how to operate both automatic and stick shift vehicles make a person more versatile and valuable on any job site.
Language and Math Literacy
Outsiders often don't realize how important both mathematical and language capabilities are in the construction business. Even entry level workers need to be comfortable with intermediate levels of algebra. Supervisors need to be not only comfortable but quick with basic math and higher-level algebra in order to make all sorts of calculations about hours, wages, supplies, energy needs, and time schedules.
Oral and Written Communication Abilities
The act of building requires endless interactions between those involved with a given project. It's not a silent pursuit, by any means. In addition to possessing better-than-average writing skills, anyone aiming at success in the industry should be able to communicate verbally under stress and in an accurate way. Unlike a typical business office setting, what happens on a building site impacts the physical safety of dozens of people. Nowhere is clear, concise, complete communication more important. Workers who can express themselves in writing and through the spoken word are an asset to any project team.
A Willingness to Learn
Having an open mind about whatever the next wave of change will be is a plus. Just a decade ago, who could have predicted how the construction business would look today? Likewise, no one can say for sure that the next 10 years holds. That's perhaps the best argument for placing a premium on the willingness to learn and adapt. There's no doubt that technology, for example, will continue to make inroads into the business, as will the need for adaptability and a positive, can-do attitude.