Like any field, a successful non-destructive evaluation (NDE) career encompasses a range of skill sets. But, while a working understanding of math and science principles are a must, NDE includes a number of traits that they simply don’t teach in school.
Here are some qualities of successful NDE engineers and technicians.
Understand that it’s all about people.
Regardless of industry, type, or size, – all businesses, organizations, or institutions are all about people. The ability to interact with co-workers and customers is essential. The truth is, you’re not going to like everyone you work with. And when it comes to dealing with those outside the walls of your company, remember, you’re not only representing yourself, but you are also the face of the company and must always act professionally.
Have a genuine willingness to learn.
Most companies are willing to hire good, honest people who share their ethics and values. With this foundation and common ground, new employees can be taught the ins and outs of equipment usage, data collection, analysis, and test applications.
NDE is an evolving science that includes many different testing methods, tools, and applications. Even long-time industry veterans must keep up on new technologies and emerging best practices. Those who embrace continuous learning are well on their way to a successful NDE career.
Embrace the details.
Even the smallest details are critical when collecting data and performing tests. And the slightest variances can jeopardize structural integrity and human safety. It’s important to thoroughly understand and follow the test plan including all protocol, steps, and procedures.
Be a problem solver.
Few tests will proceed exactly as planned. NDE technicians often face challenges with any job. This could include changes to schedules, uncomfortable conditions, modifications to the test, and so on. The ability to adapt, improvise, and solve problems is an absolute necessity in this field.
Learn to think critically.
Critical thinking is the analysis of data, facts, evidence, and observations to form an accurate and objective judgement. This is important when analyzing the results of an NDE test. NDE technicians must observe the integrity of the product, measure its stability, and communicate it with clarity and precession.
Know how to communicate at all levels.
As an NDE technician, you’re often working with customers who may not understand NDE testing, processes, and technologies to the level that you do. In such cases you’ll have to communicate sometimes highly technical information in a manner that is clearly understood by a lay person.
Leave your ego at home.
Many NDE companies are smaller businesses where employees are expected to perform multiple tasks. In addition to NDE duties, this could include some administrative, customer support, sales or other duties related to day-to-day business activities.
If you expect to only work 8-hour days or believe that such tasks are below your pay grade, then you should probably seek a career at a fortune 500 company.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Regardless of experience or technical aptitude, most people have what it takes for a successful NDE career. Much of it boils down to common sense, a good work ethic, and a drive to get things done. If you possess these core traits and are willing to learn then NDE could be a great fit for you and your employer.