Skip navigation

What makes great engineers?

What makes a great engineer? What makes them able to innovate and invent? What qualities enable them to have such a positive impact on the world?

Great engineers have a unique mix of qualities

Engineers have a unique mix of qualities that make them stand out from the crowd. Many students reading this page will already have them – yes, maybe you were born to be an engineer, and a great one at that.

The greatest inventions in the world simply wouldn't have happened without engineers. Jet engines, railways, cars, computers, smart phones, the internet, 3D-printing etc. – they needed special people to create them. They needed great engineers.

But what makes a great engineer? What is it that makes them able to innovate and invent? What qualities enable them to have such a positive impact on the world?

Renishaw is a world leader in engineering, employing 100's of engineers in the UK. Here's what we believe are the characteristics students have that help make them into a great engineer:


You'll also be pretty good at maths as well. You'll like doing calculations and solving mathematical problems – let's face it you're good with numbers.


It's not though all about science and maths either, far from it. Great engineers have a very good imagination and are creative too. You need to come up with ideas, new products, systems and processes.


Of course, whatever kind of engineering you're interested in, accuracy is very important. Gadgets, machines and vehicles don't work if a component part doesn't do its job properly. So you'll be good with detail, a perfectionist even.


You're interested in technical things. You like to understand how things work and enjoy fixing them. At school you're enjoying the sciences, particularly physics. You like to make things, electronic circuits perhaps, machines, Lego creations. Maybe you enjoy software coding.

Problem solver

You'll also need to be able to analyse a problem, think things through in a structured, logical order, cover all the angles, and arrive at the best technical solution.


You also like learning and expanding your knowledge. You always like to know more about the latest technology and gadgets. You want to be an expert.

Team player and communicator

You're not just good with numbers either, you're good with words. You'll enjoy working in a team, communicating your ideas and listening to others. You like working with people.

Our Chairman

Sir David McMurtry

A brilliant innovator, Sir David McMurtry is recognised globally for his contributions to aerospace, industrial measurement and factory automation. He is renowned for his lateral thinking and capacity to deal with engineering concepts from multiple disciplines.

Find out more about some of the UK's most recognised engineers