A new whitepaper from Airbus has outlined the changing role of the aerospace engineer, what Airbus is looking for in its future employees and how it plans to achieve this.

Airbus says the following skills are increasingly important in its engineers:

  • Digital competencies including advanced analytics and big data, cloud and as a service platforms, mobility, etc.
  • Innovation
  • Systems thinking
  • Design thinking
  • Entrepreneurial thinking
  • Cybersecurity skills
  • Skills related to virtual/augmented reality

Flatter hierarchies

The report notes: “Today, engineers are required to collaborate more and work together in flatter hierarchies, uncertainty, and complex environments. Airbus engineers will need to start to ‘think statistically, not deterministically’, have more interdisciplinary training, and be able to learn continuously.”

It adds: “At Airbus, it is important that engineers have not only deep technical competencies and a broader range of transversal and soft competencies, but also the ability to innovate.”

T-shaped to Pi-shaped

This combination, it says, takes what is traditionally called a ‘T-shaped’ engineer and turns it into a ‘Pi-shaped’ engineer.

T-shaped is a metaphor used to describe an individual’s competencies, where the vertical bar of the ‘T’ represents depth of knowledge and skills in a particular field, and the horizontal bar represents knowledge and understanding of other disciplines and how these interact with the T-shaped person’s own discipline.

Extending this ‘T’ to ‘π’ means engineers are additionally able to work effectively with all business functions, in particular innovation, marketing and sales, services, finance and procurement.

Airbus plans to continue working closely with universities to develop tomorrow’s talent, through its  Airbus Global University Partner Programme (AGUPP).

Download the whitepaper, The Engineer of the Future.

Enjoyed this post? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.