6 Top AEC Skills to Master in 2021

Here are the top AEC skills your team should master:

  1. Computational design
  2. Cloud-based collaboration
  3. Mixed reality (VR/AR)
  4. Digital twins
  5. Collaborative BIM design
  6. Communication & storytelling

Let’s dig into these top AEC skills and why they’re important for organizations to hone in on in the coming months.

Computational design

Computational design leverages the power of technology to aid the design process. Designers use tools including Dynamo, Rhino, Grasshopper, and others to create high-quality designs much faster than would otherwise be possible. 

One specific advantage of computational design is its potential to automate menial daily tasks.

“As more computational tools and applications are introduced into projects, AEC professionals need to exploit automation to shorten task duration and reduce potential for human error,” says Don Quinn, Civil Technology Manager at Eagle Point. “Visual programming opens up vast opportunities to reduce the time and effort that is required for repetitive tasks, without having to be a computer programmer.”

In addition to making individual jobs easier, computational design’s efficiency is a boon at the company level. As Business Development Specialist Tiffany Willard points out, “This skill will not only produce better designs, but you’ll come to a final design faster, thus saving the company time and delivering higher profit margins on projects. Not to mention winning new and/or more work!”

Cloud-based collaboration

Whether teams are working from the same office or remotely, they can all work together with the power of the cloud. “With COVID changing how we work and interact, team members need to be versed with cloud-based tools to effectively and efficiently communicate with colleagues and project stakeholders,” says Quinn.

Pinnacle Series can serve as your organization’s hub for cloud-based collaboration, thanks to its robust features allowing custom internal content, workgroups specific to teams or projects, external users so teams can loop in subcontractors, and more. The platform can be where collaborators go for a “single source of truth” to stay informed about your organization’s best practices, projects, and workflows.

Mixed reality (VR/AR/XR)

Virtual reality (and its cousins augmented reality and extended reality) aren’t just for futuristic video games these days. They’re heavily highlighted in the Top 2021 Trends e-book, which pulls insights from interviews with a collection of AEC experts and innovators. Mixed reality is particularly exciting when it comes to design and modeling, with the potential to bring projects to life before a user’s very eyes. The report also highlights the use of VR environments for job training so that new employees can get used to complex work environments or expensive equipment without the risks of something going wrong.

Digital twins

Speaking of using physical objects in a virtual setting, digital twins are another exciting concept that makes this possible. In short, a digital twin is a detailed virtual model of a real physical object. The model is based on precise data that records how the object moves and operates in the real world.

Digital twins allow engineers, manufacturing professionals, and other AEC team members to test and optimize a product or process without actually needing to use expensive physical devices for the tests. Professionals who know how to build and work with digital twins will have a good head start.

Collaborative BIM design

Many AEC professionals are already familiar with BIM (Building Information Modeling) and its power to create beautiful, information-rich project models. It’s part of the larger push toward interactive digital environments enabling better collaboration among teams.

Eagle Point’s Building Technology Manager Chad Close sees opportunities for teams to work more efficiently by gaining familiarity with the various BIM 360 Design project workflows.

“Understanding the differences between workflows permits the entire design team to have an organized, controlled exchange of information during the design phase of a project, which leads to a greater degree of success: i.e. less time wasted, less confusion, better coordination,” Close says. You can train your team with our BIM 360 Design Collaboration courses in Pinnacle Series.

Communication & storytelling

There are plenty of technical skills on this list, but soft skills matter just as much! “The art of storytelling is a skill that is often overlooked,” says Willard. “It’s one thing to have a great idea, but another to have the ability to sell that idea to your manager or the C-Suite. Good initiatives fall flat for lack of buy-in from your teams, or never see the light of day because your leadership fails to see benefits. Harness the skill of storytelling and see where it will take you!”

If you’re a current Pinnacle Series user, log in now to check out learning resources made by AEC professionals to help your team tackle the top AEC skills for 2021.

New to Pinnacle Series? Schedule a demo with us today to learn how your teams can use Pinnacle Series for on-demand answers as well as long-term learning.


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