The paper deals with the problem of teaching engineering undergraduate and graduate students of SPBPU academic writing skills in English. Although students were taught writing being at school both in native and foreign languages most of them show poor skills at university. Comparison of the requirements for competence in this type of speech activity at secondary school in Russian and foreign languages, as well as in foreign languages at SPBPU is given. Students’ estimation of their writing skills was obtained through the questionnaire. The research showed that it differs from objective assessment of the actual level of writing competence in a foreign language. The observation of problems in teaching engineering students academic writing skills is presented. One of the hindering factors is taking for granted the continuity in teaching a foreign language declared by Federal State Educational Standards (FSES) of Russia. The practice of teaching at University level makes us state that it is not always achieved, which is especially true for writing skills in a foreign language students demonstrate. We will consider what can be done within the University course for engineering students to bridge this gap and develop students’ writing skills.