You have one of those minds that likes to tinker and understand how things work. From a young age, you were always tearing things apart to figure out what makes them tick. To the surprise of everyone else around you, you were just as savvy at putting these objects and machines back together again. You were not the type of person who had screws missing or left over after such projects, either. Your mind is methodical like that and can remember steps. You even did well in mathematics and physics in high school.
Now, you are looking to do something serious with all that knowledge. After thinking about your options for a while, you’ve started to think that maybe a career in civil engineering would be the right fit for your skill set. While there is more to getting a good-paying civil engineering job than simply wanting to be an engineer, knowing what you want to do with your life is a big step in the right direction. But, how do you go about becoming the engineer you were always interested in becoming?
Schooling is Critical
As with any serious career, you will need the necessary education to prepare you for work in the engineering field. For this reason, a degree in civil engineering will take you far and make it possible for you to earn money doing something you genuinely enjoy. In many cases, you may want to look into schools famous for their technological research as opposed to schools that take a bigger focus on liberal arts. Public state schools are also a good choice, as most of them will be rather balanced with that programs they have and fund.
The best route for obtaining your Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering is attending a school accredited through the organization known as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). You should also complete the other steps for licensure. These include passing the fundamentals of engineering (FE) exam, obtaining four years engineering experience, and then passing the principles and practice of engineering exam. So, when you check out degree programs from different institutions, you will want to settle on the program that you believe will provide you with the best experience and skill sets for the kind of engineering work you are interested in doing, so look for curriculums who set you up in internships with actual civil engineers and work on projects that will improve your immediate environment.
Civil engineering is particularly satisfying as they often work on our roads, buildings, airpots, and railways. But it’s also a higher pressure position because all of these things are a point of interactions with thousands upon thousands of people. Make sure to take your career path seriously.
Speak with Engineers
While classroom learning is a great way to be introduced to the concepts inherent in the engineering field, it is perhaps easier to gain real-world insights from someone who is already working as a civil engineer. Such individuals can give you a heads up on what to study, what kind of competition you will be up against, and what kinds of things will be expected of you on the job.
Other important insights an engineer that can share with you are mistakes they have made along the way. By knowing what problems to avoid, this will help you not only be prepared for an engineering career, but it will also help you to avoid pitfalls that may work against your ability to advance at a quicker pace. To start meeting engineers around you, be sure to check out meet-up sites to see if there are any interesting groups that can place you in the same room with other engineers. Additionally, you can see what any local engineering programs have going on in their programs to go and socialize. If you’re not yet in any kind of engineering program, maybe reach out to your family or friends to see if anyone knows any engineers that they can get you in touch with.
Work on Projects in Your Spare Time
Good engineers should be up on new approaches to solving mechanical problems, and this involves research outside of the classroom. Actually, knowing how to overcome and troubleshoot mechanical, electrical, and other physical-based problems with machinery or structures is a big part of being competent as an engineer. While some of these problems can be covered in books and other materials, the best troubleshooters learn by doing.
It is when you get into a mess with fixing a broken road system or building a structure that you really start to learn what works and what does not work. Without this experience, you may lack intuition once you’re on the job. Plus, constantly challenging your mind by working on new and difficult engineering problems is a great way to help you stay on the cutting edge of your craft.
Try Mentoring Others
As you gain skills as a civil engineer, it never hurts to take on students to give yourself practice explaining technical ideas. Once you learn to take advanced concepts and make them understandable to the average person, your mentoring skills will serve to increase your competence all around. Plus, the experience you will gain doing this will help you be more confident when you go for an interview. After you land a job as an engineer, your experience as a mentor may also provide you with the skills needed to convey your approach to other engineers, your employer, and potential clients.
After weighing all the pros and cons of becoming an engineer, you will probably have a better indication of whether or not this is the right field for you to go into. If you decide that an engineering career is right for you, then you know what you need to do to make that a reality. Sure, there will be a lot of hard work ahead of you, but it is hard work that will lead to both a fulfilling and lucrative career when you finally find a job. In addition, you’ll be involved in a career that is dedicated to creating technologies that make life easier.
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