Career Path Dilemma - General Engineering - Engineer Boards
Jump to content
Engineer Boards

​ ​ ​

Career Path Dilemma

Recommended Posts

(This is a repost from the introduction section. Thought this section might able to generate more responses!)

Hi everyone,

Its great to know that there is a forum for Engineers to seek help as well as help others. 
Here is my "life crisis" if anyone is willing interested in helping me out. Its going to be a long read so bear with me. 

So I am a recent graduate with a B.S. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Structural Engineering in May 2018. Right out of college, I really wanted to start working and make money due to the fact that I was burnt out from school and studying. I graduated with decent grades, had about a 3.1 GPA and was out of luck when it came to job hunting. I decided that taking the FE exam and obtaining my E.I.T. certification would help my job prospects. This decision helped me and I was able to receive many responses from companies. 
Here's my problem. I recently just accepted a job working as a Civil Design Engineer at a top Civil Engineering Firm. The pay is alright, however I am working in the Land Development Team. My initial goal was to work in design, however I wanted to work as a Design Engineer in Structural Engineering. My goal was/is to work at a firm that focuses on Buildings (hoping to one day work on high rises/ skyscrapers). My dilemma is that I do not know how I should go about with my career path. The industry that I am in currently is not bad, but it isn't what I obviously wanted to do.

I am wondering if I should keep working professionally and pursue the P.E. license (which will take 3-4 years). But by the time I have my license, I may have as well given up on the dream in going into Structural Engineering.
Keep going for the P.E. license and then go to grad school for Structural Engineering after obtaining the license. However, I do not know if the license will help me in the structural engineering industry. (Sorry I do not know much about these details)
Work for a year or two and then go to grad school for Structural Engineering. And then go and pursue a license. I am not particularly interested in this option because I personally believe it might just be a waste of my year or two.

I understand that to become a Structural Engineer is probably one of the hardest career paths to take as there are so many obstacles that I would have to cross, so I am also considering whether or not it would be worth the extra effort to pursue. 
Looking for practical answers.

Thank you

The Real Human :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your story sounds eerily similar. I had good grades coming out of college and wanted to stay in the area in spite of the low paying opportunities and the high cost of living. Because of this, I took the first job that came my way, which was Surveying with the promise to move forward into Land Development. After about 6 months, the only structural engineering company in town came knocking after some turnover. This was the only way to get some structural experience without going back to school. I gave my two weeks and started with the structural engineering company. 

I had a friend there that took me under his wing and and showed me the ropes. The work was totally different from what I had just been doing (90% of surveying is outdoors and 90% of structural engineering is in front of a screen). To make the story short, it didn't work out and we parted ways. 

I ended up looking for a job for about 3 months and was lucky enough to find a similar situation with another Land Development firm. There I was Surveying again. This time I stuck with it. I have since received my PE and have been promoted to project manager. I have learned so much and have had the opportunity to do so many different tasks that I can't imagine doing anything else. Grading, Drainage, Drinking Water, Septic Design, Sewer Design, Landscape Design, Roadways, LID and Other Stormwater Treatement 

I manage my own projects and sometimes I get to to choose the structural subcontractors now. If there is an aspect of a project that needs attention, I get to problem solve. I would say that a great deal of my time is design related, whereas in the small structural firm, I would say 75% was analysis, 25% design, and hardly any project management. 

Ultimately I depends on what you want to do, but in my experience Land Development is pretty cool. I will say this subset of Civil is people heavy. If you find it hard to communicate complex ideas to people who do not have the same background as you, you should look elsewhere.

Hope this helps.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...