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Soma0013

Thoughts!

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Curious what peolle think of my situation. I'm looking at taking the Geo PE exam in April of 2020. I have little ecperience in thi is topic and only have class experience in Transportation..

Do othets have this where their boss constantly doesn't teaxh them or hire them for jobs not talked about. Yes I've worked at several companies and all the same. I'm thinking the obly way to get out is to study hardcore and take the PE and hope/pray.

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Geotechnical is fairly difficult - what do you actually do day in day out?

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Are you saying that you are being asked to do geotech work and not getting any assistance in learning it?  I have not had the experience where I am not taught or told about the things I am expected to do. And geotech is tough - a lot of people who practive geotech every day have trouble with the exam.  

 

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I worked at a bridge firm and taught myself how to design bridges with no assistance, so yeah it happens, but speak up for yourself about what your expectations/needs are, or it seems where you're at nobody will do anything about it. 

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I haven't yet taken the exam, so you may need to take my thoughts with a grain of salt. In my preparations for the Geotechnical depth exam this fall, I've gathered that the test developers really want to test your knowledge of the underlying concepts, both in the form of conceptual questions and quantitative questions that are easy to get wrong if you don't understand the nuances of the subject matter. For someone who has little (or even quite a bit) of experience in the subject, it can be very difficult.

I would add that if you're looking to break into geotechnical engineering, preparing for the exam would give you a chance to learn some portion of the skills you'd need. It would also give you something (not necessarily that much, but something) that would make you a more attractive candidate for geotechnical jobs. However, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter which exam depth you take, as long as you pass. If you're looking to break into geotech, I would say take geotechnical depth. If that's not the case, I'd answer @Road Guy's question and do whatever he recommends. 😁

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19 minutes ago, tj_PE said:

I worked at a bridge firm and taught myself how to design bridges with no assistance, so yeah it happens, but speak up for yourself about what your expectations/needs are, or it seems where you're at nobody will do anything about it. 

Are bridges still tested by having the Bridge Designer, Bridge Constructor, and Government Contracting Official stand under the bridge while loaded dump trucks are driven overhead?  If there is an issue, then those responsible will not make the same mistake twice. 

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It sounds like you have worked in some bad environments. Have you spoken up for yourself, asking questions and explaining that you want to learn?

I've probably had 10 bosses throughout my 15 year career (3 companies, but 8 different roles mostly due to lots of cross-training early in my career, plus a couple of reorganizations) and only twice did I have a boss who wasn't willing to teach. And that wasn't because they didn't want to; they were just too busy. But they would at least point me to someone else who could teach me. One of a manager's primary jobs should be to develop the talent on his or her team. If that's not happening where you work, I'd look for something better. I'd also worry about the long-term viability of the organization.

Regarding taking the PE exam. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  (1) I know nothing about Geotech. (2) Everyone is different. I don't think I could have passed the ME exam without the years of on-the-job learning, but other people can study the book and teach themselves everything. Are you a good independent learner? a good test taker? Are you willing to spend $1000 - $2000 on taking a PE class? Will your company pay for it? All important questions that you need to figure out the answer to.

Edited by jean15paul
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 Thanks for the above comments/questions.

 

For my first company I was hired to do entry level engineering Under one  (only one there) PE at the company,  where all I had time to do was draft what he threw on my desk, yes I tried to teach myself and asked questions but never really got an answer other than just make the changes I said, 1.5 years. For my second I was hired for the entry to engineering , but both engineers hired under false pretenses in my mind for sending me out to survey on my first day and never doing engineering. I brought up the fact that I'm willing to learn and work inside the office, which lead to  doing basic subdivisions with splitting up land and adding houses, streets, underground piping, detention ponds, rain gardens, pretty much general civil of everything, but still required to survey everyday. While looking for new work was laid off  again 1.5 year. Third company was doing soil testing and identifying for an engineering/construction firm 8 months. to Currently where I'm again doing subdivisions above and more in depth geotechnical work.  The problem I'm looing at now is at my current company we don't do half of what's on the PE depth Exam, keep in mind I recently looked this up and came here.  Looing at the other exams, Structures is not happening, construction maybe the first sections or two, Hydro is 2-3 sections, transportation and geo I feel the 3-5 sections in the PM depth Exam. I also don't think waiting more time for experience will help 1. because my company doesn't cover all the topics. and 2. in order to get to those jobs you must have experience in them already.

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It's not often that someone's job will make them familiar with everything that the PE exam in a certain discipline will cover. I'd say your best bet might be to go with what you feel you are most comfortable with and most comfortable learning, keeping in mind that you are not familiar with everything required. Based on what you posted. this sounds to me like either the geotechnical or the construction exam. but I wouldn't say that either is particularly "easy" per say.

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I am 90% through the construction depth review with a prep course and I have over 15 years of PM/CM experience. I don't think your experience is a good fit for the construction depth. I would go with geotechnical if I were you. You completed soil material testing and you completed some underground utility design work so to me, that's a better fit for preparing for the geotechnical exam. 

I've found my onsite experience to be very helpful with preparing for construction depth so far. I haven't sat for the exam yet, but I can definitely see how the hands on experience can be a huge asset to anyone preparing for the exam.

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