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How to be a successful geotechnical engineer

How to be a successful geotechnical engineer

How to be a successful geotechnical engineer

(OP)
I am a geotechnical engineer but not a successful one. I have a MS degree and just got my PE recently, which obviously didn't help much in how I feel about myself doing my work. I found that Geotechnical engineering is always challenging. Not much codes to follow, a lot of analysis instead of design, requires a lot of understanding in details instead of just in general. I've been working for 2 years now and still struggle, still couldn't handle projects on my own. I've been trying to study by myself and has been learning a lot. Still, I found that I know way less than what I needed. I am a hard worker. I feel I need more efficient ways to study, or need to know what I need to study. What was learned in school was not enough. Any opinions on how to be sucessful in geotechnical engineering? Thank you.

RE: How to be a successful geotechnical engineer

I get the impression that you didn't know what you were getting into and, now that you do know, you're completely overwhelmed. I think you need to ask yourself if Geo-technical engineering is where you really want to be. If it is, then find yourself a good mentor and learn all that you can from them. Book learning is good, practical experience is great.

Jeff Mirisola, CSWE
My Blog

RE: How to be a successful geotechnical engineer

Your story sounds like you do not have very good supervision. Mentors are needed for this field early on and they need to be easy to work with. However, depending too much on them also is not so hot. Maybe sitting down with them and explaining as you did in the post will help some. Personality factors also may be present. Yours may be more a matter of communication improvement (both ways) than engineering methods. You stated one obvious fact...The courses usually are not sufficient to allow you to jump in there and do every job properly. Few professors or instructors are experienced sufficiently to pass on all you need out there. Do you get to follow the jobs in construction where changes may be needed in the recommendations, etc. or verifying the work is being done right? Getting your boots muddy and some grubby work is part of the job usually. Have you had to figure out why compaction is not being met, or if that is really needed, as an example of some grubby work.

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