## How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

## How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

(OP)

Hello,

I am an EIT with a few months of SE experience. My concern is that for some reason, I sometimes don't feel confident about my calculations or numbers even though I do recheck my numbers. Obviously, my seniors look over the results which really helps with the confidence. So, how long did it take you to be confident of your calculations and/or design? and how long did it take you to finish up work with no questions asked to your seniors?

Kind regards,

I am an EIT with a few months of SE experience. My concern is that for some reason, I sometimes don't feel confident about my calculations or numbers even though I do recheck my numbers. Obviously, my seniors look over the results which really helps with the confidence. So, how long did it take you to be confident of your calculations and/or design? and how long did it take you to finish up work with no questions asked to your seniors?

Kind regards,

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

Dik

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

It is always useful to look at the results and give them a sanity check. If it doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. When in doubt, discuss it with an associate.

BA

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

‘Discuss with, or Check with an associate....’ If we were all so lucky as to have an associate like BA or the Oldestguy, we would be very luck indeed, there is a real wealth of knowledge and experience there for the sharing, and young people need this advice and guidance. If you can find a superior or mentor with that knowledge and willingness to teach and help you are mighty lucky. With experience, you will develop and learn rules of thumb, like depth to span ratios for slabs, steel, concrete, and wooden beams, etc. You never quit checking your own calcs., assumptions, and results. Does it look right, are its proportions about right, how does it relate to what you know has worked int the past? You will (at least old guys like BA, Oldesrguy and I developed) a few dozen good ref. books which we could usually go to for some guidance.

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

In my PC I collected all the doc and procedure of calculation I am sure of : so I don't need to invent anything every time.

I had an associate (very old at that time) who was used to ask me : "Ok. You did your calculation. What about the opposite ?" (Frankly speaking, often He was right)

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

The contractor didn't want to remove the shoring because he didn't think it would stand up... The deformation was less than 1/16" from what I'd calculated.

Dik

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

Not confident in that calculation...

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

TTFN (ta ta for now)

I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg

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## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

Almost two decades in, I'm still not confident in my calculations without some kind of verification. I'll take one of two paths to get there:

1) If it's something that's been done before, I'll check that my solution looks substantially like prior solutions. This covers 90% of things.

2) If I'm blazing new ground, I'll solicit opinions from two or three independent, rockstar engineers. I'll usually also post something here at Eng-Tips. Can't beat this place for diversity.

I imagine this as an inverse logarithmic curve. Question asking drops off pretty quickly. For a particular type of work, you really only need to see a couple of projects through to completion before you'll probably drop from a few questions a day to a few questions a week. So, if you're doing houses, you may be good to go in six months. Skyscrapers or power plants, maybe two to five years.

In a way, you

neverwant to stop asking questions of your senior. Ideally, you'd have a suitable mentor at all stages of your career and the only thing changing would be the nature of the questions. Now it might be top flange bracing schemes; tomorrow it night be contract negotiation or leadership.I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

Another thing that provides confidence is if your calculations yield the same result as an another engineers' design. I figure we both can't be wrong.

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

-Mac

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

BA

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

-Mac

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

OP: I'm still concerned after decades & so are other people. I'm going to a meeting tomorrow where the building department won't accept my design for changes to an existing building; they asked for a peer review & the owner got one that was positive, but there are still questions. Trouble is, I've still got questions myself because we're adding storeys to an existing heritage building. I was pleased at the peer review, yet I'm still leery to tell the plans examiner to go fly a kite. If you

neverwonder if you've missed something, you're too cocky. If youalwayswonder, maybe it's time to try something else. You have to have a healthy respect for what you're doing and your own abilities without letting it blind you. You'll get there.## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

Great quote. May I use it for my tag line?

-Mac

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

Sail3: So you're a retailer marking down not a wholesaler marking up :)

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

Or not.

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

I think you might need to re-think things if your beam is going to be a W8x33!

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

When you get a chance, try to peruse the calculations of more senior engineers doing the same tasks you are doing. Or look at old job files and see how the calcs were done 'back then'.

Good luck. What you are feeling is natural at this stage.

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

Still, and importantly, the main kind of mistake i make is missing things. I have only a few years of design experience, am comfortable with all different systems etc. but I don't have those years of experience that remind me of the little things. My supervisor (owner of the company) pretty much lets me design what I want and go with it, but I think hard and search hard, and ask for a look over if I'm unsure if I missed any kickers, or out of plane wall anchors, etc. Stuff that I might not think of from a formal education alone. And yeah, just out of grad school I was getting pretty mad at the 95% of stuff I see on the job that no one ever mentioned in grad school!

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

A very experienced engineer was joking the other day that you have to get the young guys to design anything of any difficulty, because they're the only ones silly enough to do it. The rest of us are too petrified to design anything knowing all the traps that await...

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

- one added safety factor of 2

- 3 beers

- 1 week into construction without "that phone call"

- just a little more arrogance

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?

## RE: How long did it take you to be confident about your calculations?