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[Career] Niche areas within HVAC design engineering that are condusive to working for yourself?

[Career] Niche areas within HVAC design engineering that are condusive to working for yourself?

[Career] Niche areas within HVAC design engineering that are condusive to working for yourself?


I've started a position at a global A&E firm doing HVAC design work on advanced facilities (semiconductor facilities, pharma buildings, datacenters). I intend to obtain my PE license within 4 years. I have a BSME and have no previous HVAC design experience, though I do have some facilities engineering experience.

Being that I am at the beginning of my HVAC career (though I've been an engineer in various other industries for about 8 years), I'd like to identify 'niche' areas within the HVAC industry that may be worth specializing in. At the moment, I am lucky enough that I have some say in which kind of work within HVAC engineering I'd like to focus on at the company I'm with. An example of a niche area I've come across already is duct/pipe vibration analysis that seems to be offered by few firms. My company subcontracts this work out.

I have no desire to work for a massive company (like I do now), but I am fully aware that this is the place where I'll cut my teeth, learn skills, and network. Rather, I envision working for myself and offering HVAC design-related services to large or small clients on a contract basis far down the road. I am curious to hear which niche areas within HVAC design engineering are worth specializing in to make this goal a reality.

And yes, I know "working for yourself" is much easier said than done and running a business is a job in and of itself.

RE: [Career] Niche areas within HVAC design engineering that are condusive to working for yourself?

The real niche is establishing yourself as a competent and reliable engineer and building up a list of clients that trust you and are willing to give you side work from time to time to support them when they are overly busy. But if you limit yourself to only a few niche abilities that may backfire

RE: [Career] Niche areas within HVAC design engineering that are condusive to working for yourself?

I have worked in a niche downstream of you for many years. I specialize in generating flat patterns for sheet metal ducting that automated programs cannot produce.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

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