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Course Correcting my Career

Course Correcting my Career

Course Correcting my Career

(OP)
Hi guys, I'm 10 years into civil engineering (geotechnical) but it's not paying much so now im trying to course correct with the least amount of financial damage. What's the best thing i can do now to boost my salary or go into a different field?

I feel like with covid, i have an advantage because most unis offer online degrees/programs that i could enroll in in the fall while holding down a full time job. I want to take advantage of location being irrelevant at the moment.

For example I'm thinking of transitioning into a civil software design firm..for those who are from the world of tech, what kind of courses can I take on my own now to give me the right skills? (i have zero computer science background).

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Cheers.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

Get some mining education, transfer to a producing mine operation ( hint , this will be in the north somewhere ) and really apply yourself for 10-15 years. This should give you a decent salary

RE: Course Correcting my Career

In your current field getting a Masters is likely to do a lot for you. Are you now in charge of a company unit or just a grunt? There is a difference. Your experience can then also be a boost.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

(OP)

@oldestguy... i have a masters..im not in charge of a unit just project manager of small-medium sized jobs..so basically just a grunt..i was thinking of getting an executive MBA or going in the tech field to get a salary boost. I feel like geotechnical consulting is a dead end in terms of pay.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

(OP)
@miningman...i have a bit of mining expereince but not a ton (deformation assessment using FEA). what kind of mining education are you referring to?

RE: Course Correcting my Career

mining engineering, and for what its worth , I dont have a clue what deformation assessment using FEA might be.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

Something we aren't aware of may be in the picture. Myself and others with a master's have done darn well in this field. Of course we moved on with more responsibilities as well as buying into the firm. I tried.
Edit: With this statement these days, I wonder why? "(i have zero computer science background " In these forums we get all sorts of questions but many times the post starts of with lots missing and it my take 20 postings on the subject and comments here to do the poster any useful info.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

An executive MBA is a waste of time as you will not see an increase in salary. You would be better off with a masters in geotechnical.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

There we go again....... Mediocre But Arogant

RE: Course Correcting my Career

In your present job are there things you need to improve? In your reports do you suggest ways to save money for the project? Do contractors comment on your work as useful, etc?. How about work habits? How long does it take to write a typical report? How do the reviewers like your work? Work habits. rag chewing? long break times? Stay on at night to get the job out? Who is the last one to leave at night? First in morning? Do you regularly hear from drill crew on the job and if so what do they think? If they have problems can you handle the task of helping? I could go on, but you get the idea.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

What are you wanting to make salary wise?

If you are in the private sector, you will have to work yourself up to a geotechnical department manager position or branch manager position to bump up your salary. Staying as a geotechnical project manager is not going to make a lot of $.

You could also make a move to government work. You can make around $100k as just a geotechnical engineer in my area of the states. Moving up to a lead geotechnical engineer position would bump you up $15-20k more.

It is easier to work your way up in the private sector than the government though.

And if I was only focused on $, I probably wouldn’t have chose geotechnical engineering.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

(OP)
yeah, unfortunately i didnt do the research and didnt go into a field that was gonna make me good money (150k plus). I'm willing to back tack and do something completely different to course correct though. I have the time and money to go back to school or study part time. Any ideas on what I can do with the least amount of back tracking (something with a bit of ovrelap with civil/geotech) would be good.

I'm with a private employee owned consulting firm...hard to move up I find within an employee owned company as they require you to sink in alot of cash. This scares me as one of our top associates got laid off during the pandemic right after they announced the company stock price had fallen by 50%. if she invested 100k (which is what is required roughly to make associate/partner) she would have been out 50K and unemployed. At least if i take that cash an invest in a diversified fund of my choice I can chose when to sell and will stay the course during economic downturns.

government work isnt for. I need fast paced exciting work.

Mining in private consulting (Golder, Kleifelder, Coffey and the likes) pays 10% more but not much.

I'm thinking of starting my own geotechnical engineering support services firm (traffic control services, utility clearance etc) as I see how expensive these subcontractors have become. I'm just not sure if legally i'm able to explore this idea while being employed.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

Look outside of engineering. One of my classmate, who had PH.D in Civil Engineering, but decided to quit and switched to programming for an insurance company. Also, a few PH.D's have successfully became restaurant owner and made good living. Government position is a good choice, but the mobility/promotion is slow, and your market worth somewhat decrease with time, unless you want to be a lobbyist later in your career. Note that in the US, your education level counts only for entering into the job market, most often it won't payback if you have already on the job for a lengthy time. Technical certification/licensing fare better though.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

Bear in mind that contract rate is often NOT EQUAL to pay rate; we have a thing called "wrapped rate" which includes EVERYTHING beyond basic salary that must be covered, like rent, utilities, equipment, compueters, health insurance, payroll taxes, non-direct charging support staff, management, etc. Our typical wrapped rate can be 300% of salary paid; %200/hr contract rate is often only $66/hr salary. A good check of that is to see what these contractors offer as salary.


Only figuratively related is possibly data mining (bad pun); starting salaries are upwards of $100k

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Course Correcting my Career

If your goal is to make more money then wok in money, financial consultant, mortgage broker, insurance salesman.

My mortgage guy tells me he had to work and chase for about 2 years before getting a steady client flow earning more than $150K selling mortgages. If you want to go big you can also look at real estate sales which are paid on commission, selling $10 million in properties per year gets you a decent payday.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

A guy I know from high school (he graduated in 1977, a year behind me) has a PhD in Physics from UC Berkeley and is the son of a physicist. He got bored with particle physics and the relatively low pay of a university professor, so about 20 to 25 years ago he switched to computer programming in the financial industry. I don't know exactly what he does or who he works for, but I know from our communications on Facebook that he is happier with the work and makes more money.

============
"Is it the only lesson of history that mankind is unteachable?"
--Winston S. Churchill

RE: Course Correcting my Career

Professors, nowadays, don't exactly make chump change; but probably still less than a fintech/machine learning expert.

I graduated in 1979, and my excuse for not pursuing the PhD that my father craved for me was the low salaries of professors, at that time.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Course Correcting my Career

"deformation assessment using FEA". When I was back in the business, my boss called it analyzing a semi-infinite solid. I always liked the term semi-infinite.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

(OP)
is there an application for data science/machine learning in mining/geotechnical engineering?

RE: Course Correcting my Career

Experience and knowledge re blasting and explosives would be a lot more usefull. Its not what you think you might want to do...... its what prospective employers might need.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

It might be unexplored winky smile territory; I can see an interesting topic for research like machine learning applied to soil analysis. Schlumberger made(makes) lots of money in oil exploration by measuring the local electrical resistance of the earth; the founder came up with some sort of correlation between such measurements and the amount of oil underneath. Seems a bit black magicky, but it seemed to work. Another possibility is better prediction of flooding potential, possibly? Having slightly better foreknowledge of flooding in the coming rainy season would presumably be useful.

As for the original question, lots of analysis is done by finite element analysis (FEA), which involves discretization of partial differential equations.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Course Correcting my Career

After 45 years in mining, I never once saw a partial differential equation. And as for flooding, knowledge of pumping systems and the associated power distribution systems always served me well[

RE: Course Correcting my Career

What sort of education or training is required to provide consult8ng services to companies, universities, etc after the crisis now by substituting computers for people that are laid off from work. One thing I believe there will be a number of professors losing their jobs. They can be replaced by other methods. Teaching one class a day just won't cut it.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

oldestguy - that'll depend on the university and their focus. I did have a couple of professors who only taught one or two classes a day, but if that class and associated office hours with students took up 3 hours, they were typically spending 5-8 hours a day in the lab or chasing down grants to fund the engineering college. The others were assistants and adjuncts who were already working for peanuts anyway.

A teaching university that doesn't engage in much heavy research - you're absolutely right.

Storm-water: Have you looked into getting out of design and into industrial work? You can get a job as a staff/site engineer for an industrial facility and do pretty well (depending on the industry, of course). If you have a lot of experience in storm water already, going into an environmental compliance department at a large industrial site is probably a good way to go. Those spots can pay pretty well. Then you can move from there to environmental compliance consulting. Insurance is outrageous, but the pay is pretty nice, too.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

@Storm-water

What country are you from?

I think that maybe the salary is linked to were you are living.
For instance I know that in South Africa engineers are generally well paid and when you look at the top earning fields there are a number of engineering jobs present, haven't seen geotechnical engineering in the list ever. I have heard that in many other countries engineers are not as well paid. Would like to other peoples opinions on this?

With regards to the software development if you are starting your own company I think you should be fine, however going to work for another company would probably require dual doctorate in many cases (for the companies i'd love to work for), generally one in engineering and another in applied mathematics or something along those lines. I was previously given the opportunity to interview at a firm that did software design where they didn't ask for these types of qualifications but in the grand scheme that company made little Mickey mouse software.

If you are going to do this professional I would suggest looking into a graduate diploma in computer science and maybe post graduate courses in applied mathematics (the honors level courses generally include some good stuff that is used in engineering software, these can generally be taken as a causal student since you obviously don't have the correct degree to get into the course).

RE: Course Correcting my Career

(OP)
@Mohanlal0488 - Toronto Canada but I have also worked in Australia and the salaries were similar albeit slightly adjusted for higher cost of living in Aus.

@phamENG - my user name is misleading..most of my experience is geotechnical design in the transportation sector. I have done some construction phase services during construction...is that what you mean by site engineer? Do you mean working for the contractor? honeslty I'm a little sick of dealing with contractors.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

No - by site/facility engineer I mean an engineer on staff at a large commercial or industrial site to manage internal engineering affairs. You'd become the "owner" in the generic A/E/C relationship spectrum. It's a blend of minor design work, project management, administration, and whatever else management throws on your plate. Depending on where you are and what industry you go to work for, it can be very fast paced and exciting - or it can be slow and methodical. There's limited demand for geotechs in that role, but most of them are more multi-discipline anyway. So you can throw your resume out there and see if anyone bites.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

(OP)
@phamENG thanks! can you send me an example job listing for what you're referring to. I just want to make sure i follow as roles can be called different things in various parts of the world.

RE: Course Correcting my Career

Try searching your area for facilities engineer, plant engineer, or project engineer. There's almost no limit to the variability of these types of positions. And don't be afraid to apply for something outside of what you typically do - just be open about it when you interview while also not saying you don't know anything. It can be a tough line to walk, but I've found it necessary to learn how if I want to set my own growth pace.

A lot of these types of jobs are looking more for high functioning and self starting individuals who have a background in quickly learning and mastering technical material. They may define it differently, but most of the good ones are willing to blur some of the stated requirements to get the right people.

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