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Getting into Structural engineering.
5

Getting into Structural engineering.

Getting into Structural engineering.

(OP)
hello everyone, I hope you guys are doing great.

I have a question from a guy(myself) who has just begun his career.

I want to ask you guys how do I prepare myself for the future where I am designing concrete and steel structures? what are the main things I need to target so that I can be of value in the future?

plus what are the requirements an employer is looking for in the early stages of a career?

Do i need to be good at textbook stuff?

thanks

RE: Getting into Structural engineering.

When you say "just begun his career" what do you mean? Are you going to graduate in the next few months and you're looking for a job? You have a job/internship and want to know how best to apply yourself?

RE: Getting into Structural engineering.

1) Understand and USE free body diagrams
2) Understand the codes (AISC and ACI if in US). Always read the commentary if the intention of the code is not fully understood

You definitely need to be good at "textbook stuff" unless you choose to go into project management or something other than structural engineering

“The most successful people in life are the ones who ask questions. They’re always learning. They’re always growing. They’re always pushing.” Robert Kiyosaki

RE: Getting into Structural engineering.

3
In addition to learning the about design and analysis (the things normally taught in school), all young engineers entering the profession need to understand how buildings go together. Young engineers need to learn about details and detailing, so that they can create models of structures that can actually be built, and so they can communicate their details on the contract documents. This is generally NOT taught in school. (You can create a model with 12 beams framing to a column – but how will you connect all those beams to the column? It is the engineer’s responsibility to figure that out so they don’t issue drawings for a structure that cannot be built.)

The only way you can learn about details and detailing is to visit jobsites and see how structures go together, to look at drawings from projects that have been built, and to ask questions and learn from experienced engineers. It’s important for engineers to understand all issues related to connections. Steel connections, concrete connections, wood connections, etc. Learning the theory and how to use the software is important. Learning the practical aspects of how a structure goes together, how to develop details, and how to communicate those details on your drawings is equally important – and generally takes years to learn. The more proficient you are in understanding the details, the more proficient you will be at creating good models. (And the better a structural engineer you will be.)

RE: Getting into Structural engineering.

(OP)
@phamENG working as an assistant to Ceng., yes I want to know what do I do so that I can be of value in the future.

RE: Getting into Structural engineering.

2
If you want to be of great use to your manager, one of the most important things that you can do is pay, and be seen to be paying, close attention to project budgets. At minimum:

1) Enquire about the budget available for your scope at the beginning of assignments.

2) Follow up to find out how well you did, budget wise, at the end of assignments.

Structural engineering is a business and folks who consistently lose money don't survive. You'd be surprised how many junior engineers -- like me once upon a time -- pay no attention to this at all. Even if you're not profitable, the fact that you're paying attention to your personal profitability will put you ahead of most of your competition in you manager's eyes.

RE: Getting into Structural engineering.

Quote (cliff234)

young engineers need to learn about details and detailing, so that they can create models of structures that can actually be built, and so they can communicate their details on the contract documents. This is generally NOT taught in school.

Great comment. I totally agree. I'd say the BEST engineers I know are the ones who are best at communicating their designs on the contract documents.

RE: Getting into Structural engineering.

Quote (cliff234)

The only way you can learn about details and detailing is to visit jobsites and see how structures go together, to look at drawings from projects that have been built, and to ask questions and learn from experienced engineers.
Also, thinking through how you would personally build it. Even without experience building things, I've found that often if I can't figure out a way to build it myself, the contractor can't figure it out either. There are things that seem really difficult to me personally, but contractors have their ways. Sometimes I think there's no way they can do a connection in such a tight space, and I ask the contractor, and he says oh yeah no problem we just use this special tool. But in general, treating it like a personal construction project that you will be personally building helps with thinking through construction details and sequence.

Also, not only asking other engineers - asking contractors helps. On the jobsite I'm always asking how they do this and that, what they prefer, etc. If I do some crazy detail I always ask how it went.

www.hellodwell.design

RE: Getting into Structural engineering.

I recommend working to understand load paths and asking questions if you don't know something.

Never let a mentor get away with "that's just how it's done" or "it's ok by experience" as an answer to one of your questions.

Study details and drawings to understand what goes into a package and how to properly detail. If you don't know why something is in a detail, ask.

Don't focus too much on using software yet, make sure you know how to do something by hand before jumping into software.

Openly discuss budgets and if the company allows for "training budget" because as a new engineer you will more often than not go over budget which can be a downer for yourself, but we all had to go through the learning curve and blown budgets.

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