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Civil Eng Career Change

Civil Eng Career Change

Civil Eng Career Change

(OP)
Good afternoon all - I am looking to get any suggestions/insight regarding a career change opportunity I have. I have worked for a large civil general contractor as a project engineer and project manager for 6 years and have an opportunity to join a consulting firm as a project manager. The position looks symmetrical in terms of responsibilities, just from the Owner/Engineer side as opposed to contractor side. The management side of the design through construction sounds appealing and would be large relief from contractor life/work style.

Does anyone that has been through a similar career path have any helpful insight to how they viewed this career ? Compensation is $90-100K which seems reasonable in my opinion ?

RE: Civil Eng Career Change

We had a youngish engineer who was very personable and energetic who made the switch from construction to design. She said that in construction you had a design and you built it. All (hopefully) the questions were answered on the drawings. All of a sudden, she had the stress of making all the decisions. I had never thought of that. Sizes, shapes, thicknesses, slopes, power, permits, etc.
She only lasted about 4 years with us. We could of trained her better, but I'm not sure she could of got over the stress of making a blank sheet of paper into a project.

RE: Civil Eng Career Change

CivEng19 - I made three engineering career changes during 40 years, the second was similar to yours - heavy construction to engineering project coordination with a "sophisticated" (technically competent) Owner.

Don't expect a sharply focused, well defined job description. Chances are you will be involved in various engineering and commercial areas such as planning, permitting, design, procurement (contract prep and bidding, bid evaluation, contract award, payment), field construction management and changes, dispute resolution, presentations to the Owner, etc.

Patience is required, portions of projects move at a slower pace than construction.

You may need at least a working knowledge of the two engineering fields that frequently blend with civil - geotechnical and structural.

Be able to explain, in understandable language, technical subjects to non-technical people.

I enjoyed the work, but it's not for everyone.

RE: Civil Eng Career Change

I'd do it. Learning new things and skills is what it has always been about for me. If you don't like excursions outside your comfort zone, maybe its not a good idea for you. I switched industries many times, first doing structural and pipe Stress for petrochem plant design, major stadium sports complex design, pulp and paper, mining, gas compressor stations, purchasing engineer, gas field structure and pipeline, gas and oil field equipment selection, petroleum facility startup and operation, Petroleum facility design, construction, offshore structures design, offshore pipelines design and construction, water pipelines and irrigation, oil pipeline design construction, doing design, construction and project management in all of them.

Einstein gave the same test to students every year. When asked why he would do something like that, "Because the answers had changed."

RE: Civil Eng Career Change

(OP)
Much appreciated everyone - I made the decision to accept the opportunity.

RE: Civil Eng Career Change

Congratulations. Construction experience in a design office is usually very appreciated. Everyone will probably start asking you for advice. I predict you will do well.

Einstein gave the same test to students every year. When asked why he would do something like that, "Because the answers had changed."

RE: Civil Eng Career Change

You will certainly be an asset as a project manager because you will have credibility with customers and contractors from your field experience. Best of luck to you and don't get discouraged early on while learning the engineering consulting side.

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