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Career Story: Civil Engineering Consultant

Civil Engineering Consultant

Job Title: Civil Engineer

Type of Company: I work for a private engineering consultant firm that provides engineering and architecture services to public and private sector clients.

Education: BS, Civil Engineering, Syracuse University

Previous Experience: I worked as a temporary construction inspector for the New York Department of Transportation.

Job Tasks: I design utilities, storm drains, and sites that are being developed for a new purpose. I also design repairs or upgrades to existing sewers systems. My daily tasks include drafting concepts on a computer using specialized software and performing calculations that support the design. I may calculate the size of an underground pipe required for a drainage system, for example.

After a design and concept have been agreed on, we have to generate the blueprints that will be used by a contractor when he builds the project. Creating these drawings and checking my own and others' work is a large part of what I do. I also attend meetings with my clients to understand the project elements and make sure that the work is viewed as a success. Once a project is under way, I often make visits to the construction site to see that it is built properly.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love the satisfaction of taking an idea from conception through design and seeing it constructed and used. I often interact will the public and solving a problem for them is very rewarding.

My job can be very challenging and requires me to learn about a lot of different areas. It can be difficult when I have to learn a new skill, especially if it wasn't one that I'd thought of as interesting. In the end, I always seem to learn something and can move on to something new no matter how it turned out.

Job Tips: Getting a job over summer vacations in an engineering office or with a public agency is a great way to get exposed to the field of civil engineering. There are so many focus areas that you can explore and it can be helpful to investigate some of these before you look for a full-time job.

Find a mentor in the field. It is helpful to have someone to speak with about any challenges you experience, someone who can guide your development.

Don't just take technical courses in school. It is important to know how to write and speak well. Management classes will be helpful in the future.

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