As a civil engineer, it’s not easy for you to nail down a career path. The industry is broader than its counterparts are, so you could potentially work on public infrastructure like roads and bridges or private works such as buildings. Each of these projects requires a range of professionals, from researchers to designers and more.
This plethora of choices can cause you to hedge their bets. You may try to maintain a broad range of skills instead of specializing in a given field. While employers always need workers with diverse abilities, you still need to choose a career path that will suit your long-term goals. If you don’t plan for success, you could end up stagnating in a dead-end position.
So how do you make the right decisions in your civil engineering career? There are many ways to climb the ladder, but advancement for its own sake isn’t desirable. You need to create a strategy that suits your own unique goals. The following suggestions can help you do that.
1. Choose Roles that Suit Your Interests
Are you better with abstract details or hands-on tasks? Do you work better on a site or in an office? Do you see yourself more as a manager or as a designer?
Each of these questions will help you identify where your interests lie. You may already know whether you want to pursue a consultancy or a contracting job, but you still have more decisions to make. A civil engineering career can involve designing or implementing runway modifications for airports, converting buildings to meet sustainability requirements or redesigning a highway to reduce traffic. You need to specialize in one of these areas, so you should make this decision based on your overall interests. Don’t settle for a position in non-sustainable energy if your heart lies with environmental consulting.
2. Demonstrate Your Soft Skills
Your qualifications will obviously affect your civil engineering career path, but these factors don’t guarantee professional success. While your experience may help you land a job, you’ll need to hone your soft skills if you want to thrive.
Engineering isn’t just about managing the logistics of infrastructure. You’ll also need to manage limited time and resources, communicate with team members and convey information clearly in reports and presentations. As a result, you should develop your organization, communication, and leadership abilities if you want to achieve long-term success.
3. Earn Extra Certifications
Attaining your engineering license is definitely a top priority, but what do you do after you’ve achieved this goal? Practices change relatively rapidly, so a technique that was innovative when you started out may become passé within a few years.
That’s why it’s so important to earn additional certifications. As engineering gets more competitive, you need to broaden your skills to stand out. Hiring managers look for workers who hold valuable certificates because these credentials show a worker’s initiative and versatility. If you want to keep up with an ever-changing industry, you should seriously think about seeking further certification.
4. Consider Pursuing a Master’s Degree
While most engineers only complete a bachelor’s degree, further education may help you advance your civil engineering career. A master’s degree tells hiring managers that you can handle extra responsibilities and solve difficult problems. Therefore, these qualifications can help your career, even if you’re not seeking a research or teaching position.
5. Remember: Experience Is Important
A degree is no longer enough to secure a promising position. You need proven experience if you want to gain a foothold in your industry. If you can’t build your resume through internships, you may want to consider working with a professional recruiter. These agencies can help you gain the practical knowledge you need to enter the industry.