Degree and University: BEng Civil & Transportation Engineering, Napier University, Edinburgh, and MSc Civil Engineering and Construction Management, Heriot Watt University Edinburgh
Work Title: Assistant Engineer
What do you actually do? In one sentence, I design, manage and supervise construction of road infrastructure projects but it is all project dependent. On one project I can be the designer or on another, the engineer supervising a construction site or the project engineer / manager overseeing the whole project. On every project, however, you are always delivering to budget, programme and to the Clients’ satisfaction.
What do you most like about your job? I like the sense of achievement of taking a sketch on a piece of paper and making it into reality. I like the variety of the work that is available in this industry and working in the built environment heightens your awareness of your surroundings and just how important it is to develop whilst also protecting and preserving the natural environment.
One other thing about this industry is the people. Every person that I have worked with in this profession is determined and passionate about their job; they are always striving to do their best.
Why you chose to do postgrad? It was recognised when I started working in industry that I had the ability and motivation to become a Chartered member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). My first degree, a BEng in Civil and Transportation Engineering, however, was not of sufficient level to become Chartered. Therefore, I explored all options to me for the route to Chartership status and decided obtaining an MSc in Civil Engineering and Construction Management was the preferred choice.
Do you think it has advanced your career outlook? I believe that any additional academic qualification would enhance anyone’s career outlook. Also because my course was accredited to the ICE many of the modules were specific to my area of work and have therefore enhanced my knowledge and understanding of specific civil engineering topics. I do have to say, however, that there is no substitute for experience in the industry.
How does postgrad differ from undergraduate study? I took my course on a part-time basis and it was difficult to balance work/life/study commitments for 2 years. The taught modules were of a similar standard to final year modules of a BEng degree.
Are you still doing the same job? Yes but having this qualification will most likely open more avenues to me when I become a Chartered Engineer.
Do you want to carry on your education with professional qualifications (i.e. Chartered status)? I am applying to sit my Chartered exam in the spring this year 2009 now that I have graduated with my MSc.
What advice would you give graduates coming into this sector? Have confidence and conviction but also know your own limitations. Be adaptable, co-operative and embrace opportunities with spirit.
Is there anything you would like to add? If you enjoy a challenge then this is the industry to be in. If you like to be able to turn to your friend and say ‘I designed that’ then this is the job for you. Overall you can be part of developing our environment, you will leave a legacy behind you, and it is up to you to make it a success.