What is a Concrete Engineer and How do you Become One?

concrete engineer

What is a concrete engineer

The field of engineering is as vast as the ocean. There are a lot of things that you can do. Rather than doing general engineering, why not think about specializing in a certain fields? Specialization sets you apart in the market and enables you to become an authority in the field. It should be noted that some clients are particular that want a professional who has experienced vast knowledge and experience in a specific field.

Prior to embarking on any career, evaluate what the course entails, and see if that is something you love doing. If you take a course that you do not love, then, you are going to waste a lot of money and resources, and you will still change the career. Think about the cost of taking the program and the available work opportunities. And at the same time, think about whether there is any chance that you can start your own firm and be independent.

One of the areas of specialization that you can explore is how to be a concrete engineer. This article will guide you on the career of a concrete engineer and how you become one:

Roles and Responsibilities of a Concrete Engineer

The role and the responsibility of the concrete engineer largely depend on the position that you have assumed. Generally, be prepared to perform some of the following functions:

-Preparation of concrete mix

-Designing infrastructural projects

-Building infrastructure projects

-Budgeting when executing a project

-Ensuring safe processes and outcomes

-liaising with authorities and the attorney on meeting legal requirements

-Research projects in the field of concrete

Concrete engineers can work as production or technical managers. It is not uncommon to find them working in high level management positions. In some cases, the concrete manager could work in production distribution, sales, and marketing.

A concrete staff engineer could be required to offer a professional opinion and recommendation to the firm, and at the same time, apply engineering principles and best practices in construction projects. You could be asked to embark on a complex construction project which is not only demanding but will consume a lot of time, but sometimes it could be as simple as designing a concrete shower. You may need to visit the laboratory in order to test the quality of testing and give approval thereof of the continuation of the project. You may also need to perform an investigation through a non-destructive technique and prepare the report for the client. Note that much as you could be based in the US, you could be sent overseas for assignments.

There are ample opportunities for growth and expansion. For example, if you become an authority in the field, you could offer consultancy services. If you decide to teach in a university, you can easily do that, and you just need a master degree. The reason why it is easy to lecture is because, in STEM courses, professionals are in high demand. In addition to that, you can become a project manager. However, if you think that college teaching in concrete engineering is a field you can take, you have to start looking for experience early enough. Applying for a research assistant position in the university is not a bad way to start.

concrete engineers working

Qualification and Accreditation

In order to practice in the US as a concrete engineer, you will need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, and it has to be accredited by authorities in the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). If you are located in Canada, you need a four year bachelor’s degree awarded by an accredited school. Some employment positions might require a master’s degree (with a major in civil engineering).

Course work includes and not limited to: fluid mechanics, computer-aided design (CAD), and integrated design. A curriculum of concrete engineering informs the student on the manufacturing, testing, and utilizing concrete.

In order to practice as a concrete engineer in the US, be sure to be licensed. The following are the main requirements for obtaining a Professional Engineering (PE) license:

-A degree obtained from an accredited engineering school

-Passing the exam (Fundamental Engineering exam)

-The appropriate work experience

Note that if the authorities know that you are practicing concrete engineering without a license, then you are going to be in a big problem. Such an allegation is taken seriously and could lead to a long and expensive legal process. This is because the authorities cannot compromise on the safety of the public. Again, if you have legal problems, it will be very difficult for you to start your own firm or to secure employment.

Soft Skills Engineering

Engineering is a skill that requires the use of hard or technical skills. However, successful engineers appreciate the importance of the use of soft skills in order to enhance career prospects. Perhaps, the most important soft skill is communication skills. As an engineer, you are going to interact with various parties including the owner, the government, the construction workers, and the clients. Therefore, you must learn how to communicate professionally. For example, you cannot make a comment that is sensitive to others. Bear in mind that when you will be working, you will be dealing with people who have knowledge in engineering, and others who do not have any knowledge in the profession.

As a concrete engineer, you have to have intellectual curiosity which will help you be updated in the latest trends affecting the field. The field of engineering is fluid and dynamic. Techniques which are in high demand now could become obsolete in a few years. At the same time, technology brings in better equipment. Therefore, you must be updated in order to be relevant in the field of engineering.

As an engineer, you should think about trial and error as a tool of innovation. Do your research well, and present your ideas to funding organizations or imminent individuals who can invest in your idea. At the same time, think about protecting your ideas by reading the relevant intellectual property laws applying to your state. This is because as you pitch your ideas, your project can be stolen, and you might not easily recover it.

You are not going to learn soft skills in a single day. On the contrary, it will take time and effort. The best thing of doing this is through breaking down your objectives to achievable milestones. At the same time, think about the most effective ways of seeking mentorship so that you can grow. A mentor is going to criticize you and give you an opportunity to grow.

Work Environment

Most of the civil engineers, including concrete engineers, work in an office setting. However, a concrete engineer will still out in order to physically inspect the project.

Where to Get Experience

If you want to work as an engineer and in deed the practical courses, do not think about starting your own firm right away. Think about an experience first. In fact, during your college breaks, apply for an industrial attachment, and it will give you practical skills in exposing yourself to the benefits and challenges of the market. Upon graduation, apply for a job first. As far as possible, align your attachments to the position you want to take in the future. For example, if you want to do concrete engineering for many years, request the human resource department in the office that is responsible for the same.

Possible Employers

As an engineer, the path to your career should be starting your own firm, someday. Now that starting your own firm requires capital and experience, why not consider working for someone else first. The following are some of the possible employers in the market:

-The construction sector is the biggest employer

-Building infrastructure related to building and construction

­-In house work opportunity with a multinational organization

-Government departments

-Local authorities

The Job Application Process

After identifying the job position, you need to ensure that the employer may ask that you be screened for drugs. Due to the sensitive nature of the construction industry, some employers do not like being associated with employees who abuse drugs.

concrete slabs used for construction

Starting Your Own Firm

Starting your own concrete engineering firm requires a lot of courage, and it carries a lot of risk. However, it is equally a rewarding experience. The first thing you should do is to view engineering as a business. Any business course will teach you that business is not about the professional, but rather, about the client.

When you are starting a business, you need to realize that you are not going to have all professionals at your disposal. In fact, you are going to be a jerk of all trade. With time, think about hiring more staff. There are critical services nevertheless, accounting and taxation for instance.

The greatest risk that comes with starting your own firm is that you may not have enough construction projects throughout the year. In addition to that, construction projects may be affected by weather factors such as flooding. The best thing to manage this is through exploiting business opportunities when they are available. The good news is that states such as Florida have favorable weather year-round.

If you are to start your own firm, think about partnering with others in the field. This will help you work with a team which is ready to give you a referral. Again, in the case where starting a business requires high capital, then, it is good to think about seeking a partnership in order to raise the required capital.

The Role of Marketing

In most of the businesses, one cannot survive without a proper marketing strategy. The best ways through which engineer can market themselves is doing a perfect work for the existing projects. Any client would want an engineer who has a perfect record in past projects. The main rationale behind having an aggressive marketing strategy is to realize an optimal outcome and a high stream of revenue.

As marketing professionals penetrate the market, they learn about new opportunities of doing business. This is done through exploring consumer behavior and identifying possible future areas of doing business. In other words, research can be active or passive. What is important is to capitalize on the learning process when one is interacting with the others in the market.

The future of business is going green in order to save the environment. Concrete engineering professionals can enhance green processes, products, and services. For example, they can save as much paper as possible through the use of electronic correspondence.

The Role of Technology

The construction industry is going through a process of transition from manual processes to automatic processes. Drone technology plays a critical role in improving the efficiency of the business and increasing the productivity of the firm. In a situation that a human being cannot reach a certain area, then the use of the drone can be of much help.

As a concrete engineer, you can get real time data from where you are located. This can help you in placing the relevant safety measures and making a timely intervention should things go wrong.

The use of 3D technology plays a critical role in ensuring that construction projects are not only durable but also, have a strong aesthetics. Such a technology is important because it reduces waste and enhances saving of resources. By the end of the day, what is important is to realize maximum profits with the use of available resources.

At the same time, an increasing number of construction companies are outsourcing services such as data entry. In such a case then, technology comes in handy in collaborating with members of the team irrespective of their geographical location. For example, the use of zoom can help you liaise with your team in order to execute a certain project. Such video technology can also help in explaining situations.

Conclusion

The field of concrete engineering has a lot to offer to anyone who is interested. Like in any sector of the economy, there are inherent, structural, and systemic challenges that come with the profession. However, with the right preparation and planning, concrete engineering is a viable and sustainable career.