Discussion Thread

  • 1.  What Would You Be if You Weren't an Engineer?

    Posted 04-16-2022 10:36 AM
    The title says it all in this topic. It might be interesting to learn about what other kinds of jobs people considered, both before and after going to school for engineering.

    Before college:
    I had a lot of interests while growing up, and chief among them was writing. I wrote a lot of short pieces in high school, and had wanted to write a book. For those reasons, I strongly considered going to school for an English degree.
    I had also taken part in a few model United Nations events during high school. I liked the idea of working with others to solve national or global issues via dialogue and policy, and so I also applied to a few schools for a degree in Political Science.

    In the end, I decided that writing could happen on the side if desired, but engineering on the side would be more difficult. I also became slightly disenfranchised with politics and wanted to focus on a field that would give me tangible skills to actually "do" something, which is why I ultimately ended up in Engineering.

    After college:
    Having lived and worked for another 7 years after school, I've since been introduced to even more fields in our ever changing world. Some of the other fields that are now very interesting to me include computer programming and finance.  I've since met a number of people who hold very interesting jobs in those fields, and while I do not regret my own choice of major, it does make me wish that I had been exposed to these other fields more when I was younger.

    What about you?


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    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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  • 2.  RE: What Would You Be if You Weren't an Engineer?

    Posted 04-18-2022 04:38 PM
    Hi Christopher,

    Before university, I wanted to be a Physicist, but a piece of lousy career advice made me mistakenly believe that it was a profession with no future in my country.

    After graduating as a Civil Engineer, I have discovered, like many colleagues, that the Engineer is partly an applied Physicist, at least in problems in which Newton's laws are involved.

    I also think that a suitable training in physics and the interest in understanding how the world works is an excellent basis to try to modify it in the best way, as we Engineers hope to do daily.

    Over the years, computer programming has allowed me to develop various solutions to problems of different complexity, and I always try to have it as part of my courses.

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    Luis Vasquez-Varela Aff.M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
    Manizales
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  • 3.  RE: What Would You Be if You Weren't an Engineer?

    Posted 04-20-2022 09:23 AM
    Well said! Is there a particular programming language that you try to use most frequently?

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    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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  • 4.  RE: What Would You Be if You Weren't an Engineer?

    Posted 04-19-2022 10:23 AM
    Before college: I was looking into becoming an attorney. Actually was enrolled as an English Major at the recommendation of an attorney mentor I had growing up. Decided to change my major to Civil Engineering on orientation day.

    After college: I have really come to enjoy history and my engineering background has fueled this. Historical buildings fascinate the heck out of me and how well made they were made without the modern equipment we have today. To me they just have a feel to them to think about how many people have walked through/by/and gotten use from them.

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    Andrea Taylor P.E., M.ASCE
    Hurst TX
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  • 5.  RE: What Would You Be if You Weren't an Engineer?

    Posted 04-20-2022 09:23 AM
    Cool story! Orientation day was a very early day in college to change your major! I can appreciate where you are coming from in terms of your appreciation of and fascination with historic buildings as well. Got any favorites?

    Thanks for sharing!

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    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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  • 6.  RE: What Would You Be if You Weren't an Engineer?

    Posted 04-19-2022 04:16 PM
    I had some talent in story writing. One poetry in college magazine. When I started technical study it disappeared from my brain and technology only comes in it.
    If I weren't an Engineer, I might've been a university language professor be working with some political party. Our Principal was elected as member of State legislature assembly.
    But now I am happy with what I am.

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    Alex Thomas R.Eng, C.Eng, M.ASCE
    Engineer
    Ajit Associates+Acd
    CochinAlexThomasR.Eng, C.Eng, M.ASCEIndia
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  • 7.  RE: What Would You Be if You Weren't an Engineer?

    Posted 04-20-2022 09:23 AM
    Its nice to hear that you are happy regardless! Too often I think we think that taking another road would have led somewhere better.

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    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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  • 8.  RE: What Would You Be if You Weren't an Engineer?

    Posted 04-21-2022 01:23 PM
    I would like to think I would still be in the construction industry. I was always handy and liked construction so I'd imagine I would be some sort of contractor.
    A more recent development has been cooking. Over the past 5 years, I have cooked more and more. Now I am at the point where I make my own bread every week and pasta as well.

    Funny side story, I recommended one friend to a job opening from a different friend. Turns out the company was offering ear-pods for finding a candidate that gets hired. Since I already had earbuds they allowed me to get a pasta maker of equivalent value!

    It's definitely fun to think about what we would/could be but I think this is a case of "easier said than done" and the "grass is always greener on the other side". If I had become a contractor or chef would I be having the same question of what could have been? It's definitely a fun conversation regardless.

    I also believe that people still pursue our interests even though it's not our paid job. For me, I still build things and do woodworking when the weather is nice and cook/bake as well. @Christopher Seigel are you working on any of your passions/hobbies on the side?​

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    Daniel Bressler EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Structural Engineer
    Brooklyn NY
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  • 9.  RE: What Would You Be if You Weren't an Engineer?

    Posted 04-25-2022 11:20 AM
    I'd agree Daniel! I think we tend to oversimplify what our lives would be like if we had picked a different job. We think about the successes there and not the parts we wouldn't have wanted to deal with.

    I do still spend some time with my other interests. A few years ago, I wrote a children's short story. I debated trying to get it published, but first wanted to get it illustrated. I've had a hard time finding someone interested, so learning to draw has become yet another hobby to spend time on now.

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    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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  • 10.  RE: What Would You Be if You Weren't an Engineer?

    Posted 04-25-2022 12:31 PM
    Honestly, I've always enjoyed spectating sports, in particular, baseball since I was a kid. I often joke these days, that if I wasn't an engineer, I'd be a sports commentator, probably the color commentator in a baseball game, TV, not radio. It would speak to a big interest of mine (I'm a huge SF Giants fan), and while the lifestyle would be very different (traveling a lot, working a lot of nights), I think I'd enjoy it! I have never actually pursued it though, and am happy with the career I chose in structural engineering so far!

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    Laura Hagan C.Eng, M.ASCE
    Project Engineer II
    IMEG
    San Francisco CA
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