Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Goal Setting

    Posted 04-02-2021 09:19 AM
    Hello all,

    I am an engineering student. Part of my class is to reach out to engineers with more experience than I to interview/ask questions about what their goals are, and what SMART goals a beginning engineering student should have. Here's a Great Video Describing SMART GOALS. Please let me know what you think my goals should be as an engineering student just now starting his journey to become a PE. Please respond ASAP!

    John Schwartz
    Civil Engineering Student Liberty University

  • 2.  RE: Goal Setting

    Posted 04-05-2021 02:12 PM
    Hello John,

    Good question. Primary goal of students must be to have a adequate knowledge of main courses such as structural analysis, concrete design, soil mechanics, material science, etc. These courses are what makes someone a civil engineer. An engineer must know properties of reinforced concrete, calculate shear and moment of a simple frame or read a technical drawing. Accordingly, you can save some of text books for later use.

    Internship is a good way to get valuable work experience before graduation. Plan ahead and list leading firms in business-don't hesitate, play big-or maybe government agencies to apply for internship. Apply them early to book a place. If not possible you can get good advice where to apply next. I started to work where I did my internship, which is common in business. Choose carefully or a dull internship may become a waste of time.

    No wind helps a ship that has no course. It's good to take optional courses in one field to excel rather than mixing transcript with easy to pass courses. Therefore you can acquire some of the skills industry demands till graduation. Doing the internship in the same field helps, too.

    These are the first things that come to my mind, mostly from my own experience. Use your time wisely at university. Study, read, join clubs, dream big and be confident. Don't forget to have fun, too. Good luck.

    Kudret AVCI
    Structural Engineer/MSc Student

    Kudret Avci S.M.ASCE

  • 3.  RE: Goal Setting

    Posted 04-06-2021 10:14 AM
    This a great topic and I hope more civil engineering students take the time and develop goals for themselves. Setting goals is a great way to be more productive and to improve as an engineer.

    When I was an engineering student, my goal was to become a PE by the age of 30. Even though it is a very short goal, it still meets most (if not all) of the SMART goals requirements. 

    But even my goal of becoming a PE by the age of 30 had many sub-goals that also needed to be achieved. I needed to be attending a university with an accredited engineering degree curriculum, I needed to take and pass the required classes to be able to graduate on time, I needed to take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE or EIT) exam, I needed to find an engineering job to satisfy the years of experience requirement of the PE exam, and of course I needed to take and pass the PE exam itself.

    Since I have passed the PE, my goals obviously need to be updated. Currently, my goal is to get promoted to a management position where I currently work by the age of 40.

    Just like my goal of becoming a PE by the age of 30, my current goal as many sub-goals I need to work on. I need to know the roles and responsibilities of the people I plan to manage, I need to know the work environment better, I need to know the roles and responsibilities of the management position I want, I need to know who I would be working with in a management position, I need to take  training specific to management and supervision, and I need to have ideas on how to improve the team I plan to manage.

    I think setting a SMART goal is a great start to further improve yourself and your situation. But remember to identify the sub-goals that are needed to achieve your SMART goal. I feel that is where some people struggle, which leads to getting off track and not meeting their goals, because they didn't know what intermediate steps to take.

    I hope that helps, and good luck!

    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC