Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Reentering the Civil Engineering Profession

    Posted 03-08-2019 06:16 PM

    I am considered to be an entry-level civil engineer (I have my EIT), but I am 31. I graduated during the economic crash and had difficulty finding a job, so I moved into the tech sector, but I don't love it. I am currently in a position right now in my life where if I am going to try to get back into the civil engineering industry, now would be the time to do it, however I am not quite sure where to start (ie: do I look for a full-time job vs intern?, how do I best present myself with a resume that has nothing to do with civil engineering for the last 7 years?, is this a good time industry-wise to do so?, etc.).

    Jamie Marcus Aff.M.ASCE
    Buffalo Grove IL
    (847) 644-7242

  • 2.  RE: Reentering the Civil Engineering Profession

    Posted 03-09-2019 10:57 AM
    Jamie - One good strategy may be to find positions that utilize your knowledge of both. Civil engineering has advanced in the use of technology to improve construction, maintenance, operations, and design. Coming from the tech sector, you may have good transferrable skills (programming, product development etc.) to work at companies with a hand in both civil engineering and technology.

    If you want to leave tech completely, it is a great time to be a civil engineer. Do you have previous experience in managing projects in the tech sector? Are you interested in the technical side of CE? Did you do any marketing or business development in the tech sector? These are some of the questions worth asking yourself.

    Lastly, if I could restart my CE career, I would begin with a construction position in the field. Do you have the option to be away from home for projects? You have many options, good luck!

    Miguel Andrews
    Bismarck ND

  • 3.  RE: Reentering the Civil Engineering Profession

    Posted 03-09-2019 06:40 PM
    You're welcome back with the engineering background. Since an engineering major is widely extended and you're not an entry level anymore, there's a pretty good chance to hunt down engineering positions.

    Sayed Maqsood
    Oakland CA

  • 4.  RE: Reentering the Civil Engineering Profession

    Posted 03-09-2019 07:34 PM

    Hi Jamie,


    The internship should be your best way of approach for entry into the civil engineering field. I would recommend converting your current technology job from full-time to part-time 20-30 hours and use the remaining time in shadowing or get an internship with a civil engineering company. As far as I can tell, there is a huge scarcity for women in the civil engineering field, I think we got only 13% of women working in our field. So, being a woman is the most advantageous for you and companies will be interested to offer you the internship followed by a job if you show your talent and perseverance in this field.


    If there is anything else I could assist you with, please let me know and thank you for all your help and time,

    Nitesh Sangam, P.E., M. ASHE-ASCE(SEI)-CMAA

    Bridge Engineer


    76 South Laura Street, Suite 1600
    Jacksonville, FL 32202-4321
    D 904.598.8956 M 262.378.9576



  • 5.  RE: Reentering the Civil Engineering Profession

    Posted 03-19-2019 04:03 PM
    Thanks Nitesh! That's really helpful, I was debating whether looking for an internship was a good idea, so it was good to hear others suggest it as well.

    Jamie Marcus Aff.M.ASCE
    Buffalo Grove IL
    (847) 644-7242

  • 6.  RE: Reentering the Civil Engineering Profession

    Posted 03-11-2019 02:19 PM
    Hi Jamie,

    It is great to hear that you want to get back in to civil engineering.  Don't be afraid!  I took two years off of engineering after college to work as a missionary and had no intern experience in the field I wanted to enter.  When you are putting together your resume and preparing for interview, look at the work you have done and how it applies to what you want to do as a CE.  Soft skills especially are transferable and may even give you an edge up as your skills are going to be different from that of a typical engineer with 10 years experience.  ​Although it took a little longer than I hoped to find a job, I am very pleased with the company I am now working for because their values align well with mine and they chose me not just for my skills as an engineer, but also for my personality and my soft skills.  I find this especially valuable if you want to stay with a company for an long time.

    Feel free to reach out if you have more questions!

    Nancy Streu
    Muscatine Power & Water
    Muscatine IA

  • 7.  RE: Reentering the Civil Engineering Profession

    Posted 03-17-2019 09:42 AM
    Hello, welcome back to the engineering family!

    I'm a structural engineer out of SF and I'm curious what part of "civil engineering" you're interested in? I'd recommend applying for a full position, not interning, and apply your life skills to get in the door. Industry is booming here in SF and I'm assuming it's the same in the Chicago area? Get your foot in the door and get your PE. Options will open up after. 


    Elliot House
    W.B. Clausen Structural Engineers
    Emeryville CA

  • 8.  RE: Reentering the Civil Engineering Profession

    Posted 03-19-2019 04:11 PM
    Hi Elliot,

    I'm most interested in Structural Engineering, but I am open to a variety of options.  I don't want to limit myself by only focusing on one field.  I'm not sure if this will make me come off as too vague or not, but basically I've just concluded that Civil Engineering is the industry I would prefer to be working in, so I am open to how I re-enter the industry.  If I end up never working in Structural Engineering, but finding a different career path that works for me, I'm okay with that.

    Jamie Marcus Aff.M.ASCE
    Buffalo Grove IL
    (847) 644-7242

  • 9.  RE: Reentering the Civil Engineering Profession

    Posted 03-20-2019 03:53 PM
    I am a structural engineer who went with a non-traditional career path too. Don't be afraid of going a new route (and kudos to you for having the courage to step out!). Many of the most successful and well-rounded engineers have unique backgrounds that give them a unique perspective that makes them invaluable.

    There was a question about possible career paths for structural engineers on another thread which I believe is relevant to you. Here's the blog post I wrote on this topic (mostly because it was getting way too long for a response here): Top 10 Career Options for Civil/Structural Engineers

    In my opinion, you are better off to dive into a full-time position. Otherwise, you'll go to part-time and be perceived as less committed at your tech job (most employers aren't going to be thrilled that you are "biding time" while you look for something more suited to you), and also be struggling to have enough time to learn all you really need to at your internship.  Better off to go "all-in" on your new field if you know it's the one for you.

    One way to bridge the two that hasn't already been mentioned is to look for a job at a very large AEC company (examples: AECOM, Jacobs, I'm sure there are others). These firms have both engineers and tech people, and some cases do research combining the two. You could immediately apply to an EIT role, but you could also get a job in the tech department, learn from those around you  (and see lots of areas of civil since those types of companies have many) and eventually request to get transferred to another division. An option like this would allow you to mitigate the pay cut you will take going from 10 years experience in tech to a starter position in civil, allow you to have access to many different areas of civil, gain valuable training (large companies usually offer more in training than small), and give you time to figure out where you want to go in this industry long-term.

    I would also highly encourage you to become active in your local ASCE Younger Members group (anyone on this thread from Chicago who can reach out?). Particularly as you are re-entering the field, the more people in civil engineering you can network with and learn from, the better.

    Welcome back to civil engineering!

    Stephanie Slocum P.E.
    Founder & CEO
    Engineers Rising LLC

  • 10.  RE: Reentering the Civil Engineering Profession

    Posted 03-21-2019 11:29 AM
    Hi Jamie,

    If you can leverage your experience as relevant to a job in the civil engineering industry, I would agree that a full-time position would be the best place to look. I am a member of the ASCE Younger Members Group in Chicago and if you'd like to chat further feel free to reach out to me. ASCE Younger Members Group and the overall local Illinois Section is a great place to network with other civil engineers, who could also provide a lot of guidance and potentially job opportunities. 

    Feel free to shoot me a message if you'd like to chat further.

    Adam Blumstein P.E. CFM, ENV SP, M.ASCE
    Chicago IL