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Taking Programming and Data Infrastructure Courses for Career Advancement

  • 1.  Taking Programming and Data Infrastructure Courses for Career Advancement

    Posted 09-15-2020 07:08 PM
    Hi,

    This topic initiated by @Sean Ellis last year has become much more important as our industry is experiencing a big change due to the impact of CoVID pandemic, such that we have to figure out new technologies to deal with existing problems in virtual settings and with the same or even more efficient ways. Discussion Thread


    Similar to @Paul Lee, I have noticed many opportunities of saving project costs through design automation by creating coding scripts for the engineering designs. I also believe that programming skills (such as Python) will eventually become a must-have skills for Civil engineers in the future. Here are two free 1-hr introduction courses offered by a software education organization for those who might be interested in knowing more.

    1. Beginner Python for Geo-Professionals

    2. Why Visual Basic Scripting Matters so much in the Modern Working World? Attendees will learn a brief history of the digital #spreadsheet, what is happening in many industries to drive demand for the ability to write scripts in #VisualBasic for #Excel, several specific examples of this kind of value, and what can be done to build the skill.

    Date: Wed, September 30, 2020

    Time: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM CDT

    I look forward to hearing any experiences from you related to this topic.


    ​​

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    Silky S. K. Wong, Ph.D., S.E., P.E., CEng MICE, LEED AP
    ______________________
    Dow Inc - Central Engineering – Houston
    Lead Civil/Structural Engineer
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  • 2.  RE: Taking Programming and Data Infrastructure Courses for Career Advancement

    Posted 09-16-2020 09:55 AM
    Hi Silky,

    Thanks for the shoutout! I think coding has always been an important part of civil engineering. Finite-element analysis and the development of software packages have a programmed backend. I think coding and data science are now more accessible than ever before and its applications only limited by your imagination. For Los Angeles ASCE's 2020 awards, we had a large emphasis on big data applications. There are clear benefits of improved design and O&M for projects taking advantage of data analytics.

    Also, thanks for the share on the Python course, it looks like a great entry point for civil engineers!

    As for me, I've been tinkering with the programming language Julia. I've found myself needing a language that's faster than Python lately and Julia is able to provide that.

    Best,

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    Paul Lee P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineering Associate
    Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 3.  RE: Taking Programming and Data Infrastructure Courses for Career Advancement

    Posted 09-21-2020 12:46 PM
    As a veteran engineer (Moreso a program usuary) FORTRAN was demised quickly in light of C++, and at Berkeley they introduced a language called TcL for the finite element enthusiasts (of which I am not);  in light of it VBA has become useful, and intuitive.  I've seen a few programs by Python, however, most available products to the cafeteria workers are XML pointing to C and VB.

    Can you say something about the mainstream ties between XML of VB with C that would energetically motivate Python(Julia) with or without alarming the whistleblower?

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    Refugio Rochin P.E., M.ASCE
    Asst. Eng.1
    Naxutl, Inc.
    Albuquerque NM
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  • 4.  RE: Taking Programming and Data Infrastructure Courses for Career Advancement

    Posted 09-29-2020 07:42 AM
    @Refugio Rochin and @Paul Lee - That is wonderful to hear! I am working with ASCE's Career by Design team to discuss this topics further in a panel discussion setting during this December. I believe that our ASCE members should be given chances to learn more about the advantages of having programming skills in order to stand out and prepare for the digital age!  Silky                     ​​

    ------------------------------
    Silky S. K. Wong, Ph.D., S.E., P.E., CEng MICE, LEED AP
    ______________________
    The Dow Chemical Company
    Civil Engineering Department
    Lead Civil/Structural Engineer TES
    Central Engineering – Houston
    HDC Phone : 281-966-2077
    SSWong@...
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Taking Programming and Data Infrastructure Courses for Career Advancement

    Posted 12-01-2020 07:08 PM

    Dear Silky, 

    Thank you for the interesting topic. I am looking forward to the seminar tomorrow. 

    Even the haphazardly learned VBA, Python and MATLAB skills that I have often come in very handy in my career in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. I was surprised in my first two jobs by the fact that a lot of data management tasks with sampling and treatment plant SCADA data were done semi-manually by engineers, using spreadsheets as a writing pad and a calculator. This was ten years ago, so things may be different now.  I've used VBA to auto-calibrate models, automate calculations and reporting for NPDES permits, and Python to pre-process data for ArcGIS and SWMM. I am very excited to dive into programming more in my ever-continuing graduate studies. Languages that work with sensors (I've heard of Raspberry pi) and programming for numerical analysis (computational fluid dynamics) are the things I am only vaguely familiar with and would like to learn more about. What I miss the most is having someone with more programming experience to sanity-check what I'm doing and make suggestions, as it feels like I keep using a microscope as a hammer, so to speak. Online forums help on this front though. I've also found classes on Coursera helpful.  



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    Natalya Sokolovskaya P.E., M.ASCE
    Wynnewood PA
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  • 6.  RE: Taking Programming and Data Infrastructure Courses for Career Advancement

    Posted 12-01-2020 12:51 PM
    Thank you for bringing up this topic @Silky Wong! I've really enjoyed working with you to organize a special panel with @Burcin Becerik-Gerber, @Amit Joshi, and @Alexander McCaskill to dive deeper into this topic on Thursday, December 3 at 3 pm ET. Thank you for all your work putting this together.

    I invite everyone to register here! ​​​​If you have any questions you would like to see discussed feel free to share them in this thread. I hope you can join us!

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    Tirza Austin
    Manager, Online Community
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive
    Reston, VA 20191
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  • 7.  RE: Taking Programming and Data Infrastructure Courses for Career Advancement

    Posted 12-03-2020 05:03 PM
    Thank you to everyone who attended today's panel discussion! It was a very fun fun and I learned a lot!

    Mario Ricozzi had a very good question near the very end of the session:
    "As AI continues to develop, what do you see as the Ethical Obligation for the Engineer of Record in relying on the AI data."

    I would say the ethical obligation of the Engineer of Record with regard to AI would be to ensure that the conclusions are accurate and complete. Data science/AI is a tool,  just like any other engineering analysis program. The Engineer of Record is ultimately responsible for ensuring that their design maintains and ensures the safety, health, and welfare of the public, regardless of the method used to arrive at the answer. I have yet to see any state licensing board grant a P.E. license to smart computer program, and I don't see this happening anytime soon. As Burcin said in the panel discussion, the human side will always be important - no matter how the technology develops.


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    Alexander McCaskill A.M.ASCE
    Geotechnical Engineer
    Kansas City MO
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  • 8.  RE: Taking Programming and Data Infrastructure Courses for Career Advancement

    Posted 12-03-2020 05:08 PM
    Thank you @Alexander McCaskill for sharing the question. I wanted to post a second question that we didn't get to in this thread. @Amit Joshi, @Alexander McCaskill, @Burcin Becerik-Gerber looking forward to hearing your thoughts on these questions!

    Question: Will any of you see the possibility of having an one click button to have auto transfer of information from one analysis model to other tools? For example, from Etabs to SAP to Excel to Access, or from Etabs/SAP to BIM models?

    Thank you @Mario Ricozzi and @Silky Wong for great questions. ​​​​​ ​Hoping we can continue the conversation here!

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    Tirza Austin
    Manager, Online Community
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive
    Reston, VA 20191
    ------------------------------