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Switching Specialties

  • 1.  Switching Specialties

    Posted 12-14-2020 05:40 PM

    Hi ASCE members,

    I am interested in switching to a different focus. Does anyone have advice for this move? Is there anyone that has that would like to give helpful advice on how I can prepare myself for this different chapter in my life? 


    Oanh Le (She/Her)
    Rochdale MA

  • 2.  RE: Switching Specialties

    Posted 12-15-2020 09:11 AM
    Hi, Oanh.

    I'm not sure what your timing is on the switch, but you and others beginning or transitioning to a new career path might find ASCE's new "Career Discovery Series" helpful.  The first segment, "Explore Engineering Careers in Public Agencies" is scheduled to air on Thursday, January 28, 2021.  It will be followed by 4 more monthly segments exploring civil engineering careers in consulting, education, construction, and industry.  Panelists who talk about their experiences in those career paths will answer viewers' questions at the end of each segment.  Look for more details and a sign-up link in ASCE's news and this site in January.

    Best regards,
    Becky Waldrup, P.E., M.ASCE
    ASCE Senior Manager, Government Engineer Programs

    Becky Waldrup P.E., M.ASCE
    Senior Manager, Professional Activities
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    Reston VA

  • 3.  RE: Switching Specialties

    Posted 12-15-2020 09:12 AM
    It depends on what kind of shift you are trying to do. It could be as simple as starting at the bottom. Obviously, you want to have some basic KSE (Knowledge, skills, and experience) in that focus. My initial background was as a technician in transportation engineering. In college I focused on structural engineering and afterwards got an entry level job for several years in structural engineering of buildings. Then I switched back to transportation engineering, again starting back at entry level. Nothing much to prepare for although if you are deficient in all of KSE in that focus, you may want to take some coursework to put on your resume. Even taking on a different position in the same focus; design vs project management is going to mean a step down in pay or job level but the breadth of experience will be better in the long run. Honestly, I think every civil engineer should have broad KSE.

    Yance Marti P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer IV
    City of Milwaukee
    Milwaukee WI

  • 4.  RE: Switching Specialties

    Posted 04-15-2021 04:24 PM
    Overtime, I think I have found that a culture fit has been more beneficial. I want to keep note of the KSE because I think that is a fundamental skill all companies need.

    Thank you Mr. Marti,
    Oanh Le

    Oanh Le, A.M.ASCE (She/Her)
    Rochdale, MA

  • 5.  RE: Switching Specialties

    Posted 12-18-2020 09:32 AM

    Hi @Oanh Le its a great thing to ask as you used networks such ASCE organizationto to help you. When you are a professional engineer for example it's easily overwhelmed by these variety of opportunities and some of us wonder where do I belong? Meanwhile asking professional engineers in my contacts about the best fields of Civil Engineering, many of these professionals advises that every single field is a good experience, it comes to a conclusion that it depends to:

    1. Knowing your Passion. 
    2. Knowing your vision and mission. Own perspective of what kind of people you wanted to be surrounded with or having the same working perspective as a company. 
    3. Knowing your Goals. It can be growth, proactiveness, and financial. 

    In my case I found the Oil and Gas Industry interesting, since  before it was part of the century industry, we can see creation and moving commodities, services, and daily needs by the help of petroleum. Although this field specifically needs petroleum engineers, it also exceeds extensions to other professional engineers like civil engineers. Below you can see job market for a civil engineer and also can have interconnected with the oil and gas industry, while you can also check the website below for other engineering job market:

    Civil Designer & Drafter Jobs

    Civil Engineer Jobs

    Controls Engineer Jobs

    Design Engineer Jobs

    Designer Jobs

    Drafter Jobs

    Engineering Manager Jobs

    Environmental Engineer Jobs

    Facilities Engineer Jobs

    Geotechnical Engineer Jobs

    Hardware Engineer Jobs

    Highway Design Engineer Jobs

    Land Development Engineer Jobs

    Materials Engineer Jobs

    Pipeline Engineer Jobs

    Piping Designer Jobs

    Project Engineer Jobs

    Structural Drafter Jobs

    Structural Engineer Jobs

    Transportation Engineer Jobs

    Wastewater Engineer Jobs


    I hope you find it interesting also but you know there is also a lot of industry out there. 

    Llala Chrishaye S. Ocampo, S.M.ASCE

    Philippines, General Trias, Cavite, 4107

    Brgy. Pasong Kawayan II, Blk 20 L 5 South Square Village

    [email protected]

    Philippine No:+639063147796

    Llala Chrishaye Ocampo S.M.ASCE
    City of General Trias Cavite

  • 6.  RE: Switching Specialties

    Posted 12-21-2020 11:08 AM
      |   view attached

    Oanh's Career Planning[1]

    First, some unbundling of our language's intent.

    For example, what we are doing is not who we are,

    but simply what we are doing. . . .at this time.

    For example, Tom Hanks worked as a hotel bellman carrying bags

    at a hotel before he entered the acting profession.

    Go to pages 13 to 22 of the attachment and consider the suggestions and processes

    Illustrated in Fig. 1 to 4.

    And recall that the path(s) others took, while it worked for them, may not be what

    your life's purpose is for you.

    I liken the pursuit of a life that matters, after considering various options, to be

    the result of the planning, design, and implementation of the "Pilgrim" that will

    make that journey.

    Stay Healthy!



    p.s. OK, a personal note. Before making your final decision(s), each time ask yourself

    "What value will this add to the lives of others?"

    [1] "Career Planning Process and Its Role in Human Resource Development," Eliza Antoniu, 2010. p.13 to 22,

    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880


    p13-22 Career Planning.pdf   6.69 MB 1 version

  • 7.  RE: Switching Specialties

    Posted 04-15-2021 04:25 PM
    Hi Bill!

    I hope you are well. I am reading through the page 13- page 22 section. I think this journal does not really consider the real environment that some employees face. The  complex and dynamic social structure that take place, makes it difficult for people to navigate through especially during a pandemic. This article talks about the development and planning of an individual career plan from a company owners/organizations perspective, but I have found that businesses prefer people who already have softskills and do not want to invest much in fostering softskills in employees who don't have it. Businesses develop through exchanging business cards and when it comes to career planning in businesses, I haven't really experienced much of it to really elaborate. Companies want their employees to be adaptable and versatile and some of the goals that they set and change are unrealistic in systematic planning. When there is a need to reorganize, it keeps a lot of people out and as a result, many lose their jobs.

    I have seen people do this where it is tempting to badmouth one another to fill in empty or awkward silence if that's the only way they can find something to agree on, but when real ethical dilemmas occur, someone has to make heads or tails of it. I think that may be part of the reason why there is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee now. It's easy to talk about people when they are not around, but I try my best to treat people as if they are around even if they aren't.

    I guess for me, your article has helped to see things from an HR perspective.

    Thanks for writing, hope to hear more from you.

    Thank you,
    Oanh Le, A.M.ASCE

    Oanh Le, A.M.ASCE (She/Her)
    Rochdale, MA