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RE: Future Structural Engineer

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I was in sort of the same boat as you when I got out of school in 1995.
There were no jobs (seemingly) in structural unless you met all of the
following criteria:

a) You had 5 years min. experience and had a California SE License
b) You had a masters degree from Cal or Stanford
c) You knew Etabs and SAP.

I had none of those and my GPA was far from stellar (mostly attributable to
beer and the OJ Trial more so than personal family issues). I did have one
advantage and that was I knew CAD very well (or so I thought). I decided to
work as a draftsman until I could prove myself competent and I also went to
graduate school at night, part time, at the local state university. About a
year later, I was doing engineering, people were hiring anybody with a
degree from any school you ever heard of, and I had honed a valuable skill
that has served me well in my career.

Therefore, my advice to you is to learn a skill that most engineers don't
have, that could be CAD Drafting (as in my case) or perhaps networking or
computer maintenance skills that allows a firm to take a risk on you and
eliminate two positions with one person. Of course, if engineering is your
career goal, stress the fact in the interview process that you expect to be
doing engineering in xyz months.

Good luck\,

Gerard Madden, PE
Design Group Manager

Duquette Engineering
10 South Third Street
San Jose, CA 95113
T: 408.494.0944 - ext 102
F: 408.494.0940
E: gmadden(--nospam--at)

-----Original Message-----
From: Phillip Rogers [mailto:perogers(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 9:44 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Future Structural Engineer

Hello all,

I am a graduate with a BS in Civil/Structural
engineering.  I have been out of school for about 9
months trying very hard to find a job in the
structural area.  This is my emphasis and strong
interest.  I am very frustrated with my inability to
find a job.  

When I first graduated I was waiting on a hiring
freeze for nearly 5 months to begin working with a
company.  The freeze was never lifted.  This process
was repeated about 2 more times.  Thus my past 9
months have been a waste.  Of course hindsite is
20/20, and I wish that I had taken some kind of job. 
But, I have always had a strong job lead that has
prevented me from making any commitments to a job.    

My dilema is this.  I know I have a lot to offer. 
However, my GPA was fairly low (2.6)and I have been
out of work.  But I have kept myself busy with
visiting family, job search, college math tutoring,
learning structural software, and volunteering my
services to painting some murals for a church.  I am
worried how all this makes me look.  How do I present
myself to potential employers and overshadow these
negative points that are not indicative of the kind of
person/worker that I am.

The GPA subject has been a sensitive one for me.  I
know that my abilities and work ethic are much better
than that.  I encountered some very personal
situations (not due to any irresponsibility of my own)
outside of school that required me to be out of town
alot and was a hinderance to my studies.  Of my 9
semesters in school, 2 semesters are what caused my
grades to plummet.  The other 7 were pretty good. 
If I am asked about my grades, how do I present myself
as much better than my GPA shows, without looking like
I am making excuses.  I feel like there is no engineer
out there who understands what I am talking about. 
Did every engineer cruise through college without
facing any obstacles outside of the classroom? 
Throughout school I was a strong A-B student when it
came to projects and assignments.  But as you all know
that accounts for very little of a course grade.  

I am an entry level candidate with no structural
engineering related experience.  I have summer
experience as survey/site draftsman and in the general
non-technical business sector.  

I have 2 interviews scheduled over the next 5 business
days for positions that I am very interested in.  The
structural engineering market seems to be picking up
some in my area of the country, finally.  

Any advice, for this longwinded message. 


Phil Rogers, EI    

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