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Re: career question

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Dear Andrew,
                   Thanks a lot for your 'two cents' !! As of now, I have planned to go in for MS and that means I see my future in USA as of now. Secondly, I have interest in working on both smaller and bigger projects and that is a issue to be resolved later in life.
Please suggest to me what should be done for now ? I mean with respect to what projects should I take ? On which fields of SE can I work now or take experience in ?


On Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 10:04 PM, Andrew Kester <akester74(--nospam--at)> wrote:
Two things for a student to consider:
 I have never been to India, but I know a little bit about it. Despite
recent boom times and a growing economy, the infrastructure is
woefully inadequate for its immense population. There is likely going
to be a tremendous need for infrastructure improvements which would
include lots of engineering jobs. But the same may be said for
buildings also, not sure but I would assume.

I know a lot of educated Indians emigrate, and if you plan on doing
so, you may want to consider the country you are considering going to
and their market sectors, and projected future demands. Australia may
have more of a growth sector in buildings and the UK may have more
transportation needs... (A made up example.) The US will probably need
all types of engineers with our aging infrastructure and the fact
there are less students entering engineering and a aging and soon to
be retiring work force.

2. Personally, I chose buildings (and smaller misc structures) because
I like architecture and buildings. Yes, there are some artistic
elements in bridges, but we cannot all work with Calatrava or other
premiere bridge engineering projects. You may be doing lots of
overpasses and retaining walls, not that there is anything wrong with
that. Also, you can work for yourself pretty easily as a structural
engineer doing buildings and misc. structures, or for a small firm. I
cannot imagine doing a whole lot of bridge engineering by yourself
unless as a specialty consultant. Finally, as I understand
transportation projects, they get broken up into small pieces, and you
are a member of an engineering team. You may be designing bolted
connections or pile caps for a year or more. The same could be said I
suppose for large structures of any variety, like high rise and
stadiums. I know this is not completely accurate as with experience
you may become a jack of all trades or a project manager...

I prefer doing most of an entire project myself, working with the
architect, and a larger turnover of projects. This is subjective of
course and my personal taste. Also, a huge percentage of structures in
the US are three stories or less, so this is advantageous
economically. And you can live in a smaller town and practice this
type of engineering more so than working for a large firm doing big

This is USA-centric of course, and may not apply to the business of
engineering as practiced in India. I am aware in smaller towns and
villages the structures there are limited greatly by economics and
therefore the demand for engineering of smaller buildings in India may
not exist.

Just like with most things in life, there are balances and sacrifices
between economic realities and what you truly want to do...

Just my two cents!

Andrew Kester, PE
Florida, USA

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