I am so worried about my future!

<p>I am a junior in civil engineering at the University of Illinois. I've been worried about the job outlook, I did some research and came upon this thread: <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/engineering-majors/861013-civil-engineering-hazardous-your-career-prospects.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/engineering-majors/861013-civil-engineering-hazardous-your-career-prospects.html&lt;/a>
This has me worried because some say in the thread that the construction field currently has high unemployment rate, but then some are saying that the job prospect will get a lot better in the near future because a lot of old infrastructures need to be rebuild. </p>

<p>I have been thinking of switching to mechanical engineering, but our mechE department requires a really high GPA to get in because there are so many applicants. I have also thought of transferring to another university. The con is I may not get a free ride if I transfer to another school like I did here in U of I. And I have heard that we have one of the best structural program, so I maybe I should stay in civil E. What do you guys think? </p>

<p>Let's say that I will stay in civil engineering. I still have to choose a primary and a secondary concentration. I have been thinking of primary in structural and secondary in construction management. But I've read in several online forums and from friend that environmental maybe a hotter field currently(better job prospect) than structural or construction. I just can't decide on which concentration, this is killing me! </p>

<p>U of I offer the following concentrations:</p>

<p>construction engineering and management
Construction material
Transportation. </p>

<p>I think I will be graduating in 3 or 4 semesters.
What do you guys/girls think?</p>

<p>Construction has been hit very hard during the current recession. I wish I can give you good news, but I cannot. As far as whether there will be good job prospects in the future, nobody knows. My suggestion would be to try to get a job with the federal govt. or a defense contractor.</p>

<p>If civilE really is your passion, you should find a way to get things done and accomplish your goals. My industry (aerospace) is not doing so hot right now, but I have consistently made it my job while in school to leave all doors open, network, and work through the current economic times. If you keep yourself competitive and lucrative to potential employers, you’ll find a job, even in a struggling industry in the midst of a tough recession. Even if it’s not your dream job, you have to start somewhere.</p>

<p>With 3 or 4 semesters left, I think it’d be unwise to transfer and/or change majors, especially considering you currently have a full ride at an excellent engineering school.</p>

<p>what about the environmental field? How would you compare the job prospect for this filed to structure or construction by the time I graduate? (around late 2011 / early 2012).</p>

<p>I can understand your predicament. I’m a senior civil engineering major at the University of Maryland and I have 3 semesters before I graduate. I do not recommend changing your major at this point. You have a free ride so even if worst comes to worst, you still got a free degree. I changed my major 3 times and I can tell you it’s not fun jumping between majors. </p>

<p>You have two options before you:

  1. If your goal is to become a structural civil engineer, start looking for regions where the economy is getting better. The country is growing (slowly) economically, but it is quite uneven. California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona are still having lots of problems. The best bet would be to head for the Washington D.C. region or Texas. In D.C. you have the federal government and in Texas you have the oil industry. If you don’t mind leaving the country, try Australia or Canada. Their economies are healthier than the that of the U.S. and both are English-speaking. </p>

<li>If you are open to expanding your career horizons, note that an engineering degree means you can do more than just engineering. With an engineering degree you can go into business, consultant work, etc. What I’m doing is I’m planning on using my degree to go work in environmental policy in the federal government. Since I live in the D.C. area, it’s a good fit. The CivE department at my school is big on environmental sustainability. I figured that I can use this knowledge to possibly get into environmental policy work since the federal government is more focused on environmental/sustainability issues now. I might change my direction in the future if something better comes along, but for now I’m fine with this. </li>

<p>I know it’s easy to panic about these things so just remain calm. School is starting up again. Pick concentrations you can excel in, do well, network, and think about the possibilities.</p>

<p>Thanks for your input, sounds like currently environmental has better job outlook than structural/ construction. But I am more interested in designing structures.
What is it like in environmental Eng? Do you get to do any design work?</p>

<p>One more thing I want to say, I’ve only began to take the technical core courses this semester. I think I can still switch to industrial or agricultural. and graduate a little bit later. If it is really this hard to land a job with a civil E degree I may just have to change my major.</p>

<p>If you like designing structures, what about architecture?</p>

<p>And for consulting, that is a profession only open to those who go to top notch schools. They are very picky about who they hire, especially big name groups like McKinsey.</p>

<p>Is it true that you can do architect stuff with a civil E degree but not vice versa?</p>

<p>I haven’t taken any core EnvE classes yet so I don’t know about design work. I heard architecture is doing just as bad, if not worse than civil engineering. I even heard they are letting civil engineers take up the tasks architects do, which makes architects less desirable. Don’t take my word for it, that’s just what I heard. The same with consulting, I just heard people say engineers can become consultants. </p>

<p>If you really just want job security, you should have done accounting. People always need accountants.</p>

<p>No offense to accountants, but I imagine a career in engineering would be much more interesting than in accounting. I hate crunching numbers.</p>

<p>UIUC regularly pumps grads into the big consulting firms. It happens all the time.</p>

<p>You can’t really do architecture as a civil engineer and you can’t really do civil engineering as an architect. They are different fields for a reason, and there differences are why you often hear of disagreements between the architects and engineers on large projects.</p>

<p>Honestly, I think you ought to stick with civil if that is what you are interested in. UIUC has one of if not the best civil engineering pogram in the country, and despite te economy, is sill heavily recruited. It will definitely be harder to get a job than it was several years ago, but certainly not impossible. I admittedly onl had a few civil engineering friends when I was at UIUC, but none of them are unemployed. I graduated in May 2009, too, so the economy was definitely already in the tank.</p>

<p>Environmental engineers are in pretty high demand right now, but research it and know what you are getting into before you make a switch like that. It isn’t for everyone.</p>

<p>It is true that aging infrastructure should drive up demand for civil engineering, but given the current economic climate, there is no telling when that effect will begin to actually be felt. In the meantime, jobs in the field are somewhat harder to come by than most other engineering fields, though not impossible by any means assuming you are a good student.</p>

<p>Do you have any internship experience? That will help immensely if you do.</p>

<p>Do you have any tips on landing an internship? I am planning to attend all the engineering career fair this year. But all I have on my resume are summers job working in restaurants and in a photo company doing data entry and photo cropping. Nothing relevant to civil engineering or even engineering in general. I think there aren’t many companies hiring interns with no previous experience. :(</p>

<p>Go to ECS with your resume and have them help you spruce it up. They are very good at helping you highlight what good points you do have on your resume. You may need an appointment, so check the website first.</p>

<p>You can certainly help yourself by making sure you look recruiters in the eye and exuding confidence while you speak to them. ECS also does mock interviews where they can give you tips on this sort of thing as well. If you aren’t comfortable, you may consider doing one of these.</p>

<p>Last, don’t be picky. First and foremost, you need experience, and beggars can’t be choosers in this economy. Hit any company even remotely related to your interests. Even slightly related experience is still experience and can help when looking for a more desirable full-time job.</p>

<p>You may consider trig to get a job in a research group that interests you. That is definitely a resume builder, and while it isn’t a perfect substitute for an internship a far as jobs are concerned, it may be enough to get your foot in the door. On top of that, if you ever want to do grad school, research is worth even more than internships.</p>

<p>Like I said, ECS is your best resource. Their purpose is to help students find internships and jobs. Use tht resource liberally.</p>

<p>On your resume have any Academic Honors, Deans list, any Certifications, list of relevant classes and course work or future coursework. Any academic projects in your engineering classes that had you working in teams. List relevant computer programs you are familiar with and programming skills. List all work experience even if it is not related. Use key nouns and action verbs like “quickly advanced in the work place”. “Cooperated and communicated well with the engineering team”.
Successfully completed by deadline
Excelled beyond base criteria within alloted budget.</p>

<p>A lot of companies use systems that scan through hundreds of resumes for certain key phrases, nouns and action verbs so make sure you have them in there.</p>

<p>There is alot you can put on your resume that will make you seem desirable even if you do not have any actual civil experience. You’ve gotta start somewhere. I am also trying to get an internship with Conoccophilips or BP and the interviews are in 5 weeks but I have no prior intern experience.</p>



<p>??? Architecture is a totally different field from structural engineering. The vast majority of people who are engineers would not be good architects. Structural engineering is a lot of mathematical calculations and connection detailing. Architecture is artistic design and developing functional layouts. I was an excellent engineering student, but barely made a C in an architectural design class! I’m glad I took it, because now I understand and appreciate the work of architects more.</p>

<p>From what I can see, architects are hurting more right now than structural engineers. As engineers, we can get work in areas other than residential or commercial buildings - architects are more limited. Another consideration is that engineers are paid a good bit more than architects.</p>

<p>Switching from engineering to architecture would not be in your best interest, that would be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. With the economy struggling as it is, I understand your concern, but you have many good things in your favor: You are at a well ranked engineering school, you are benefitting from a good financial aid package at that school, you aren’t graduating for a while. Do what you do well - stick with the major that interests you. Go to your Career Services Center and work with them to build your resume and get an internship. If things aren’t getting better fast enough by the time you are 1 or 2 semesters from graduating, then you might consider staying in school another semester or year to add another certificate or minor to your degree if that is cost effective and if Career Services then thinks it would be in your best job search interests (you don’t want to be on the market too long without an offer, it doesn’t make you look good even though the economy is awful).</p>



<p>As boneh3ad said, don’t be picky. Look for a government job even though they may be low paying. I got my feet wet in this field working a summer for the state DOT at $9.42/hr in 2004. The experience was way more valuable than the paycheck and led to better jobs down the line.</p>



<p>Wow, I did the same thing, albeit in 2006. What a coincidence.</p>

<p>Via BLS</p>

<p>Civil engineers are expected to have employment growth of 24 percent over the projections decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. Spurred by general population growth and the related need to improve the Nation’s infrastructure, more civil engineers will be needed to design and construct or expand transportation, water supply, and pollution control systems, and buildings and building complexes. They also will be needed to repair or replace existing roads, bridges, and other public structures. Because construction industries and architectural, engineering, and related services employ many civil engineers, employment opportunities will vary by geographic area and may decrease during economic slowdowns, when construction is often curtailed.</p>

<p>^ Right, it just won’t start until the economy recovers. A decade is a long time.</p>