Getting into Structural Engineering
Sunna Hussain, 4th year Civil Engineering student, provides some handy tips and advice to help you on your journey to a career as a Structural Engineer.
So, the facts: Boasting a present total of 27000 members in 105 countries around the world, the Institute of Structural Engineers is mainly responsible for upholding professional standards and acting as an international voice for Structural Engineering. The Institute is a recognised source of expertise and information concerning all issues that involve structural engineering and public safety in the built environment.
Studying Civil Engineering gives you a large variety of options for the job role you hold in your future career and one of these is being a Structural Engineer. So what do they actually do? They’re responsible for the world’s most innovative structures – the Burj Khalifa, Beijing Bird’s Nest, and the Millau Viaduct to name only a few – but that’s only the start. They also provide disaster relief, structures that can withstand extreme weather and seismic activity, green buildings that tackle the challenges of climate change and creating a sustainable future, and the renovation of old listed buildings to ensure the safeguarding of heritage. Really, any structure you would see on a casual walk around town is attributed to structural engineers. They design, solve problems, meet regulations, keep the public safe, and are internationally recognised (always a bonus to be able to work abroad!).
So how do you become one? Well, you’ve made the first step by getting an offer for an accredited course at City University London. Next, you get to grow a wealth of experience and knowledge through your degree. This will be through one of your core modules, Structural Engineering, which will be supported by various design modules throughout the course, as well as the opportunity to apply for industrial placement(s). Then finally, you apply for the job!!
Here are some handy tips and advice to help you along the way.
Become a student member of the Institute of
Structural Engineers. It’s free and gives you access to many resources and services. Some things you’ll find particularly useful are having the full use of the Institute’s library, meeting recent graduates at industry events, taking part in student socials, meeting potential
employers, and boosting your employability profile.
Take advantage of City’s industry links. You’ll be exposed to industry throughout your degree through a variety of different design projects. These will often involve having consultations with or presenting to actual industry professionals and you’ll also have the opportunity to design for REAL LIFE projects which all culminates to giving you a glimpse of what life in industry will be like. In addition to this, there are always networking events and engineering fairs being run by the career’s team which allows you the opportunity to talk to industry professionals face to face. Lastly get involved in the Open Doors to Industry scheme, which bring a number of benefits including being able to make site visits.
Get an industrial placement. Having first hand practical experience in the industry you’re hoping to work in is invaluable. Not only do you get to apply and see your learnt knowledge in action, but also it gives you the opportunity to develop skills, both behavioral and technical, and have something concrete to talk about when applying for graduate roles. It also works as a great motivator for wanting to get through the degree, which you’ll feel like giving up on at times!
Join the Engineer’s Without Border’s Society.
This society is fairly new at university and is working to provide excellent opportunities for its members. It’s split into five main aspects – social, fundraising, international project, outreach in schools, and professional development – which means there’s something
for everyone. It will provide the opportunity for interaction with students in other years from who you can gain knowledge and advice about your degree or how to advance towards your career, as well as you being able to put your knowledge towards practical and beneficial functions in the form of presentations
and workshops for school goers or as a redevelopment project for a community overseas.
University is going to give you some of the best years of your life so enjoy it! You’re lucky to be a part of such a great establishment, so make full use of everything City has to offer, inside and outside of your degree. Stay focused and be involved! I wish you the best of luck on this journey. Design your future to design our future!