Hopeless Civil Engineer

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Topic Author
mooudn
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:28 am

Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by mooudn » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:11 pm

Hi guys,

I went to college for Civil Engineering thinking that I'd be making good money, but i'm 10 years in the consulting business and I'm still only making 70-80k and that's after joining the top civil engineering firm in my industry. I thought about going back to school to get a degree like law to give my career a boost, but most law programs prefer engineers in electrical of computer sciences.

What degree can i get to supplement my MSc in civil engineering that would give me a significant salary boost? Any ideas would be appreciated. Ideally something in the life sciences (wildlife, plant protection etc) combined with my engineering skills would be desirableas it would be more in line with my natural interests.

:sharebeer

sailaway
Posts: 1636
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by sailaway » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:14 pm

At $80k you are making the average civil engineer salary and above the median household income, so you are making good money.

Going into wildlife management probably isn't going to help, but have you looked into parks planning? Maybe what you really need is a change of scenery, rather than a change of salary.

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gwe67
Posts: 251
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by gwe67 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:22 pm

You aren't earning what you could after 10 years and a master's degree. At this point, you should be in a supervisory role at the very least. Ask your superiors and peers for some candid feedback to learn what is holding you back.
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livesoft
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by livesoft » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:26 pm

Presumably, you have your P.E. and now you need to start managing other P.E.'s in order to increase your worth to your employer and get higher compensation. Or you need to become a rainmaker and bring in business for your employer. If you get good at those things, then you start your own firm.
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random_walker_77
Posts: 977
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by random_walker_77 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:26 pm

Hmm, 10 years w/ the top CE consulting firm in your industry... so I presume you've got a PE and a lot of contacts. Do you think you've mastered the technical skills well enough to hang out your own shingle and start your own firm? (I'd guess that you have the technical chops by this point)

Do you feel like you've learned enough about how to market and sell your services? You're necessarily only getting a fraction of the revenues you bring in today. You might not be able to charge as much under your own firm's branding, but you get to keep all of the profits. If you're not quite ready yet, pay attention and try to learn about how to effectively market and sell your services. Think about who you'd want to call on as subcontractors, who you might want to hire, and what complementary skills you'd need to either develop yourself or hire.

The surest way to make a lot more money is to become the boss, build a firm, hire a team, and take a cut off of the revenue that your team brings in. Then it's not about you making the money, but rather your people making money for you.

Not many people with the technical skills have the corresponding business skills to build a firm, but after a decade of consulting for a prestigious firm, you might find that you've got the skills and contacts to take a crack at it. If not, do consider if you could position yourself to launch something like that in the near-to-medium term.

adamthesmythe
Posts: 3501
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by adamthesmythe » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:30 pm

Is there a path to partner at your present firm?

If not, maybe move to a smaller one where there is a path.

bluebolt
Posts: 1170
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:01 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by bluebolt » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:31 pm

Ok, don't have anything to add to the topic at hand, but hopefully this classic commercial will make you smile:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdAXq3N2JmE

superinvestor
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:51 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by superinvestor » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:32 pm

If you go back to school for two years, that's 160k in lost income. Assuming 7.5% gains perpetually, that's about 680k compounded over 20 years. Not factoring in the cost of school. Is another degree going to pay itself off?

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geerhardusvos
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Location: heavenlies

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by geerhardusvos » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:40 pm

superinvestor wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:32 pm
If you go back to school for two years, that's 160k in lost income. Assuming 7.5% gains perpetually, that's about 680k compounded over 20 years. Not factoring in the cost of school. Is another degree going to pay itself off?
+1

Keep investing, both in the market and in your skill sets and in your network, and a better opportunity may present itself. In the meantime, hopefully you can save between 20 and 30% of your take-home pay to continue down the path of financial freedom. Hopeless is a strong word and I find it dramatic and pretty annoying that you would consider your situation hopeless. Hopeless is not being able to find work because you don’t have any skill sets and habitual poor life decisions. Keep working hard, keep being patient, keep focusing on what matters, and you will continue to grow over time.
VTSAX and chill

Cyanide123
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun May 05, 2019 9:14 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Cyanide123 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:48 pm

mooudn wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:11 pm
Hi guys,

I went to college for Civil Engineering thinking that I'd be making good money, but i'm 10 years in the consulting business and I'm still only making 70-80k and that's after joining the top civil engineering firm in my industry. I thought about going back to school to get a degree like law to give my career a boost, but most law programs prefer engineers in electrical of computer sciences.

What degree can i get to supplement my MSc in civil engineering that would give me a significant salary boost? Any ideas would be appreciated. Ideally something in the life sciences (wildlife, plant protection etc) combined with my engineering skills would be desirableas it would be more in line with my natural interests.

:sharebeer
M.D. 4 year opportunity cost, so 280k. Followed by roughly a 15-20k opportunity cost for 3-5 years during residency depending on specially. But then you basically can make $300-500k depending on choice of specialty, but you'll have to stay away from the lower paying specialties like peds, family med which pay around 200-230k. I personally work 12 days a month and bring home ~$450k for now based on current 1099 contract as a physician. I paid off medical school debt in 8 months and now I'm saving $15-20k monthly.

I would never pick having a J.D. over an M.D. Pretty much almost the same amount of schooling for significantly less pay off unless you become a big shot.

Edit: the easiest way to probably increase salaries to reach 100k+ will be to just change jobs. A lot of engineers see a bumped pay just by job hopping.
Last edited by Cyanide123 on Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
LiveSimple
Posts: 1626
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by LiveSimple » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:53 pm

If you completed Civil Engineering, then you can complete a M.S in data science or data engineering, the job market is hot and you can make $150 K in any city.

https://www.mastersindatascience.org

Research here for the best school that suits you or at least get the information and see what suits you in a school in your state / city.

https://www.udacity.com/school-of-data-science


If you want to work on your own pace, then https://www.udacity.com/school-of-data-science and apply, apply and get a job, after three months you are all set.

Another cheaper option will be https://www.udacity.com/school-of-data-science

Here a snippet from the top headhunter
https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/salarie ... ed-to-know

From indeed, the job portal site
https://www.indeed.com/career/data-scientist/salaries

( Within years, you will feel that you are one of the over qualified resources, in your team, if you join the Fortune 500 companies, ( not the tech companies) )

Still in doubt, research and ask clarifications....
Last edited by LiveSimple on Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ChicagoC
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:49 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by ChicagoC » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:10 pm

Former environmental engineer who worked in consulting for 10 years. I went off (while working) and got my MBA and ultimately left to go in house. But that fit my skill set, I was always better at the strategic side than the technical engineering. You need to figure out what your skills are and what you enjoy doing. If you want to be a technical expert, go get an advanced technical decree, if you want to get into management, consider an MBA (not that you need an MBA to be successful in management, you can learn the business other ways).

If you want to stay in consulting look around for other jobs. I found that was the easiest way for folks to increase compensation in consulting.

As for law, surprised that programs care too much what Your specific undergrad degree is. See no reason was a civil engineer can’t be a successful lawyer. A computer science or EE might be better suited if wanted to get into IP law, but that goes back to figuring out what you want to do.

A final note on law, I think there is a huge Income difference between those who go work for top law firms and he rest of the pack. Where you go and how well you do matter. You can spend a lot of money but if you aren’t at a good program and/or top of your class, I would not bank on getting into big law.

WardnerMan
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:22 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by WardnerMan » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:19 pm

If you went to work for a public utility, you could earn enough credits to collect a pension and likely improve your eventual retirement situation. Working for a public entity takes a different mindset vs working for a private one.

RocketShipTech
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:08 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by RocketShipTech » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:20 pm

Top tier MBA, then management consulting.

$200k total comp to start.

tibbitts
Posts: 10501
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by tibbitts » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:25 pm

gwe67 wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:22 pm
You aren't earning what you could after 10 years and a master's degree. At this point, you should be in a supervisory role at the very least. Ask your superiors and peers for some candid feedback to learn what is holding you back.
I'm not a civil engineer, but I think and several other posts reflect the "every Boglehead is far above average" mentality that we have around here.

What I've seen in businesses over the last few decades is that where there was once a supervisor for every ten workers, that became one for every twenty, then thirty... and on and on. I've seen lots of supervisors becoming individual contributors, including ones with M-degrees. And not because of poor performance.

So it may well be that nothing within his control is holding the OP back. After thirty-five years in my career (technical, but not civil engineering, admittedly), I was making the same amount the OP was. I'd been a supervisor (early on - after only a few years) and frankly earning more decades ago in inflation-adjusted salary than I was at the end. But I wasn't the greatest at what I did, and even if I had been, what I did became less well-compensated over time.

JackoC
Posts: 1347
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by JackoC » Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:01 pm

RocketShipTech wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:20 pm
Top tier MBA, then management consulting.
$200k total comp to start.
Ten yrs out you're looking at somewhere between quite long and lottery odds of pulling off both those steps unless a complete superstar in which case the person wouldn't still be making 5 figures in the original career. Even 10yrs into a career various doors have closed, including the complete reinvention via MBA>instant-high-pay job at prestige firm. Which you may well realize and be kidding, but hard to tell on the internet so sorry if I didn't get it.

That doesn't make the situation 'hopeless' obviously, that seems really pessimistic. But realistic plans would stick closer to home in engineering, meaning depends more on the person's specific skills which are hard to assess unless you do very close to the same thing, and actually know the person.

RocketShipTech
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:08 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by RocketShipTech » Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:21 pm

JackoC wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:01 pm
RocketShipTech wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:20 pm
Top tier MBA, then management consulting.
$200k total comp to start.
Ten yrs out you're looking at somewhere between quite long and lottery odds of pulling off both those steps unless a complete superstar in which case the person wouldn't still be making 5 figures in the original career. Even 10yrs into a career various doors have closed, including the complete reinvention via MBA>instant-high-pay job at prestige firm. Which you may well realize and be kidding, but hard to tell on the internet so sorry if I didn't get it.

That doesn't make the situation 'hopeless' obviously, that seems really pessimistic. But realistic plans would stick closer to home in engineering, meaning depends more on the person's specific skills which are hard to assess unless you do very close to the same thing, and actually know the person.
The path I suggested requires the following:

1. Steady career progression at a top firm (of any industry)
2. GMAT of 700+
3. A willingness to take out $200k worth of loans

OP can tell us how likely this is.

Age is not really a factor. At least 20% of my MBA class was over 30.

Olemiss540
Posts: 1387
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:46 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Olemiss540 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:47 pm

How about trying one of the bottom ranked civil engineering firms in your industry.

Change.

Jobs.

As a Civil Engineer, my comp has increased two fold due to job changes. You either need to force their hand by bluffing or be ready to jump ship and market yourself. Nothing anyone has done but you.
I hold index funds because I do not overestimate my ability to pick stocks OR stock pickers.

tashnewbie
Posts: 332
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:44 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by tashnewbie » Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:56 pm

I’m sorry you feel hopeless. Your situation as you’ve described it is far from that in truth, despite how you may feel. Do you think some therapy would be valuable to help you see your situation more clearly and objectively? I don’t know you so I don’t know if that’s something that’s even remotely needed, but don’t be ashamed if it’s something you need.

I think you could start by evaluating why you want to earn more money. Is it because you want to retire “early?” The truth is that your income is above average. Are you married? Kids? If you’re single and live in a lower COLA, you could probably afford to max your 401k and a Roth IRA each year and retire in 15-20 years, depending on how the markets do.

After figuring out why you want to earn more and what you really value, I’d honestly assess your skill set and knowledge base. At your age, unless you really just want more education or have a passion for an occupation that you need a degree for (e.g., medicine, law), I don’t think more formal education is the answer. I might make an exception for a program that could be done at night and on the weekends, while you continue to work your regular job. I think changing jobs or positions is going to be your best bet to get more money quickly without the opportunity cost of going back to school. I was in a similar position as you when I was 33, albeit in a different occupation, and I significantly increased my earnings by changing jobs. Maybe it means getting a government job that’d make you eligible for a pension after 20-25 years (you’d still be an early retiree), and possibly also include a salary increase.

At the end of the day, I think you’re fine whether you decide to refocus and retool yourself as an engineer and change jobs and/or positions, or go back to school. Good luck!

delamer
Posts: 10093
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by delamer » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:05 pm

LiveSimple wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:53 pm
If you completed Civil Engineering, then you can complete a M.S in data science or data engineering, the job market is hot and you can make $150 K in any city.

https://www.mastersindatascience.org

Research here for the best school that suits you or at least get the information and see what suits you in a school in your state / city.

https://www.udacity.com/school-of-data-science


If you want to work on your own pace, then https://www.udacity.com/school-of-data-science and apply, apply and get a job, after three months you are all set.

Another cheaper option will be https://www.udacity.com/school-of-data-science

Here a snippet from the top headhunter
https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/salarie ... ed-to-know

From indeed, the job portal site
https://www.indeed.com/career/data-scientist/salaries

( Within years, you will feel that you are one of the over qualified resources, in your team, if you join the Fortune 500 companies, ( not the tech companies) )

Still in doubt, research and ask clarifications....
This is good advice.

High-level math skills are in demand.

Topic Author
mooudn
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:28 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by mooudn » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:41 pm

Thanks for everyone's input. I realize saying I'm hopeless may come across as a really snobby thing to say but that really wasn't my intention. Am I grateful for the job security geotechnical/civil engineering has offered me over the past decade? of course. Am i happy that my job allows me to travel and provides a combination of office/sitework? definitely. The hoplessness comes from comparing the amount of effort I put into my work everyday and what I get in return with other friend's situations in other engineering fields. They seem to be in less demanding jobs but still manage to earn six figure salaries and live pretty comfortable lives. The truth is living single in an expensive cosmopolitan city, the 80k jus doesnt do it...I still have to think twice about whether I want to spend $20 on an uber ride and I just don't want to have to worry about things like that at age 34 .

a bit more background...technically I'm sound but I wouldnt call myself extraordinary or even above average. I have good numerical modeling skills that are in demand in the mining world and more complex infrastructure/tunneling projects. I haven't been with my current company too long...I've jumped ships a few times and worked in international offices in Australia and Canada on oil and gas as well as infrastructure projects. They way I describe my current office is that it feels like a landfill of everything geotechnical..i manage and give technical delivery on small to medium sized projects with a very short turnaround window (couple months max start to finish). I'm often juggling multiples projects at one time (anything from a surficial slope stability issue to a bridge piling job over soft clay) and feel like a robot just cranking the wheel and producing reports, solving small to medium ground risk issues as they come through the pipeline.

Some folks suggested starting my own business. I dont feel confident enough to do that. ground engineering is one of those fields that relies heavily on internal review, experience and judgement. I'm dealing with naturally occuring material that doesn't always follow mathematical relationships, unlike steel and concrete. we try our best to give soil/rock engineering parameters to describe them in a mathematical way but reality is that we are usually plus or minus 20% off target. To manage this risk we carry pretty good insurance but also rely heavily on internal reviews by often multiple engineers each with a slightly different background. Going out on my own would feel like a huge liability as I feel like i need fellow colleagues to consult with on a regular basis. I also don't have a lot of contacts to market my business to, having moved around the globe so much.

Having said that, folks start their own companies al the time in geotechnical engineering despite the risk. I'm sure they hire they right people to make it work. I just feel like if you start a new business in this field, you're going to be a bottom feeder and go after small profit margin jobs that aren't that exciting (think sewer replacement job). I don't think I'd be happy working on low profile projects having worked on multi billion dollar construction jobs and feeling the rush it brings.

What I know about myself is that I want to live life to the fullest and to me that means sampling as much as I can from what the world has to offer as opposed to going deep into one area or field. Ideally I would like the change to be as close as possible to my current field (eg requiring a MSc degree rather than starting from scratch with a BSc) while giving me a change of scenery. I feel like part of the reason i am behind and not in supervisory role is a) i've jumped ship three times already from one country to the other, one type of market to the other and this has forced me to have to re-start parts of m career each time and b) because i dont 100% love what i do, my mind and heart isn't into it, so I'm not fully applying myself to my job to excel and climb the ladder. I'm basically doing the minimum required and going home looking forward to working on my other hobbies that aren't work related.

to summarize i think i want to make a shift into something a little different (or maybe drastically) so i can experience something new... I'm really tired of dealing with crotch scratching, chain smoking, cat calling contractors. I also want a salary boost to live more comfortably. As a single person it's getting harder and harder to carry the cost of everything by myself. I think my natural interests are something to do with animals/plants and human psychology/behavior but knowing that going into these fields will mean a salary cut, i've been reluctant to pursue any further.

edit: some folks had asked about my marketable skills.. I would say technical delivery, good communication skills, pretty adaptable in any environment. I've moved across the glob a few times and even worked in the middle east and bermuda and I'm very good at adapting to new and very different environments and delivering projects.

Please feel free to criticize my way of thinking! I'd like to be enlightened if im seeing things in a very narrow minded or rigid way.

Cheers

SB1234
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by SB1234 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:22 pm

random_walker_77 wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:26 pm
Hmm, 10 years w/ the top CE consulting firm in your industry... so I presume you've got a PE and a lot of contacts. Do you think you've mastered the technical skills well enough to hang out your own shingle and start your own firm? (I'd guess that you have the technical chops by this point)

Do you feel like you've learned enough about how to market and sell your services? You're necessarily only getting a fraction of the revenues you bring in today. You might not be able to charge as much under your own firm's branding, but you get to keep all of the profits. If you're not quite ready yet, pay attention and try to learn about how to effectively market and sell your services. Think about who you'd want to call on as subcontractors, who you might want to hire, and what complementary skills you'd need to either develop yourself or hire.

The surest way to make a lot more money is to become the boss, build a firm, hire a team, and take a cut off of the revenue that your team brings in. Then it's not about you making the money, but rather your people making money for you.

Not many people with the technical skills have the corresponding business skills to build a firm, but after a decade of consulting for a prestigious firm, you might find that you've got the skills and contacts to take a crack at it. If not, do consider if you could position yourself to launch something like that in the near-to-medium term.
I think this is the best advice. One of my friends is a Civil engineer, and after a few years, probably 10, he started his own firm in a very niche civil engineering design consulting.

Cycle
Posts: 1643
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 7:57 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Cycle » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:38 pm

My brother got his mba, now does municipal bonds, investment banking.

Still has his pe...

I have no idea how much he makes
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

tibbitts
Posts: 10501
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by tibbitts » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:46 pm

mooudn wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:41 pm
...because i dont 100% love what i do, my mind and heart isn't into it, so I'm not fully applying myself to my job to excel and climb the ladder. I'm basically doing the minimum required and going home looking forward to working on my other hobbies that aren't work related.

...knowing that going into these fields will mean a salary cut, i've been reluctant to pursue any further.
You've just described the lives of 98% of the population, most of whom are earning less than you doing what they only partly want to do.

sjl333
Posts: 117
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:59 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by sjl333 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:09 pm

Hey OP,

Sorry if this is too blunt - and please don't take this the wrong way - but your salary is extremely low for an engineer with 10+ years. I'm not in civil but my buddy is in HR for a civil engineering firm that focuses on structural engineering , people with S.E. licenses and he told me these engineers are making 250k+. That was two years ago.i think they have had layoffs recently though due to covid.

Your obviously doing something wrong and if you don't change .. you will be penny pinching most of your life. You either need to move up the ladder or switch to a more high paying profession. It's going to require tons of work and sacrifice. Don't start too late or else it will be too late.

You Need to find some motivation and drive to push you forward.

I know it's not great to compare , try not too , just use it as reference .. but CS guys with 10 years in SV are easily making 250k - 500k. I'm 9 years in aerospace and Im making 400k+. Seems like for you , it's a combination of not hustling enough and probably your field ( low paying ). Figure out a plan and work your butt off, just my two cents. Sorry to be so blunt .

SB1234
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by SB1234 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:13 pm

mooudn wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:41 pm
Thanks for everyone's input. I realize saying I'm hopeless may come across as a really snobby thing to say but that really wasn't my intention. Am I grateful for the job security geotechnical/civil engineering has offered me over the past decade? of course. Am i happy that my job allows me to travel and provides a combination of office/sitework? definitely. The hoplessness comes from comparing the amount of effort I put into my work everyday and what I get in return with other friend's situations in other engineering fields. They seem to be in less demanding jobs but still manage to earn six figure salaries and live pretty comfortable lives. The truth is living single in an expensive cosmopolitan city, the 80k jus doesnt do it...I still have to think twice about whether I want to spend $20 on an uber ride and I just don't want to have to worry about things like that at age 34 .

a bit more background...technically I'm sound but I wouldnt call myself extraordinary or even above average. I have good numerical modeling skills that are in demand in the mining world and more complex infrastructure/tunneling projects. I haven't been with my current company too long...I've jumped ships a few times and worked in international offices in Australia and Canada on oil and gas as well as infrastructure projects. They way I describe my current office is that it feels like a landfill of everything geotechnical..i manage and give technical delivery on small to medium sized projects with a very short turnaround window (couple months max start to finish). I'm often juggling multiples projects at one time (anything from a surficial slope stability issue to a bridge piling job over soft clay) and feel like a robot just cranking the wheel and producing reports, solving small to medium ground risk issues as they come through the pipeline.

Some folks suggested starting my own business. I dont feel confident enough to do that. ground engineering is one of those fields that relies heavily on internal review, experience and judgement. I'm dealing with naturally occuring material that doesn't always follow mathematical relationships, unlike steel and concrete. we try our best to give soil/rock engineering parameters to describe them in a mathematical way but reality is that we are usually plus or minus 20% off target. To manage this risk we carry pretty good insurance but also rely heavily on internal reviews by often multiple engineers each with a slightly different background. Going out on my own would feel like a huge liability as I feel like i need fellow colleagues to consult with on a regular basis. I also don't have a lot of contacts to market my business to, having moved around the globe so much.

Having said that, folks start their own companies al the time in geotechnical engineering despite the risk. I'm sure they hire they right people to make it work. I just feel like if you start a new business in this field, you're going to be a bottom feeder and go after small profit margin jobs that aren't that exciting (think sewer replacement job). I don't think I'd be happy working on low profile projects having worked on multi billion dollar construction jobs and feeling the rush it brings.

What I know about myself is that I want to live life to the fullest and to me that means sampling as much as I can from what the world has to offer as opposed to going deep into one area or field. Ideally I would like the change to be as close as possible to my current field (eg requiring a MSc degree rather than starting from scratch with a BSc) while giving me a change of scenery. I feel like part of the reason i am behind and not in supervisory role is a) i've jumped ship three times already from one country to the other, one type of market to the other and this has forced me to have to re-start parts of m career each time and b) because i dont 100% love what i do, my mind and heart isn't into it, so I'm not fully applying myself to my job to excel and climb the ladder. I'm basically doing the minimum required and going home looking forward to working on my other hobbies that aren't work related.

to summarize i think i want to make a shift into something a little different (or maybe drastically) so i can experience something new... I'm really tired of dealing with crotch scratching, chain smoking, cat calling contractors. I also want a salary boost to live more comfortably. As a single person it's getting harder and harder to carry the cost of everything by myself. I think my natural interests are something to do with animals/plants and human psychology/behavior but knowing that going into these fields will mean a salary cut, i've been reluctant to pursue any further.

edit: some folks had asked about my marketable skills.. I would say technical delivery, good communication skills, pretty adaptable in any environment. I've moved across the glob a few times and even worked in the middle east and bermuda and I'm very good at adapting to new and very different environments and delivering projects.

Please feel free to criticize my way of thinking! I'd like to be enlightened if im seeing things in a very narrow minded or rigid way.

Cheers
Have you given thought about getting into construction management. I think that might be a good option for you with your background.

I think part of the reason you are at lowish salary ( it might be good for your line of work) is that the business you are in. Your customers are always going to try and lower their costs, because while the work you do is no doubt important, it doesn't really help your customers make money.

Median salary for construction manager is 112000. And I think the employers will always pay good for construction managers because they deliver the projects and help the construction companies make money.

WardnerMan
Posts: 22
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by WardnerMan » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:07 am

It sounds like you are bored with your work scope and feel that you are not adequately rewarded. You may also be needing more human contact in your work life. In that case, given your relative youth, it might make sense to go back to school to earn an advanced degree in something that you'd enjoy. Civil engineering is prescriptive and therefore it can get boring after awhile if you've seen it all. So even if it means giving up future money, giving yourself a new intellectual challenge might be the way to go. If you only want more money, then a PE in structural engineering might fit the bill - ideally earned at night. I doubt it based on what you've written.

TechFI
Posts: 85
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by TechFI » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:34 am

Cyanide123 wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:48 pm
mooudn wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:11 pm
Hi guys,

I went to college for Civil Engineering thinking that I'd be making good money, but i'm 10 years in the consulting business and I'm still only making 70-80k and that's after joining the top civil engineering firm in my industry. I thought about going back to school to get a degree like law to give my career a boost, but most law programs prefer engineers in electrical of computer sciences.

What degree can i get to supplement my MSc in civil engineering that would give me a significant salary boost? Any ideas would be appreciated. Ideally something in the life sciences (wildlife, plant protection etc) combined with my engineering skills would be desirableas it would be more in line with my natural interests.

:sharebeer
M.D. 4 year opportunity cost, so 280k. Followed by roughly a 15-20k opportunity cost for 3-5 years during residency depending on specially. But then you basically can make $300-500k depending on choice of specialty, but you'll have to stay away from the lower paying specialties like peds, family med which pay around 200-230k. I personally work 12 days a month and bring home ~$450k for now based on current 1099 contract as a physician. I paid off medical school debt in 8 months and now I'm saving $15-20k monthly.

I would never pick having a J.D. over an M.D. Pretty much almost the same amount of schooling for significantly less pay off unless you become a big shot.

Edit: the easiest way to probably increase salaries to reach 100k+ will be to just change jobs. A lot of engineers see a bumped pay just by job hopping.
If OP is middle-age from the sound of it, be sure to get good disability insurance. Being unable to be a surgeon after 10+ years of debt is not going to be fun,.

TechFI
Posts: 85
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by TechFI » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:37 am

Another option is MBA, which is good if you have good people's skill. Analytics skill requirement is laughable, if you're an engineer, you're already ahead of the curve in terms of brainpower.

A good MBA will open doors for you, like entry into Big Consulting. Starting compensation at $200k/yr (almost). Reach $500k/yr if you can hang on for 4+ years. Then, move to Director or VP position in Fortune 500 company. Even if you don't make it into MBB (McKinsey, BCG, Bain), the lower-tier firms compensation are at least in the $100-150k range.

TechFI
Posts: 85
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by TechFI » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:42 am

sjl333 wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:09 pm
Hey OP,

Sorry if this is too blunt - and please don't take this the wrong way - but your salary is extremely low for an engineer with 10+ years. I'm not in civil but my buddy is in HR for a civil engineering firm that focuses on structural engineering , people with S.E. licenses and he told me these engineers are making 250k+. That was two years ago.i think they have had layoffs recently though due to covid.

Your obviously doing something wrong and if you don't change .. you will be penny pinching most of your life. You either need to move up the ladder or switch to a more high paying profession. It's going to require tons of work and sacrifice. Don't start too late or else it will be too late.

You Need to find some motivation and drive to push you forward.

I know it's not great to compare , try not too , just use it as reference .. but CS guys with 10 years in SV are easily making 250k - 500k. I'm 9 years in aerospace and Im making 400k+. Seems like for you , it's a combination of not hustling enough and probably your field ( low paying ). Figure out a plan and work your butt off, just my two cents. Sorry to be so blunt .
Took the words out of my mouth.

I would only add on and say don't fall into a sunk cost fallacy. I had to reinvent myself twice in my life and I'm only in my mid-30s. You can do it!!!

Valuethinker
Posts: 40208
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:14 am

mooudn wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:11 pm
Hi guys,

I went to college for Civil Engineering thinking that I'd be making good money, but i'm 10 years in the consulting business and I'm still only making 70-80k and that's after joining the top civil engineering firm in my industry. I thought about going back to school to get a degree like law to give my career a boost, but most law programs prefer engineers in electrical of computer sciences.

What degree can i get to supplement my MSc in civil engineering that would give me a significant salary boost? Any ideas would be appreciated. Ideally something in the life sciences (wildlife, plant protection etc) combined with my engineering skills would be desirableas it would be more in line with my natural interests.

:sharebeer
There's definitely a conflict between the latter (life sciences) and the former (make more money). A lot of the environmental science type roles don't pay well - not for profits etc. Main exception might be the area of working for developers etc on environmental plans & impact statements (which also means advising on ripping up nature to build things). Also that area is very legislation driven and court case driven.

MSc in civil engineering might lead you to more specialised work at a higher salary.

JD and you could do that sort of legal work. Remember what a hard road that is, and who you will be working for (the money) if you want to make a lucrative career of it. The distribution of legal salaries is bi-modal. There is Big Law, which means sacrificing your entire life but making (c. 140k?) to start. Or you make less than you make now (on average) and still have £200k loans to service.

Medicine seems like out of left field? Do you like working with sick people? Could you imagine masking up and going into ICU every day for 12 hours, like now? You really have to feel the calling to go that route at age 35.

Government work might offer career stability albeit not large salary growth. You have to be able to do with bureaucracy, process, political interference, slow career progression. State & local budget cuts are brutal. Federal civil service may well mean Washington DC - not a cheap city. Also if you have environmental concerns, for example, you might find a Secretary's policy runs counter to that.

If it is salary, it is get an MBA and try to inventory your skills and experience and aim for a high paying job in banking, consulting etc. But it has to be a top MBA to do that - top 10. Your age will count against you in recruiting. Alternative is to get an exec MBA (part time) and try to move more into management at what you are doing.

I don't know what the opportunities are in Data Science. Do they fit your skillset? A lot of people are pursuing DS, it seems like a "fad" in terms of recruiting.

Olemiss540
Posts: 1387
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Olemiss540 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:11 am

I would look into construction management positions as management is one way to quickly ramp your salary potential. Also make sure it's in a MCOL or LCOL as these jobs are spread far and wide and will ensure you dont feel a salary pinch as you do today.
I hold index funds because I do not overestimate my ability to pick stocks OR stock pickers.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:27 am

You may be at a top firm but you're certainly not making top pay.

DS started his first job out of BSCE college today. Including bonuses, he's started at about $75k, which is in your range. While interviewing, he did find firms doing inspection of state bridges for $55k and lots of construction management for even less. He's strongly focused on structural engineering with internships doing finite element analysis. So the focus matters. Surveyors are civil engineers, for example. Traffic engineers. I'm sure you know all this. Working for government will bring less money and the salaries are published.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

international001
Posts: 1461
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by international001 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:58 am

sjl333 wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:09 pm
Sorry if this is too blunt - and please don't take this the wrong way - but your salary is extremely low for an engineer with 10+ years. I'm not in civil but my buddy is in HR for a civil engineering firm that focuses on structural engineering , people with S.E. licenses and he told me these engineers are making 250k+. That was two years ago.i think they have had layoffs recently though due to covid.
This comes up often in this forum, particularly about software or doctors
There are lots of variation, based on skills and niches, but what matters is the actual distribution. Just doing a google it seems the 80k is common for a civil engineer. If you have other data beyond anecdotes, please share.

jjbychko
Posts: 16
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Location: Texas

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by jjbychko » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:22 am

My son also received a BSCE. After graduating from Texas A & M he went to Penn State on a teaching fellowship and received his MSCE. He specialized in structural. He worked about a year or two at a company specializing in blast protection. He was disappointed in the work more than the salary. Felt tasks were boiler plate and he was too far removed from a product/solution. He always had a side interest in computer/coding. He did a coding boot camp and got a coding job immediately. I felt like it was the wrong move but it wasn't. He has since gotten some developer type certifications and has a great job with many opportunities and much better salary. An engineering degree, regardless of specialty teaches you to solve problems so it is not a throw away.

I am also a degreed engineer, now retired. In my working career I have seen others make this type of move. In particular I worked with a CHemistry PHd who switched to software.

Good luck

Mr.Chlorine
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:17 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Mr.Chlorine » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:25 am

Olemiss540 wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:47 pm
How about trying one of the bottom ranked civil engineering firms in your industry.

Change.

Jobs.

As a Civil Engineer, my comp has increased two fold due to job changes. You either need to force their hand by bluffing or be ready to jump ship and market yourself. Nothing anyone has done but you.
I second the job change. A year after taking my first job post undergrad, the company offered me a promotion. For salary they offered a 15% raise (I negotiated to 20% since my starting salary was low). Seemed generous at the time so I took it. Two years and two jobs later, I now make 58% more. On top of that I moved from a MCOL to a LCOL area.

Unless you are truly essential to the business, most raises are pennies on the dollar to what an outside offer could be. Only way to know if the grass is greener is to check the other side.

JackoC
Posts: 1347
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by JackoC » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:10 am

RocketShipTech wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:21 pm
JackoC wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:01 pm
RocketShipTech wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:20 pm
Top tier MBA, then management consulting.
$200k total comp to start.
Ten yrs out you're looking at somewhere between quite long and lottery odds of pulling off both those steps unless a complete superstar in which case the person wouldn't still be making 5 figures in the original career.
The path I suggested requires the following:

1. Steady career progression at a top firm (of any industry)
2. GMAT of 700+
3. A willingness to take out $200k worth of loans

OP can tell us how likely this is.

Age is not really a factor. At least 20% of my MBA class was over 30.
For step 1, getting into the MBA program, 1-3 are factors. But then there's step 2, getting the 'total career reinvention' job with prestige finance or consulting firm. There age is a definite factor IME. I felt it in various such interviews as MBA student after only 6 yrs as an engineer. I did eventually luck into one of those jobs but it was rare among the older students, which I definitely was. In case of Wall Street, getting hired as an associate in mid '30's (10 yrs from MS not even applied to MBA yet) is basically not going to happen, extreme exception. Consulting, which in fairness was your example, maybe a little less so (the only other person my age range in my class who got an 'instant reinvention' job was a language major hired by McKinsey). But it's not realistic as the main strategy IMO at that age.

If a person has a plan that justifies the time and cost of an MBA program based on later continuing in their field of 10 yrs (based on contacts and firms they already know), and happens to luck out in on campus interviews w/ prestige finance/consulting firms, great, if they want that when the time comes. But it's not realistic for hope of a job in prestige finance/consulting to be a significant reason to go MBA at that age, IMO.

fishnhunt
Posts: 37
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by fishnhunt » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:40 am

Civil engineer here with my PE and 4.5 years of experience, I make $70k working for a state government in LCOL area. My income alone is $20k above the average household income in my area. I could make more by working overtime in construction but like you, I am sick of dealing with contractors so I just do design. I like the idea of setting my own hours, whereas in construction the contractor dictates your schedule. Some are good to work with but with many contractors there is a lot of BS to put up with.

Some days I think about jumping ship to chase that six figure salary. But where I am now it is good/ challenging work experience, low stress, nice fully funded pension, ample vacation time (six weeks in all, with another week added in 1.5 years) and a flexible work schedule. I enjoy my 3 day weekends and would likely have to give that up if I leave. Would likely have to move to a new city as the job opportunities are limited in my area and I truly love where I live. Employer also mentioned possibility of extending telework indefinitely, which is another plus.

knightrider
Posts: 800
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by knightrider » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:48 am

I did Civil but ended up working for manufacturing industry doing FEA structural analysis. So you may want to explore that industry. Even companies like Microsoft/Amazon hire structural engineering types for analyzing their products.

It also helps to learn more about software and coding since those fields are closely intertwined with engineering.

Pomegranate
Posts: 299
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:42 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Pomegranate » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:54 am

LiveSimple wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:53 pm
If you completed Civil Engineering, then you can complete a M.S in data science or data engineering, the job market is hot and you can make $150 K in any city.

https://www.mastersindatascience.org

Research here for the best school that suits you or at least get the information and see what suits you in a school in your state / city.

https://www.udacity.com/school-of-data-science


If you want to work on your own pace, then https://www.udacity.com/school-of-data-science and apply, apply and get a job, after three months you are all set.

Another cheaper option will be https://www.udacity.com/school-of-data-science

Here a snippet from the top headhunter
https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/salarie ... ed-to-know

From indeed, the job portal site
https://www.indeed.com/career/data-scientist/salaries

( Within years, you will feel that you are one of the over qualified resources, in your team, if you join the Fortune 500 companies, ( not the tech companies) )

Still in doubt, research and ask clarifications....
Good advice for 2013-2015...
So many folks switched to DS field - teachers, firefighters, manual QA folks etc.
As a manager of a Data Engineering team in a city :mrgreen: I can tell you that a top DE (she leads few other folks) makes $110 base plus minor annual bonus.

RocketShipTech
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:08 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by RocketShipTech » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:57 am

JackoC wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:10 am
RocketShipTech wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:21 pm
JackoC wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:01 pm
RocketShipTech wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:20 pm
Top tier MBA, then management consulting.
$200k total comp to start.
Ten yrs out you're looking at somewhere between quite long and lottery odds of pulling off both those steps unless a complete superstar in which case the person wouldn't still be making 5 figures in the original career.
The path I suggested requires the following:

1. Steady career progression at a top firm (of any industry)
2. GMAT of 700+
3. A willingness to take out $200k worth of loans

OP can tell us how likely this is.

Age is not really a factor. At least 20% of my MBA class was over 30.
For step 1, getting into the MBA program, 1-3 are factors. But then there's step 2, getting the 'total career reinvention' job with prestige finance or consulting firm. There age is a definite factor IME. I felt it in various such interviews as MBA student after only 6 yrs as an engineer. I did eventually luck into one of those jobs but it was rare among the older students, which I definitely was. In case of Wall Street, getting hired as an associate in mid '30's (10 yrs from MS not even applied to MBA yet) is basically not going to happen, extreme exception. Consulting, which in fairness was your example, maybe a little less so (the only other person my age range in my class who got an 'instant reinvention' job was a language major hired by McKinsey). But it's not realistic as the main strategy IMO at that age.

If a person has a plan that justifies the time and cost of an MBA program based on later continuing in their field of 10 yrs (based on contacts and firms they already know), and happens to luck out in on campus interviews w/ prestige finance/consulting firms, great, if they want that when the time comes. But it's not realistic for hope of a job in prestige finance/consulting to be a significant reason to go MBA at that age, IMO.
If OP cannot get into an M7 school, then it’s moot.

If he can, then it’s game on for MBB. To be honest they hire for personality more than anything else (casing can be taught).

Topic Author
mooudn
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:28 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by mooudn » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:59 am

jjbychko wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:22 am
My son also received a BSCE. After graduating from Texas A & M he went to Penn State on a teaching fellowship and received his MSCE. He specialized in structural. He worked about a year or two at a company specializing in blast protection. He was disappointed in the work more than the salary. Felt tasks were boiler plate and he was too far removed from a product/solution. He always had a side interest in computer/coding. He did a coding boot camp and got a coding job immediately. I felt like it was the wrong move but it wasn't. He has since gotten some developer type certifications and has a great job with many opportunities and much better salary. An engineering degree, regardless of specialty teaches you to solve problems so it is not a throw away.

I am also a degreed engineer, now retired. In my working career I have seen others make this type of move. In particular I worked with a CHemistry PHd who switched to software.

Good luck
How did your son make the transition? I don't think there is a lot of overlap between civil and computer/software engineering, so I assume I'd have to start from ground zero earning a Beng or BSc and taking a lot of the prerequisite computer courses.

PS. I don't have any coding/computer science knowledge or background

Topic Author
mooudn
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:28 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by mooudn » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:14 am

knightrider wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:48 am
I did Civil but ended up working for manufacturing industry doing FEA structural analysis. So you may want to explore that industry. Even companies like Microsoft/Amazon hire structural engineering types for analyzing their products.

It also helps to learn more about software and coding since those fields are closely intertwined with engineering.
how would i break into that field? Even though both my degrees are in civil and I've taken a lot of structural courses, my industry experience is a niche area of civil called geotechnical. I have finite element modeling experience but using geo software built specifically to analyze soil/rock mass. I have no experience with ANSYS multiphysics which is used in most other industries.

JackoC
Posts: 1347
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by JackoC » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:29 am

RocketShipTech wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:57 am
JackoC wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:10 am
RocketShipTech wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:21 pm
JackoC wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:01 pm
RocketShipTech wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:20 pm
Top tier MBA, then management consulting.
$200k total comp to start.
Ten yrs out you're looking at somewhere between quite long and lottery odds of pulling off both those steps unless a complete superstar in which case the person wouldn't still be making 5 figures in the original career.
The path I suggested requires the following:
1. Steady career progression at a top firm (of any industry)
2. GMAT of 700+
3. A willingness to take out $200k worth of loans
OP can tell us how likely this is.
Age is not really a factor. At least 20% of my MBA class was over 30.
For step 1, getting into the MBA program, 1-3 are factors. But then there's step 2, getting the 'total career reinvention' job with prestige finance or consulting firm. There age is a definite factor IME.
1. If OP cannot get into an M7 school, then it’s moot.

2. If he can, then it’s game on for MBB. To be honest they hire for personality more than anything else (casing can be taught).
1. Obviously but
2. The chance of your idea (or prestige finance) hire out of MBA panning out for a person that old is really low IMO. We can agree to disagree on that, but there's zero doubt in my mind based on own experience. IOW if you view that kind of opportunity as a free (far) out-of-the-money option you get by managing to gain admission to (prestige) B-school at that age, OK we agree. If that's the reason you took the time and money to go to MBA at that age, it's a mistake IMO. You need to have a sound reason and plan for attending full time high cost MBA at that age that does not assume a lightning strike like that.

student
Posts: 4866
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by student » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:40 am

After reading OP responses, it seems that OP is unhappy with his work situation as well as his salary. My question is if OP has a job that he enjoys, is the same salary acceptable? The reason I ask is as academics, we earn less than what we could in industry but we are in general satisfied with our job. (I turned down a higher paying industrial job to teach at my institution. I know a number of colleagues did the same but other colleagues went the other way.) If the answer to my question is yes, then perhaps looking for a job with a different company is safer.

RocketShipTech
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:08 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by RocketShipTech » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:46 am

JackoC wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:29 am
RocketShipTech wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:57 am
JackoC wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:10 am
RocketShipTech wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:21 pm
JackoC wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:01 pm

Ten yrs out you're looking at somewhere between quite long and lottery odds of pulling off both those steps unless a complete superstar in which case the person wouldn't still be making 5 figures in the original career.
The path I suggested requires the following:
1. Steady career progression at a top firm (of any industry)
2. GMAT of 700+
3. A willingness to take out $200k worth of loans
OP can tell us how likely this is.
Age is not really a factor. At least 20% of my MBA class was over 30.
For step 1, getting into the MBA program, 1-3 are factors. But then there's step 2, getting the 'total career reinvention' job with prestige finance or consulting firm. There age is a definite factor IME.
1. If OP cannot get into an M7 school, then it’s moot.

2. If he can, then it’s game on for MBB. To be honest they hire for personality more than anything else (casing can be taught).
1. Obviously but
2. The chance of your idea (or prestige finance) hire out of MBA panning out for a person that old is really low IMO. We can agree to disagree on that, but there's zero doubt in my mind based on own experience. IOW if you view that kind of opportunity as a free (far) out-of-the-money option you get by managing to gain admission to (prestige) B-school at that age, OK we agree. If that's the reason you took the time and money to go to MBA at that age, it's a mistake IMO. You need to have a sound reason and plan for attending full time high cost MBA at that age that does not assume a lightning strike like that.
MBB all have programs targeting non traditional hires, including PhDs. Hiring someone in their early to mid 30 for an Associate role is not at all a lightning strike.

User avatar
galving
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:47 pm
Location: US Gulf Coast

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by galving » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:16 am

mooudn wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:11 pm
Hi guys,

I went to college for Civil Engineering thinking that I'd be making good money, but i'm 10 years in the consulting business and I'm still only making 70-80k and that's after joining the top civil engineering firm in my industry. I thought about going back to school to get a degree like law to give my career a boost, but most law programs prefer engineers in electrical of computer sciences.

What degree can i get to supplement my MSc in civil engineering that would give me a significant salary boost? Any ideas would be appreciated. Ideally something in the life sciences (wildlife, plant protection etc) combined with my engineering skills would be desirable as it would be more in line with my natural interests.

:sharebeer
Depends a lot of what you want to be when you grow up. . .
Do you want to lead a team or stay technical?
What continuing education opportunities would your current company pay for you to complete?
MBA's are super popular in our company, though some graduates definitely have upwards potential.
Some civil engineers add environmental knowledge/capability and then pivot towards wastewater or Environmental Health & Safety roles in major chemical/refining companies.
Good luck!

TSR
Posts: 895
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:08 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by TSR » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:36 am

student wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:40 am
After reading OP responses, it seems that OP is unhappy with his work situation as well as his salary. My question is if OP has a job that he enjoys, is the same salary acceptable? The reason I ask is as academics, we earn less than what we could in industry but we are in general satisfied with our job. (I turned down a higher paying industrial job to teach at my institution. I know a number of colleagues did the same but other colleagues went the other way.) If the answer to my question is yes, then perhaps looking for a job with a different company is safer.
In a similar vein, I was also wondering about federal government jobs. They can pay well but not through the roof. ACoE, EPA, even the FBI? All of those groups (and more, surely) have an interest in civil engineering. That would be a decent way to bump up his benefits and standard of living while taking some of the for-profit hustle out of it. Possibility of more interesting work.

lws
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:12 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by lws » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:49 am

How about biomedical engineering?

jjbychko
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:57 am
Location: Texas

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by jjbychko » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:53 am

mooudn wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:59 am
jjbychko wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:22 am
My son also received a BSCE. After graduating from Texas A & M he went to Penn State on a teaching fellowship and received his MSCE. He specialized in structural. He worked about a year or two at a company specializing in blast protection. He was disappointed in the work more than the salary. Felt tasks were boiler plate and he was too far removed from a product/solution. He always had a side interest in computer/coding. He did a coding boot camp and got a coding job immediately. I felt like it was the wrong move but it wasn't. He has since gotten some developer type certifications and has a great job with many opportunities and much better salary. An engineering degree, regardless of specialty teaches you to solve problems so it is not a throw away.

I am also a degreed engineer, now retired. In my working career I have seen others make this type of move. In particular I worked with a CHemistry PHd who switched to software.

Good luck
How did your son make the transition? I don't think there is a lot of overlap between civil and computer/software engineering, so I assume I'd have to start from ground zero earning a Beng or BSc and taking a lot of the prerequisite computer courses.

PS. I don't have any coding/computer science knowledge or background
Like you, my son had no coding/computer science knowledge or background. I was surprised that he started making more than he was in his civil engineering position. There were non-engineers in the coding boot camp. I believe his engineering degree on his resume helped. If you want to contact him send me a private message. He has had other civil engineering classmates ask the same questions as you. He is in the Washington DC area now but grew up in Texas.

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