Hopeless Civil Engineer

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gr7070
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by gr7070 »

mooudn wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:04 am
qiora wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:33 am I am from Northeast. Below is a sample 2019 ENR regional top list based on reported 2018 revenue.

https://www.enr.com/NewYork/Toplists/20 ... sign-Firms

Transportation sector means public infrastructure work. So target any company on that list with say more than $50 million revenue from transportation sector. From personal experience in my region, AECOM/WSP/Parsons/STV/GPI/HDR; Not on the list - Liro, Jacobs.. all have those high-paying construction management/inspection positions.

Feel free to look up your region-specific list on ENR.
Thanks this is great. I've been working on multi billion dollar public infrastructure jobs my whole career (subway, highway expansions etc) but I've been working for sub-consultant geotech firms hired by the HDR/Parsons/Jacobs and the like. Maybe that's the issue.
Being a sub should not significantly impede ones pay. Being closer to the money source is certainly not a bad thing, but subs generally get paid just as well, for the same type of work.

Glockenspiel's and Goot's general salary description is what I'm familiar with for CEs.

I haven't listened to the Dave Ramsey link; 150k for 10 years is on the high side, but not out of the question. Especially if they are a med/high level PM or high level structural designer.

Despite a previous post regarding geotech and structural pay being the same it's my experience that structurals are typically the highest paid emphasis of the CEs (earlier post mentioned the same). I don't think it's a terribly significant difference though. That's for the engineering proper - they're below the true PM positions that make those 150-200k rates, which can be any CE discipline, though often are not structural.

OP I think it's largely who you work for that your salary is low. I'd start with that change. It could easily be where you work, too. My salary knowledge and the above referenced it Glockenspiel's and Goot's all are major metro areas with high demand for employees. Though IIRC you are in a metro area.

Of course, it could be many other factors, as well, personal included.

Heavy civil/transportation field tend to pay better than the building field, as well, ime. Though it sounds like your in that, as well. I mentioned earlier, forensics tends to pay best, but that's also heavily populated by structurals.
Last edited by gr7070 on Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Pomegranate
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Pomegranate »

oldfort wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:25 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:02 am
crinkles2 wrote: Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:05 pm OP, I am in a very similar position as you, $87k pay, geotech. much less travelled than yourself.

Recently got my PE, employer seems to not want to reward it even though pushing for it for a long while.

Honestly, it's been an unfulfilling career. And yes, the reality is that you are int he construction industry and need to deal with those contractor types. I've had a few contractors that were actually really nice and understanding, but it's cut-throat and I get very tired of the constant undermining of engineering and scientific principles by my clients and even my employer in the interest of 'making things work'.

Honestly I am at a cross-roads myself, and kicking myself for not doing something computer related in my youth. Feel like at 40 it's really too late to be fiddling with this stuff.

best of luck to you.
It's never too late to master coding.

What happens after that? Who knows?

But you won't be able to work in software without first knowing how to code. And *that* you can learn whilst holding down a full time job.

I have changed careers twice after age 40. It happens.
Mastering coding is the easy part. The difficult part is getting past the HR screens without a computer science degree.
Lolwhat :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
I always tell my recruiters - Do not even think about screening out candidates based on resume/experience/typos etc. Every candidate who didn't use the s... and f... words during the initial HR screening should be moved to the next round which is tech screening.
Unfortunately 95% candidates fail the 'easy' part during tech round :oops:
international001
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by international001 »

Pomegranate wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:59 am Lolwhat :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
I always tell my recruiters - Do not even think about screening out candidates based on resume/experience/typos etc. Every candidate who didn't use the s... and f... words during the initial HR screening should be moved to the next round which is tech screening.
Unfortunately 95% candidates fail the 'easy' part during tech round :oops:
Is cursing inversely correlated to being a good coder?
Pomegranate
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Pomegranate »

international001 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:16 pm
Pomegranate wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:59 am Lolwhat :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
I always tell my recruiters - Do not even think about screening out candidates based on resume/experience/typos etc. Every candidate who didn't use the s... and f... words during the initial HR screening should be moved to the next round which is tech screening.
Unfortunately 95% candidates fail the 'easy' part during tech round :oops:
Is cursing inversely correlated to being a good coder?
Didn't do this type of research but upper management has no tolerance for folks cursing in work place :sharebeer
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sk2101
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by sk2101 »

An engineering degree teaches one how to learn quickly, how to structure thinking and opens a lot of possibilities. Not to mention that an engineer will by definition be very good in math. I have a BSEC and ended up in corporate finance/investment management after getting an MBA. I could also have gone into computer science as I was very good at coding (in my time coding was required for engineers). My sons dentist is also a civil engineer and today makes a very good living with a regional chain of 5 huge dentistry offices.

Looking back on my engineering class, the most successful individuals were the ones who furthered their education after engineering school. THis is to say that you can do pretty much anything that intetrests you. Don't stop adding to your education, you can always learn a new discipline. And don't pursue anything you don't like just because it pays well, you need to have passion for it.
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gr7070
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by gr7070 »

Cursing should be f*$&ing sought after! Tell upper management to eat s#+@. /HumorIntended

https://www.iflscience.com/brain/think- ... ink-again/

https://www.sciencealert.com/swearing-i ... scientists
hunoraut
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by hunoraut »

TechFI wrote: 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.
Does this reflect your personal experience, or hearsay?

These, and other numbers like the "SV" values, seem very inflated. They're convenient to throw around, but doesn't reflect actual statistical distribution.

A starting position for MBA at MBB is associate, and they're quite far from 200. The lower-tier firm are not anywhere "at least in 100-150 range", unless by lower-tier you mean something like Kearney or OW, instead of the Big 4. My friends who were managers (EMs) at MBB had good earnings, but it was most definitely not 500k at 4yr, unless they were on the rocketship to Partner....which again, is not reflected in the primary distribution.

***

My friends who are CE, who were technical contributor or team leads, plateau at the 6 figure mark at mid-career. It is not one of the more lucrative engineering disciplines (vs ME, EE, PE, etc), so expectations need to be adjusted.

I don't have much instructive advice to give, as guidance isn't my profession, but I'll add that I've seen over and over again that people who attained MBA and JD mid-career did not gain significant positive outcome, when they did so out of blind compulsion rather than passion. i.e., hoping to exchange the degree for a more lucrative job, without having a target or definition of what that job is.

Lastly, many people have these mini career crises. Sometimes a reset of life perspective works better than a reset of career path. :sharebeer
Topic Author
mooudn
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by mooudn »

sk2101 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:39 pm An engineering degree teaches one how to learn quickly, how to structure thinking and opens a lot of possibilities. Not to mention that an engineer will by definition be very good in math. I have a BSEC and ended up in corporate finance/investment management after getting an MBA. I could also have gone into computer science as I was very good at coding (in my time coding was required for engineers). My sons dentist is also a civil engineer and today makes a very good living with a regional chain of 5 huge dentistry offices.

Looking back on my engineering class, the most successful individuals were the ones who furthered their education after engineering school. THis is to say that you can do pretty much anything that intetrests you. Don't stop adding to your education, you can always learn a new discipline. And don't pursue anything you don't like just because it pays well, you need to have passion for it.
that's where my dilemma is. I secretly have a passion for and want to be a primatologist or biologist studying chimpanzees or the impact of climate change on toothed whales but it seems so far out of reach and like others have pointed out there's not much money in it.
Topic Author
mooudn
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by mooudn »

hunoraut wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:57 pm My friends who are CE, who were technical contributor or team leads, plateau at the 6 figure mark at mid-career. It is not one of the more lucrative engineering disciplines (vs ME, EE, PE, etc), so expectations need to be adjusted.
I guess I just don't want to settle for the lowest paying engineering discipline there is...I didn't give much thought to salary going into CE at age 18 but now that I understand where i stand compared to other disciplines i want to get out, preferably using a path of least struggle and repetition of coursework.. into a more lucrative engineering discipline.
helloeveryone
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by helloeveryone »

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 healthcare how about Physician Assistant? About 36 months of school then salary closer to $90-100k? or more if surgical?
oldfort
Posts: 1905
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by oldfort »

Pomegranate wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:59 am
oldfort wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:25 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:02 am
crinkles2 wrote: Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:05 pm OP, I am in a very similar position as you, $87k pay, geotech. much less travelled than yourself.

Recently got my PE, employer seems to not want to reward it even though pushing for it for a long while.

Honestly, it's been an unfulfilling career. And yes, the reality is that you are int he construction industry and need to deal with those contractor types. I've had a few contractors that were actually really nice and understanding, but it's cut-throat and I get very tired of the constant undermining of engineering and scientific principles by my clients and even my employer in the interest of 'making things work'.

Honestly I am at a cross-roads myself, and kicking myself for not doing something computer related in my youth. Feel like at 40 it's really too late to be fiddling with this stuff.

best of luck to you.
It's never too late to master coding.

What happens after that? Who knows?

But you won't be able to work in software without first knowing how to code. And *that* you can learn whilst holding down a full time job.

I have changed careers twice after age 40. It happens.
Mastering coding is the easy part. The difficult part is getting past the HR screens without a computer science degree.
Lolwhat :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
I always tell my recruiters - Do not even think about screening out candidates based on resume/experience/typos etc. Every candidate who didn't use the s... and f... words during the initial HR screening should be moved to the next round which is tech screening.
Unfortunately 95% candidates fail the 'easy' part during tech round :oops:
I never used the s... or f... words in an interview in my life. When I was looking for software jobs about a decade ago with a MS in EE, I had a hard time getting to any tech interviews. It seemed they were looking for people with CS degrees + software internships. Writing C/C++ code is easy. Getting an entry-level job was the challenging part.
Last edited by oldfort on Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
oldfort
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by oldfort »

delete double post
TechFI
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by TechFI »

hunoraut wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:57 pm
TechFI wrote: 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.
Does this reflect your personal experience, or hearsay?

These, and other numbers like the "SV" values, seem very inflated. They're convenient to throw around, but doesn't reflect actual statistical distribution.

A starting position for MBA at MBB is associate, and they're quite far from 200. The lower-tier firm are not anywhere "at least in 100-150 range", unless by lower-tier you mean something like Kearney or OW, instead of the Big 4. My friends who were managers (EMs) at MBB had good earnings, but it was most definitely not 500k at 4yr, unless they were on the rocketship to Partner....which again, is not reflected in the primary distribution.

***

My friends who are CE, who were technical contributor or team leads, plateau at the 6 figure mark at mid-career. It is not one of the more lucrative engineering disciplines (vs ME, EE, PE, etc), so expectations need to be adjusted.

I don't have much instructive advice to give, as guidance isn't my profession, but I'll add that I've seen over and over again that people who attained MBA and JD mid-career did not gain significant positive outcome, when they did so out of blind compulsion rather than passion. i.e., hoping to exchange the degree for a more lucrative job, without having a target or definition of what that job is.

Lastly, many people have these mini career crises. Sometimes a reset of life perspective works better than a reset of career path. :sharebeer
I did not make it into MBB, I went into tech. The MBB numbers are very well documented. Look: https://managementconsulted.com/consultant-salary/

As of 2019 cohort, assuming target bonus which is 50% of max
- MBB: BCG - $185k, Bain - $185k, McK - $180k
- Others: EY - $160k, Deloitte - $135k, KPMG - $170k, PwC - $165

Because of up or out, after 4 years you would make it to Associate Principal. TC there is $400-500k. This is MBB numbers, others may be lower because of less aggressive up or out.

And of course we are benchmarking to top 10% of the field. OP said he's at the top firms of his field.

Number #1 determining factor of your compensation is not your talent or "how good you are". It's the field/career that you work in. The top 1% pre-school teacher will never earn as much as the average software engineer for example. From your comments, you would agree with me.

However, there isn't anything wrong with re-inventing yourself especially when you still have time. Speaking from personal experience, it sucks when you are the top 1-10% of your field, and are compensated poorly. If by "reset of life perspective" means giving up... the OP is not there yet. OP still has time to take action.
TechFI
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by TechFI »

oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:28 pm I never used the s... or f... words in an interview in my life. When I was looking for software jobs about a decade ago with a MS in EE, I had a hard time getting to any tech interviews. It seemed they were looking for people with CS degrees + software internships. Writing C/C++ code was easy. Getting an entry-level job was the challenging part.
What's the S or F words? How come I've not heard about this?
stoptothink
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by stoptothink »

TechFI wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:40 pm
oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:28 pm I never used the s... or f... words in an interview in my life. When I was looking for software jobs about a decade ago with a MS in EE, I had a hard time getting to any tech interviews. It seemed they were looking for people with CS degrees + software internships. Writing C/C++ code was easy. Getting an entry-level job was the challenging part.
What's the S or F words? How come I've not heard about this?
I've conducted a few hundred interviews in my life and don't believe I've ever heard a curse word. But, I'm a scientist, not an engineer.
TechFI
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by TechFI »

stoptothink wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:45 pm
TechFI wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:40 pm
oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:28 pm I never used the s... or f... words in an interview in my life. When I was looking for software jobs about a decade ago with a MS in EE, I had a hard time getting to any tech interviews. It seemed they were looking for people with CS degrees + software internships. Writing C/C++ code was easy. Getting an entry-level job was the challenging part.
What's the S or F words? How come I've not heard about this?
I've conducted a few hundred interviews in my life and don't believe I've ever heard a curse word. But, I'm a scientist, not an engineer.
Wait... cursing during a tech interview helps you get the job?
stoptothink
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by stoptothink »

TechFI wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:49 pm
stoptothink wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:45 pm
TechFI wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:40 pm
oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:28 pm I never used the s... or f... words in an interview in my life. When I was looking for software jobs about a decade ago with a MS in EE, I had a hard time getting to any tech interviews. It seemed they were looking for people with CS degrees + software internships. Writing C/C++ code was easy. Getting an entry-level job was the challenging part.
What's the S or F words? How come I've not heard about this?
I've conducted a few hundred interviews in my life and don't believe I've ever heard a curse word. But, I'm a scientist, not an engineer.
Wait... cursing during a tech interview helps you get the job?
Pomegranate:"Every candidate who didn't use the s... and f... words during the initial HR screening should be moved to the next round which is tech screening. Unfortunately 95% candidates fail the 'easy' part during tech round :oops:"

So, no, but apparently refraining from cursing in an interview sounds like a challenge most coders aren't up to.
Cyanide123
Posts: 327
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Cyanide123 »

helloeveryone wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:14 pm
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 healthcare how about Physician Assistant? About 36 months of school then salary closer to $90-100k? or more if surgical?
240k of opportunity cost only to increase income by 20k. Just to get even that's 15 years including the 3 years of education. That's a terrible financial decision for a civil engineer.

One more year of school and then residency training bumps the income to 200-400k. It's usually a better financial decision.

The best option for op is either find a new job, as that itself will increase income, or do an mba and go consulting route, or consider an M.D.
Pomegranate
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:42 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Pomegranate »

oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:28 pm
Pomegranate wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:59 am
oldfort wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:25 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:02 am
crinkles2 wrote: Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:05 pm OP, I am in a very similar position as you, $87k pay, geotech. much less travelled than yourself.

Recently got my PE, employer seems to not want to reward it even though pushing for it for a long while.

Honestly, it's been an unfulfilling career. And yes, the reality is that you are int he construction industry and need to deal with those contractor types. I've had a few contractors that were actually really nice and understanding, but it's cut-throat and I get very tired of the constant undermining of engineering and scientific principles by my clients and even my employer in the interest of 'making things work'.

Honestly I am at a cross-roads myself, and kicking myself for not doing something computer related in my youth. Feel like at 40 it's really too late to be fiddling with this stuff.

best of luck to you.
It's never too late to master coding.

What happens after that? Who knows?

But you won't be able to work in software without first knowing how to code. And *that* you can learn whilst holding down a full time job.

I have changed careers twice after age 40. It happens.
Mastering coding is the easy part. The difficult part is getting past the HR screens without a computer science degree.
Lolwhat :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
I always tell my recruiters - Do not even think about screening out candidates based on resume/experience/typos etc. Every candidate who didn't use the s... and f... words during the initial HR screening should be moved to the next round which is tech screening.
Unfortunately 95% candidates fail the 'easy' part during tech round :oops:
I never used the s... or f... words in an interview in my life. When I was looking for software jobs about a decade ago with a MS in EE, I had a hard time getting to any tech interviews. It seemed they were looking for people with CS degrees + software internships. Writing C/C++ code is easy. Getting an entry-level job was the challenging part.
I wasn’t running interviews a decade ago in the US. Talking about the present - I know what degrees have 2 out of 10 of my reports.
Helo80
Posts: 1789
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:47 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Helo80 »

Cyanide123 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:15 pm The best option for op is either find a new job, as that itself will increase income, or do an mba and go consulting route, or consider an M.D.


It's fine to suggest the physician route, but let's set realistic expectations.

1. OP is 10 years out from CE degree... so let's say 32 YOA.

Medical School eligibility
1. There is ZERO overlap (minus the math) between Engineering and Pre-med.
2. Expect 2-3 years to complete 8 hours of: Gen Chem, O. Chem, Biology, Physics (32 total hours). Plus, it would probably be good to have some exposure to Biochem. We wont' even go into community college versus state/private schools where Med school adcoms know there is a difference.
3. The shadowing, volunteering and/or research stuff to merely play the game for application (as well as ensure OP actually likes medicine)
4. Also, OP should not completely abandon his career and should at least try to give the appearance of moving up.

Realistically, OP is now 35 YOA... Matriculates into medical school
1. Four years of being the low man on the totem poll for attending, fellows, and residents, most of whom will be younger on the fellow/resident side. Oh, and paying for the privilege of being poo'ed on day in and day out.

OP is now 39-40 YOA.
1. Now he he must go through 3-5 years of residency somewhere.
2. Realistically, 80+ hours a week of work. My apologies, residents are capped at 80 hours per week..... Riiiight.....

OP is now... Maybe 42 YOA
1. We don't know what residency he will be competitive for.
2. We don't know where he matched or where he wants to live
3. We don't know if he's decided to sub-specialize b/c that's what all the cool kids do nowadays.
4. We have no idea where medicine will be from a reimbursement perspective in 10 years with current political winds.
5. OP has no idea where he will be personally at that time. Is med school worth a divorce? IDK... On the flip side, if OP is single, there will likely be 20-sometihng nurses interested. So, maybe that could work out really well. Or, he dates another med student or resident b/c he's the older/wiser guy in the class.
6. There's always the death and disability angle.... but that's true regardless of what he does.


Let me know if I'm wrong about any of the above. I just kind of chuckle that you can offer the upsides to MD without discussing a realistic pathway. Even if you were at a major med school right now Cyanide, and could wave your hand and accept OP today... you're effectively giving him a 7 year prison sentence in some regards.

Also Cyanide, you as well as I, know physicians that were accepted to medical school at 50+ YOA. Except the two I'm thinking of were financially set prior to going... and somehow got this lifelong calling to go do med school. Very bizarre and not my cup of tea, but to each his/her own.

PS OP --- I spoke to a buddy of mine the other day who is 35 YOA and is now an attending. He's not sure it was 100% worth it b/c he's so far behind debt wise and where NW should be. Granted, I tried to be reassuring that he'll make it all up, but still... I think he's realizing the insanity of the physician route cost him some of his soul and he's very far from the guy that cares about Ferarris, 911s etc. He's one of those that would be happy in a Camry or Accord and does not need some prestigious car for his self-image.



I think the MBA route to a Top 20 school is far, far, far more realistic considering OP can study for the GMAT, does not have to take any pre-reqs for it.... might have to take a bootcamp... and then see if he's competitive for a Top 20 MBA program where salary returns will be far more instantaneous. Plus, if he can do the engineering angle... he may have a leg up on his classmates for something in that alley.
oldfort
Posts: 1905
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by oldfort »

Helo80 wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:50 pm
Cyanide123 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:15 pm The best option for op is either find a new job, as that itself will increase income, or do an mba and go consulting route, or consider an M.D.


It's fine to suggest the physician route, but let's set realistic expectations.

1. OP is 10 years out from CE degree... so let's say 32 YOA.

Medical School eligibility
1. There is ZERO overlap (minus the math) between Engineering and Pre-med.
2. Expect 2-3 years to complete 8 hours of: Gen Chem, O. Chem, Biology, Physics (32 total hours). Plus, it would probably be good to have some exposure to Biochem. We wont' even go into community college versus state/private schools where Med school adcoms know there is a difference.
3. The shadowing, volunteering and/or research stuff to merely play the game for application (as well as ensure OP actually likes medicine)
4. Also, OP should not completely abandon his career and should at least try to give the appearance of moving up.

Realistically, OP is now 35 YOA... Matriculates into medical school
1. Four years of being the low man on the totem poll for attending, fellows, and residents, most of whom will be younger on the fellow/resident side. Oh, and paying for the privilege of being poo'ed on day in and day out.

OP is now 39-40 YOA.
1. Now he he must go through 3-5 years of residency somewhere.
2. Realistically, 80+ hours a week of work. My apologies, residents are capped at 80 hours per week..... Riiiight.....

OP is now... Maybe 42 YOA
1. We don't know what residency he will be competitive for.
2. We don't know where he matched or where he wants to live
3. We don't know if he's decided to sub-specialize b/c that's what all the cool kids do nowadays.
4. We have no idea where medicine will be from a reimbursement perspective in 10 years with current political winds.
5. OP has no idea where he will be personally at that time. Is med school worth a divorce? IDK... On the flip side, if OP is single, there will likely be 20-sometihng nurses interested. So, maybe that could work out really well. Or, he dates another med student or resident b/c he's the older/wiser guy in the class.
6. There's always the death and disability angle.... but that's true regardless of what he does.


Let me know if I'm wrong about any of the above. I just kind of chuckle that you can offer the upsides to MD without discussing a realistic pathway. Even if you were at a major med school right now Cyanide, and could wave your hand and accept OP today... you're effectively giving him a 7 year prison sentence in some regards.

Also Cyanide, you as well as I, know physicians that were accepted to medical school at 50+ YOA. Except the two I'm thinking of were financially set prior to going... and somehow got this lifelong calling to go do med school. Very bizarre and not my cup of tea, but to each his/her own.

PS OP --- I spoke to a buddy of mine the other day who is 35 YOA and is now an attending. He's not sure it was 100% worth it b/c he's so far behind debt wise and where NW should be. Granted, I tried to be reassuring that he'll make it all up, but still... I think he's realizing the insanity of the physician route cost him some of his soul and he's very far from the guy that cares about Ferarris, 911s etc. He's one of those that would be happy in a Camry or Accord and does not need some prestigious car for his self-image.



I think the MBA route to a Top 20 school is far, far, far more realistic considering OP can study for the GMAT, does not have to take any pre-reqs for it.... might have to take a bootcamp... and then see if he's competitive for a Top 20 MBA program where salary returns will be far more instantaneous. Plus, if he can do the engineering angle... he may have a leg up on his classmates for something in that alley.
The OP is 35 years old now, so shift your schedule to the right three years. BTW, the OP is planning to get married in the near future to a man.
Helo80
Posts: 1789
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:47 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Helo80 »

oldfort wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:36 pm The OP is 35 years old now, so shift your schedule to the right three years. BTW, the OP is planning to get married in the near future to a man.

35 YOA just makes things even worse.... Being 44 to 45 YOA and "finally" having the end-goal salary is scary, IMHO. That's the age where many LBYM physicians that have saved diligently throughout their career would begin to seriously look at their finances and wondering if they should scale it down whereas OP would have to scale it up... significantly, so that he could retire.

That being said, it's a 100% doable plan, but just expect 10 years of buckling it down and then hopefully finding a practice that works.
solargod007
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:52 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by solargod007 »

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
Tech companies (Facebook comes to mind) do hire people with different backgrounds. See if you can find something relevant/appealing to you there. No harm in applying. Another option is checking out semiconductor companies that have manufacturing facilities (Intel/Cree...), they do hire Civil Engineers and Environmental Engineers. I can also think of Defense contractors like Northrup Grumman, Raytheon.. (just highlighting high paying companies). I'd think you dont need another degree now to jump start your career.. you need to widen your search. Linkedin is a good place to connect with recruiters and start discussion.
Cyanide123
Posts: 327
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Cyanide123 »

Helo80 wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:50 pm
Cyanide123 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:15 pm The best option for op is either find a new job, as that itself will increase income, or do an mba and go consulting route, or consider an M.D.


It's fine to suggest the physician route, but let's set realistic expectations.

1. OP is 10 years out from CE degree... so let's say 32 YOA.

Medical School eligibility
1. There is ZERO overlap (minus the math) between Engineering and Pre-med.
2. Expect 2-3 years to complete 8 hours of: Gen Chem, O. Chem, Biology, Physics (32 total hours). Plus, it would probably be good to have some exposure to Biochem. We wont' even go into community college versus state/private schools where Med school adcoms know there is a difference.
3. The shadowing, volunteering and/or research stuff to merely play the game for application (as well as ensure OP actually likes medicine)
4. Also, OP should not completely abandon his career and should at least try to give the appearance of moving up.

Realistically, OP is now 35 YOA... Matriculates into medical school
1. Four years of being the low man on the totem poll for attending, fellows, and residents, most of whom will be younger on the fellow/resident side. Oh, and paying for the privilege of being poo'ed on day in and day out.

OP is now 39-40 YOA.
1. Now he he must go through 3-5 years of residency somewhere.
2. Realistically, 80+ hours a week of work. My apologies, residents are capped at 80 hours per week..... Riiiight.....

OP is now... Maybe 42 YOA
1. We don't know what residency he will be competitive for.
2. We don't know where he matched or where he wants to live
3. We don't know if he's decided to sub-specialize b/c that's what all the cool kids do nowadays.
4. We have no idea where medicine will be from a reimbursement perspective in 10 years with current political winds.
5. OP has no idea where he will be personally at that time. Is med school worth a divorce? IDK... On the flip side, if OP is single, there will likely be 20-sometihng nurses interested. So, maybe that could work out really well. Or, he dates another med student or resident b/c he's the older/wiser guy in the class.
6. There's always the death and disability angle.... but that's true regardless of what he does.


Let me know if I'm wrong about any of the above. I just kind of chuckle that you can offer the upsides to MD without discussing a realistic pathway. Even if you were at a major med school right now Cyanide, and could wave your hand and accept OP today... you're effectively giving him a 7 year prison sentence in some regards.

Also Cyanide, you as well as I, know physicians that were accepted to medical school at 50+ YOA. Except the two I'm thinking of were financially set prior to going... and somehow got this lifelong calling to go do med school. Very bizarre and not my cup of tea, but to each his/her own.

PS OP --- I spoke to a buddy of mine the other day who is 35 YOA and is now an attending. He's not sure it was 100% worth it b/c he's so far behind debt wise and where NW should be. Granted, I tried to be reassuring that he'll make it all up, but still... I think he's realizing the insanity of the physician route cost him some of his soul and he's very far from the guy that cares about Ferarris, 911s etc. He's one of those that would be happy in a Camry or Accord and does not need some prestigious car for his self-image.



I think the MBA route to a Top 20 school is far, far, far more realistic considering OP can study for the GMAT, does not have to take any pre-reqs for it.... might have to take a bootcamp... and then see if he's competitive for a Top 20 MBA program where salary returns will be far more instantaneous. Plus, if he can do the engineering angle... he may have a leg up on his classmates for something in that alley.
There is some truth and some exaggeration to your post.

I agree mba route is much easier. And probably the second most viable option. The first is aggressive job hunting and seeing if a better position exists. And I believe the original post by OP considers law school. 3 years education, followed by slavery until becoming partner, which can take several years as well with a potentially lower pay off. Plus there is no guarantee of partnership.

The exaggeration comes from 2-3 years of pre-med courses. 1 year at Max. Most engineers have gen chem and physics already done. 2 courses of bio with lab and 2 organic chem classes. That's basically 1 year with 7-8 credits each semester.

Infact, a lot of high school students already have enough AP credits to cover almost all pre-reqs. Guess how many pre-reqs i had to do in college? None 😉 everything was finished in high school.

Next is 4 years of med school. No way around this.

Next is residency. I agree SOME specialties you are working 80+ hours a week. But not ALL. I'm pretty sure psychiatry residents are doing 40-50 hours a week. As emergency medicine, i worked roughly 60 hours a week unless i was on an ICU month. My family medicine wife does roughly 50-60 hours as well. She has a pretty normal life on her out patient months. So some one focused on lifestyle has options. Please tell me you're not going to argue that pm&r residents are working 80+ hours a week.

The reality is inpatient medicine, and all surgical residents have terrible hours.

Now a 3 year EM residency easily results in 350-450k income. Yes, that's 7-8 years later. As well as significant lost income, which makes mba pretty tempting. But like i said earlier, potentially the best course of action could be to find another job. I've known plenty of engineers to get large increases in salary with job hopping. One of my friends went from 80k to 150k plus bonuses with just a job switch within the specialty.

The psychiatrists are breaking 300k working 40 hours a week.

Pm&r breaks 300k doing whatever they do? Who knows what they really do.... Except coming in to work at 9 am and leaving at 4.

I personally as an emergency medicine attending make $450k working 12 days a month seeing roughly 20 patients a day in a 12 hour shift.

And yeah in residency i did 18 10 hour shifts per month. Again, that's not as brutal as you make it seem.

I won't mention dermatology and their hours because it's impossible to get into derm. But you should also know that psychiatry and pm&r are really not at all competitive with very reasonable residency hours and eventually amazing lifestyles with minimal stress.

My argument still is that if op is going to consider law school, the payoff is not guaranteed and can take longer sometimes than med school. Plenty of lawyers who did not graduate from top law schools who are making sub 100k. So if someone is going to consider law school, financially med school is likely a more guaranteed option.

But OP should explore option 1 - find other jobs, option 2 mba first. But if op is truly going to go down the law school route, then an M.D. is usually a better financial decision in my opinion
oldfort
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by oldfort »

Cyanide123 wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:35 pm There is some truth and some exaggeration to your post.

I agree mba route is much easier. And probably the second most viable option. The first is aggressive job hunting and seeing if a better position exists. And I believe the original post by OP considers law school. 3 years education, followed by slavery until becoming partner, which can take several years as well with a potentially lower pay off. Plus there is no guarantee of partnership.

The exaggeration comes from 2-3 years of pre-med courses. 1 year at Max. Most engineers have gen chem and physics already done. 2 courses of bio with lab and 2 organic chem classes. That's basically 1 year with 7-8 credits each semester.

Infact, a lot of high school students already have enough AP credits to cover almost all pre-reqs. Guess how many pre-reqs i had to do in college? None 😉 everything was finished in high school.
The OP might need to repeat chemistry. In terms of knowledge retained, a class you last took 17 years ago is about the same as never having had it in the first place. Someone who took general chemistry last semester and someone who last took general chemistry when most of their classmates were in diapers, aren't starting from the same position.
oldfort
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by oldfort »

solargod007 wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:06 pm I can also think of Defense contractors like Northrup Grumman, Raytheon.. (just highlighting high paying companies). I'd think you dont need another degree now to jump start your career.. you need to widen your search. Linkedin is a good place to connect with recruiters and start discussion.
Defense jobs might not pay the OP much more than they make now and the lack of security clearance could eliminate the OP from consideration from many of those jobs.
oldfort
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by oldfort »

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?
The $160k gross might net $110k after taxes.
finite_difference
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by finite_difference »

mooudn wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:03 pm
sk2101 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:39 pm An engineering degree teaches one how to learn quickly, how to structure thinking and opens a lot of possibilities. Not to mention that an engineer will by definition be very good in math. I have a BSEC and ended up in corporate finance/investment management after getting an MBA. I could also have gone into computer science as I was very good at coding (in my time coding was required for engineers). My sons dentist is also a civil engineer and today makes a very good living with a regional chain of 5 huge dentistry offices.

Looking back on my engineering class, the most successful individuals were the ones who furthered their education after engineering school. THis is to say that you can do pretty much anything that intetrests you. Don't stop adding to your education, you can always learn a new discipline. And don't pursue anything you don't like just because it pays well, you need to have passion for it.
that's where my dilemma is. I secretly have a passion for and want to be a primatologist or biologist studying chimpanzees or the impact of climate change on toothed whales but it seems so far out of reach and like others have pointed out there's not much money in it.
If that’s truly what your dream or calling is, I would pursue it.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh
random_walker_77
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by random_walker_77 »

mooudn wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:41 pm 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.
With apologies, I'm going to criticize. I think you're probably going to have to choose between money or satisfying work
mooudn wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:41 pm 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.
This statement suggests to me that you do care about your work and working on large meaningful projects. (This was in the context of working on smaller projects that you'd encounter at a smaller firm where you'd get broader experience, more responsibility, and/or a shot at someday running the show.)
mooudn wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:41 pm ...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.
Yet at the same time, you don't care enough about work to really excel. The statement that "you're doing the minimum required" is a red flag to me. It suggests to me that all this other discussion about elite MBAs or med school is completely off the table. None of the elite paths are going to be open to someone who's spent substantial time skating by doing the minimum required. Perhaps you were exaggerating, but if this is how you feel, then soul searching is in order. But the answer might not be to go to a different industry but rather to downshift and become the big fish in a small pond (for more experience, responsibility, and money)? Or you're going to have to retrain for more satisfying work, which might pay even less than what you're making now.

How likely are you to work harder at anything else? Even the high-paying CS jobs are going to require enthusiasm, aptitude, and a willingness to go for it and work hard. For all of the talk about successful programmers who got into the industry without formal education or just a minimal bootcamp, there are a number of CS graduates in the bottom 25% of skill who never were able to get great-paying jobs at hot companies, or even get jobs utilizing their degrees at all.
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gr7070
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by gr7070 »

The odds of a late in life MBA paying more than an engineering career are low. Especially when considering the cost of a high end MBA.
stoptothink
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by stoptothink »

finite_difference wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 8:30 pm
mooudn wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:03 pm
sk2101 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:39 pm An engineering degree teaches one how to learn quickly, how to structure thinking and opens a lot of possibilities. Not to mention that an engineer will by definition be very good in math. I have a BSEC and ended up in corporate finance/investment management after getting an MBA. I could also have gone into computer science as I was very good at coding (in my time coding was required for engineers). My sons dentist is also a civil engineer and today makes a very good living with a regional chain of 5 huge dentistry offices.

Looking back on my engineering class, the most successful individuals were the ones who furthered their education after engineering school. THis is to say that you can do pretty much anything that intetrests you. Don't stop adding to your education, you can always learn a new discipline. And don't pursue anything you don't like just because it pays well, you need to have passion for it.
that's where my dilemma is. I secretly have a passion for and want to be a primatologist or biologist studying chimpanzees or the impact of climate change on toothed whales but it seems so far out of reach and like others have pointed out there's not much money in it.
If that’s truly what your dream or calling is, I would pursue it.
Just don't expect to be able to support yourself, let alone a family.
Dilbydog
Posts: 98
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Dilbydog »

OP.. I’m a degreed, but not licensed EE. After graduation I was not in love with the EE side of life, as my university catered more to CpE courses than EE courses. (No heavy power. I only had 1 course where we discussed 480, everything else was chip level power) I went to work for a General Contractor right after school as an entry level PM of construction. After 9 years I left and joined an electrical contractor, still on the PM side. We have about 30 EE PE’s on staff and 2 CE PE. While my base is comparable to our PE’s, our structured project performance comp can be as much as 5x our base. I also hold several state construction licenses for my company, which brings a little added comp, and job security. If you’re not in love with what you do, look to to construction side. And not the paper contractors, the ones that actually perform work.

Best.
E
ChicagoC
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by ChicagoC »

mooudn wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:05 pm
ChicagoC wrote: 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.
What do you mean by 'in-house'?
I became the client. I manage environmental issues for my company and go out and hire consultants to get the work done.
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sk2101
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by sk2101 »

mooudn wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:03 pm
that's where my dilemma is. I secretly have a passion for and want to be a primatologist or biologist studying chimpanzees or the impact of climate change on toothed whales but it seems so far out of reach and like others have pointed out there's not much money in it.
I am sure you have seen this:
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ncbill
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by ncbill »

Helo80 wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:24 pm
oldfort wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:36 pm The OP is 35 years old now, so shift your schedule to the right three years. BTW, the OP is planning to get married in the near future to a man.

35 YOA just makes things even worse.... Being 44 to 45 YOA and "finally" having the end-goal salary is scary, IMHO. That's the age where many LBYM physicians that have saved diligently throughout their career would begin to seriously look at their finances and wondering if they should scale it down whereas OP would have to scale it up... significantly, so that he could retire.

That being said, it's a 100% doable plan, but just expect 10 years of buckling it down and then hopefully finding a practice that works.
How physically fit is the OP?

US military took a relative (mid-30s) and sent them through medical school.

They retired @ O-5 rank & now work on a contract basis in different hospitals.
Topic Author
mooudn
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by mooudn »

Hi folks - Thanks again for everyone's suggestions...I re-read everyone's comments and came up with this summary of options (and some follow up questions that might help me narrow down things). I've ruled out JD and MD degrees as I don't have a lot of interest in those subject matters.


- stay within Civil

Lateral change into Structural
Civil design firm or Construction management

- MBA
Other than management consulting what else can i do with an MBA on top of a CE degree? What doors will this open? the management consulting lifestyle isn't for me long term (I'm not so keen on joining Mckinsey and the like and I don't think I have the personality)

- exec MBA
move laterally into management in the field I am in. Are we talking team lead? My company has technical team leads and managers and none of them have MBA degrees. Are we talking more like vice presidents etc? Does the exec MBA degree have to be from a top university?

- coding/software development
what doors can coding intertwined with geotechnical engineering open? CE software design firms perhaps? What kind of classes should I take on online platforms such as edx or coursera to be hired by CE software design companies?

- data science
I feel like this is more business oriented. will it any any value to my CE degree?

Looking forward to your feedback. From the summary above what's the best degree or certificate to obtain that would add the most value to my engineering degree? Is it the MBA or coding?
Valuethinker
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Valuethinker »

mooudn wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:36 am Hi folks - Thanks again for everyone's suggestions...I re-read everyone's comments and came up with this summary of options (and some follow up questions that might help me narrow down things). I've ruled out JD and MD degrees as I don't have a lot of interest in those subject matters.


- stay within Civil

Lateral change into Structural
Civil design firm or Construction management

- MBA
Other than management consulting what else can i do with an MBA on top of a CE degree? What doors will this open? the management consulting lifestyle isn't for me long term (I'm not so keen on joining Mckinsey and the like and I don't think I have the personality)
At your age, you are very unlikely to be hired by BCG-Bain-McKinsey. If you were First in your class at West Point, and exiting as an army captain + top 10 MBA, maybe yes. People at your age in those firms are Engagement Managers and are being groomed for partnership (although less than 1 in 10 will make that).

Top 4 ie EY PwC Deloitte KPMG? Maybe. But, again, the Senior Managers are that age.

It's very hard, from a top 10 MBA in your early 30s, to get into the prestigious jobs in the consulting-investment banking track.
- exec MBA
move laterally into management in the field I am in. Are we talking team lead? My company has technical team leads and managers and none of them have MBA degrees. Are we talking more like vice presidents etc? Does the exec MBA degree have to be from a top university?
Generally exec MBAs don't carry the kudos of the FT MBAs, from the same school. Some schools don't even allow access to the same recruiters in on campus recruitment programmes. And these days, the summer internship is really the job interview for post MBA, and an exec MBA would not be able to exploit that.

Most of the exec MBA programmes do however have distance-learning type options. Such as online classes during term time and then intensive "study weeks" where you get together. You can do a U of Chicago MBA in London, for example. And of course with Covid-19 *all* MBAs will be on-line this next year (pretty much, I assume).

So you can do a pretty prestigious exec MBA without living in say Philadelphia (Wharton).

Anyways half decent MBA programme will give you the learning. There may also be more specialised degrees e.g. in Project Management - ie that are relevant directly to your field.

What you can do with an exec MBA in your field, I don't know.
- coding/software development
what doors can coding intertwined with geotechnical engineering open? CE software design firms perhaps? What kind of classes should I take on online platforms such as edx or coursera to be hired by CE software design companies?
Over to our colleagues for thoughts. Might even be worth another thread. There is always ESRI - as I understand it, far and away the world's leader in geographic information systems (things like what pipes & wires are under a given intersection, etc).

I think, though, you would make a mistake if you chased a coding job simply for more money. Coding is a very tough, ascetic discipline - lots of hard concentration & debugging. It's a bit like (I imagine) writing poetry in an ancient language that no one speaks any longer.

What you need to know is whether you really like coding because then there is a greater chance that you will pour yourself into it and find an opportunity that is relevant. It's going to be a hard slog - what people ideally want is undergrad CS or EE + maybe a masters, then boom into the high pressure, high prestige employers (Goldman Sachs now competes against Google & Facebook to hire top coders, I gather). Or there are lots of people out there who don't work in those environments but make decent money coding for software houses or corporates.
- data science
I feel like this is more business oriented. will it any any value to my CE degree?
I worry how many people and degrees seem to be chasing this area. Again it's a question of finding out if you find it really interesting. Because if you do, you can work towards the combination of credentials and experience that might get you hired in it.

So I would look at online introductory courses in the field.
Looking forward to your feedback. From the summary above what's the best degree or certificate to obtain that would add the most value to my engineering degree? Is it the MBA or coding?
I do suggest reading Herminia Ibarra Working Identities - about how career change works in real life. And What Color is your Parachute, about the whole job change enterprise (and some useful self-diagnostic exercises).

It will be easier, and probably more lucrative, to find a different niche in civil engineering than in an unrelated subject.

I was in your shoes, at a later stage in life with more capital accumulated. I took a Masters degree (evening course) in something that really interested me which had no possible career relevance. Then, simply surfing online, I found an opportunity related to that field which I was actually qualified for (the financial side rather than the science side). And got that job. Took a pay cut but including pension it's net-net about even.

So at a stage in life when I expected to be doing the same thing for another 10 years (having done it for 10 already) and then to retire, instead I changed direction again. But looking back, I can see how I managed to incorporate parts of all my previous roles into this role.

I think you have a pretty good idea of what actually really interests you, what would lead to greater commitment. I think that is likely to be a better life outcome than chasing some high paying job on Wall Street or in consulting that you are unlikely to actually get.

The question is whether you can afford, financially, to pursue that interest now, or you have to say you are going to build up capital and keep it as an interest, perhaps going into that area later in life, or in retirement.
flyingcows
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:13 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by flyingcows »

mooudn wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:36 am Hi folks - Thanks again for everyone's suggestions...I re-read everyone's comments and came up with this summary of options (and some follow up questions that might help me narrow down things). I've ruled out JD and MD degrees as I don't have a lot of interest in those subject matters.


- stay within Civil

Lateral change into Structural
Civil design firm or Construction management

- MBA
Other than management consulting what else can i do with an MBA on top of a CE degree? What doors will this open? the management consulting lifestyle isn't for me long term (I'm not so keen on joining Mckinsey and the like and I don't think I have the personality)

- exec MBA
move laterally into management in the field I am in. Are we talking team lead? My company has technical team leads and managers and none of them have MBA degrees. Are we talking more like vice presidents etc? Does the exec MBA degree have to be from a top university?

- coding/software development
what doors can coding intertwined with geotechnical engineering open? CE software design firms perhaps? What kind of classes should I take on online platforms such as edx or coursera to be hired by CE software design companies?

- data science
I feel like this is more business oriented. will it any any value to my CE degree?

Looking forward to your feedback. From the summary above what's the best degree or certificate to obtain that would add the most value to my engineering degree? Is it the MBA or coding?
Do you want to remain in your current field because you enjoy it, do you just want more compensation and not care, or is it a combination of these things?

I say this because you could probably increase your compensation by 25-50% by simply taking an entry level software development job at a random company. As you progress, a few years down the line your compensation could be 2-3x what is it today. Taking that path wouldn't require additional formal education, most companies will take someone with any STEM related degree (which you already have) + basic software development competence. You would need to invest the time on your own to learn the basic competence part, and then choose a way to demonstrate your competence to prespective employers, such as via Open Source projects, or for profit projects.

That's the path that I choose, I know many software developers with various degrees, and some with none at all.

Good luck with whatever path you choose
jayk238
Posts: 665
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:02 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by jayk238 »

My dads an engineer and he told me that the pth to riches as an engineer required picking the right engineering.

Traditionally civil engineering paid the least. I have an uncle who made 200 k as a tenured professor at a big school teaching it but he also created a company and had patents years before.

Thats the challenge w engineering-industrial chemical and materials pay the least unless you are topflight working in cutting edge tech or invent/start a company.

Electrical and computer engineering are the best because of versatility. Maybe suggest getting another ms? Coding skills as other suggest?

Fwiw you may need to adjust expectations. Thats what my dad did-phd chem e and was stuck at 120 in a management position (mba at a top 15 paid by employer-so this is no path) and switched to the federal level as a result of downsizing. Now he makes about 100k w a generous pension and is happy w the simpler life. If you like teslas etc and second vacation homes maybe manage expectations. Luckily my dad doesnt care and is quite happy.

I on the other hand like the finer things in life.
co_investor
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:19 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by co_investor »

random_walker_77 wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:26 pm 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.
+1
Topic Author
mooudn
Posts: 68
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by mooudn »

flyingcows wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:45 am Do you want to remain in your current field because you enjoy it, do you just want more compensation and not care, or is it a combination of these things?

I say this because you could probably increase your compensation by 25-50% by simply taking an entry level software development job at a random company. As you progress, a few years down the line your compensation could be 2-3x what is it today. Taking that path wouldn't require additional formal education, most companies will take someone with any STEM related degree (which you already have) + basic software development competence. You would need to invest the time on your own to learn the basic competence part, and then choose a way to demonstrate your competence to prespective employers, such as via Open Source projects, or for profit projects.

That's the path that I choose, I know many software developers with various degrees, and some with none at all.

Good luck with whatever path you choose
what kind of courses should i take to go down the software development path?
Topic Author
mooudn
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:28 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by mooudn »

jayk238 wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:09 pm My dads an engineer and he told me that the pth to riches as an engineer required picking the right engineering.

Traditionally civil engineering paid the least. I have an uncle who made 200 k as a tenured professor at a big school teaching it but he also created a company and had patents years before.

Thats the challenge w engineering-industrial chemical and materials pay the least unless you are topflight working in cutting edge tech or invent/start a company.

Electrical and computer engineering are the best because of versatility. Maybe suggest getting another ms? Coding skills as other suggest?

Fwiw you may need to adjust expectations. Thats what my dad did-phd chem e and was stuck at 120 in a management position (mba at a top 15 paid by employer-so this is no path) and switched to the federal level as a result of downsizing. Now he makes about 100k w a generous pension and is happy w the simpler life. If you like teslas etc and second vacation homes maybe manage expectations. Luckily my dad doesnt care and is quite happy.

I on the other hand like the finer things in life.
Thats what i mean..i know i made the wrong choice with civil so now im trying to course correct with the least amount of financial damage. What's the best thing i can do now to make top dollar even if it means temporary loss of income.
Topic Author
mooudn
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:28 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by mooudn »

Valuethinker wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:55 am Most of the exec MBA programmes do however have distance-learning type options. Such as online classes during term time and then intensive "study weeks" where you get together. You can do a U of Chicago MBA in London, for example. And of course with Covid-19 *all* MBAs will be on-line this next year (pretty much, I assume).

So you can do a pretty prestigious exec MBA without living in say Philadelphia (Wharton).
Thanks for your message. I plan on reading the books you mention. This is a very good point. How can I take advantage of the pandemic and the fact that most university degrees are offered online now to advance myself?
flyingcows
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:13 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by flyingcows »

mooudn wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:31 pm
flyingcows wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:45 am Do you want to remain in your current field because you enjoy it, do you just want more compensation and not care, or is it a combination of these things?

I say this because you could probably increase your compensation by 25-50% by simply taking an entry level software development job at a random company. As you progress, a few years down the line your compensation could be 2-3x what is it today. Taking that path wouldn't require additional formal education, most companies will take someone with any STEM related degree (which you already have) + basic software development competence. You would need to invest the time on your own to learn the basic competence part, and then choose a way to demonstrate your competence to prespective employers, such as via Open Source projects, or for profit projects.

That's the path that I choose, I know many software developers with various degrees, and some with none at all.

Good luck with whatever path you choose
what kind of courses should i take to go down the software development path?
Good question, I know there is a lot of great online educational content out there now, when I started down this path in 2002 this type of content did not exist, I just used books.

When I was starting out I took a top down approach, everything began with a software project that I wanted to create. This served as a Catalyst and a motivator for learning, I would then read books on the technologies I would use to build these projects. My go to book series were published by a company called "O'Reilly", which at the time published a lot of great material, they had a subscription service called "Safari". After reading to understand what was possible, I would get to work. While reading provided some great initial guidance, the real learning begins when you actually work on something and realize how much you don't know. For me, the learning process was a bit chaotic because there was so much I did not know at the time, I had to travel down hundreds of rabbit holes. The key for me was having a software project that I wanted to build to keep me motivated.

If you can't think of any independent software projects that would motivate you, perhaps there are challenges at work. Keep it simple, it doesn't need to be complicated. Think of little things that you could improve with some software or automation, that is what I started with.
User avatar
gr7070
Posts: 1535
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Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by gr7070 »

mooudn wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:31 pm what kind of courses should i take to go down the software development path?
I'd recommend a new thread with an appropriate title attracting the many tech folks on this forum. Link to that thread in a reply here.

Probably search, as well, as I'm sure there have been many similar if not exact threads in the past.

Good luck!
Nathan Drake
Posts: 521
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:28 am

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by Nathan Drake »

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 .
Lol, your numbers just keep going up and up. Did you recently switch jobs again for another contractor gig charging $150/hr and working 60 hr weeks?
sjl333
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:59 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by sjl333 »

Nathan Drake wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:40 pm
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 .
Lol, your numbers just keep going up and up. Did you recently switch jobs again for another contractor gig charging $150/hr and working 60 hr weeks?
Yes, got a new job - current job countered to keep me on. 130/hr , 180/hr for OT. 350K-450K range salary.
sjl333
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:59 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by sjl333 »

Nathan Drake wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:40 pm
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 .
Lol, your numbers just keep going up and up. Did you recently switch jobs again for another contractor gig charging $150/hr and working 60 hr weeks?
you can read my past posts....

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=311120&p=5175290#p5175290
jayk238
Posts: 665
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:02 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by jayk238 »

mooudn wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:52 pm
jayk238 wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:09 pm My dads an engineer and he told me that the pth to riches as an engineer required picking the right engineering.

Traditionally civil engineering paid the least. I have an uncle who made 200 k as a tenured professor at a big school teaching it but he also created a company and had patents years before.

Thats the challenge w engineering-industrial chemical and materials pay the least unless you are topflight working in cutting edge tech or invent/start a company.

Electrical and computer engineering are the best because of versatility. Maybe suggest getting another ms? Coding skills as other suggest?

Fwiw you may need to adjust expectations. Thats what my dad did-phd chem e and was stuck at 120 in a management position (mba at a top 15 paid by employer-so this is no path) and switched to the federal level as a result of downsizing. Now he makes about 100k w a generous pension and is happy w the simpler life. If you like teslas etc and second vacation homes maybe manage expectations. Luckily my dad doesnt care and is quite happy.

I on the other hand like the finer things in life.
Thats what i mean..i know i made the wrong choice with civil so now im trying to course correct with the least amount of financial damage. What's the best thing i can do now to make top dollar even if it means temporary loss of income.
Make a hard assessment of your talents. Are you smart smart (95% percentile testing/academics) or just average engineering talent?
If you are honestly very smart then push yourself in another direction like electrical engineering etc.

If you dont think you are the ‘best of the best’ then choose mba path and push yourself to work on soft skills in addition-leadership, communication, and identify your weaknesses in civil engineering (getting the most bang for the buck-reducing pre existing weaknesses instead of attempting something entirely new).
oldfort
Posts: 1905
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Hopeless Civil Engineer

Post by oldfort »

jayk238 wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 4:30 pm
mooudn wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:52 pm
jayk238 wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:09 pm My dads an engineer and he told me that the pth to riches as an engineer required picking the right engineering.

Traditionally civil engineering paid the least. I have an uncle who made 200 k as a tenured professor at a big school teaching it but he also created a company and had patents years before.

Thats the challenge w engineering-industrial chemical and materials pay the least unless you are topflight working in cutting edge tech or invent/start a company.

Electrical and computer engineering are the best because of versatility. Maybe suggest getting another ms? Coding skills as other suggest?

Fwiw you may need to adjust expectations. Thats what my dad did-phd chem e and was stuck at 120 in a management position (mba at a top 15 paid by employer-so this is no path) and switched to the federal level as a result of downsizing. Now he makes about 100k w a generous pension and is happy w the simpler life. If you like teslas etc and second vacation homes maybe manage expectations. Luckily my dad doesnt care and is quite happy.

I on the other hand like the finer things in life.
Thats what i mean..i know i made the wrong choice with civil so now im trying to course correct with the least amount of financial damage. What's the best thing i can do now to make top dollar even if it means temporary loss of income.
Make a hard assessment of your talents. Are you smart smart (95% percentile testing/academics) or just average engineering talent?
If you are honestly very smart then push yourself in another direction like electrical engineering etc.
As someone near the OP's age with close to the OP's salary and a BS and MS in electrical engineering, I don't know why everyone acts like electrical engineering is some road to riches. Law, medicine, consulting, finance, and computer science can all be much more lucrative than EE.
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