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Help me revive my engineering career *warning long post*

(6 Posts)
BelleEtoile Mon 30-Oct-17 10:52:39

I am due to return to work shortly after ML.

I feel like I am at a crossroads in my career and don’t know what to do.

I have an engineering degree and carved out a decent career in environmental engineering, I knew what I was doing and was happy until I was suddenly made redundant a few years ago.
I couldn’t find a comparable job, worked in a couple of terrible jobs unrelated to engineering and finally found myself working admin (document control, filing etc) in a small, local structural engineering office.

The person covering me while on ML is staying on.
Frankly I am so relived as they are far better at administration than I will ever be and enjoy it.
The company has become busier and has huge potential growth so can support the additional staff.
I have the opportunity to develop my position in the company into something I want.
Management will support me as long as I can show it will benefit the company.
Realistically I feel I need a structured training course as my brain has gone to fluff. Any courses would have to be done online. I have money saved for a masters/postgrad etc.

I have come up with the following options.
1. Go back to Environmental Engineering. I would have find and do
an amazing masters in Environmental Engineering/Planning/Law
to compete in the current market and find an amazing job in a
city with a great salary to compensate for a 2/2.5 hour commute
each way and crazy additional childcare costs.

2.Do a really good post grad or masters in Structural Engineering.
Structural engineering was part of my degree but never my forte.
I need to refresh and update my knowledge to become part of
the technical team.

3.Do a postgrad in CAD (if one exists). Currently CAD is
outsourced. I have rudimentary knowledge of CAD and have been
using what little I know. I used to be a really creative person and
would really like to get that part of me back and learn more.

4.Go down the financial route. I love numbers and would like to
develop more financial analysis of projects the company works
on, compile BOQ, project costing etc. I currently do a lot prep
work for the accountant. The company has implemented Sage in
my absence and I am looking forward to getting to grips with it.

5.Something I haven’t thought of.

My head is spinning.
I have a great opportunity to develop my career and want to make the most of it.

Has anyone been in a similar position?
If you have a engineering degree what are you doing now?
Has anyone any advice?

2017RedBlue Tue 31-Oct-17 14:05:57

Go for 3 or 4. You sound more interested in these.

*I used to be a really creative person and
would really like to get that part of me back and learn more.*

I love numbers

For CAD you could start with something simpler than a Postgrad course to see how you get on. Can you find out where it is outsourced and why it is outsourced and if that company has any advice for you about where to train.

For project management and costings etc you could look at an MBA or some kind more specific project management related qualification.

The first two options sound either a) hard work/stressful or b) you're not that interested.

I'm not in engineering but I help Mums work out what they want to do next smile

thesandwich Tue 31-Oct-17 14:11:13

What about project management/ project planning? Prince2?

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Tue 31-Oct-17 14:12:50

Would you consider looking at thr Health and Safety Executive, and being a specialist Inspector in engineering? If they're not advertising today, they are always on the look out! Civil Service pay, pension and hours.....

NamedyChangedy Tue 31-Oct-17 14:21:15

It's great that your current firm will support you, and that you've saved up - you're in a very strong position, with lots of options open.

Other than striking out no.2 as you don't sound at all interested in structural engineering, I can't really offer any help as I don't know your industry well enough. (Although ironically I have an engineering degree, but ended up never using it!) For instance, how important is on-the-job experience versus academic qualifications? I work in an industry where developing a network of useful contacts is important, but I imagine that's not so much the case in engineering.

Do you know people in your field IRL who could offer some guidance on a) which areas would suit your skills best, and b) how to make yourself attractive to employers?

BelleEtoile Tue 31-Oct-17 17:41:18

Thanks everyone for replying
2017RedBlue Option 1 is not an option with the commute required, I'm just about to do the return leg of the same commute and the traffic is terrible this evening. I know I would be good at CAD, I think I should focus on that, just need to find a decent course. I know who it outsourced to, they are also engineers but trained for years working for large contractors working in their draughting offices. I never thought about an MBA, that's interesting. Sounds like you have an interesting job yourself! 😀

Thesandwich, will definitely look into Prince2.

VivenneWestwoodsKnickers, no H&S is not something I want to get into any further. I already do enough method statements etc for site H&S Managers. Also, it working for the HSE would also involve a serious commute.

NamedyChanaged since you have an engineering degree may I ask what are you doing now?
You need either very good education or on the job experience. Some of the guys I work with wouldn't have had the best academic records but with their vast experience their knowledge is second to none. They've tried helping me as much as they can but the their work is second nature to them and I think they just can't understand how it doesn't come naturally to me too. I don't know anyone else in engineering IRL. Ive lost contact with anyone I went to college with. Any acquaintances work in rival companies and aren't terribly friendly.

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