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Engineering your career path: 3 tips to finding your best fit as a consulting engineer

By Sean Swartz, PE – February 23, 2021

We are kicking off our celebration of National Engineers Week 2021 with a message from Sean Swartz, our Senior Vice President, in charge of our Engineering and Testing group sharing some tips for anyone pursuing a career as a consulting engineer. We will be celebrating National Engineers Week all week so watch this blog for more content as we spotlight a couple of our exceptional engineering team members. 

It’s National Engineers Week 2021! At Braun Intertec, we are proud to be a leader within our engineering community, and we consider ourselves blessed to be fostering the careers of more than 200 geotechnical, environmental, structural, and mechanical engineers across our footprint. We give thanks to our engineers for the contributions they make to our clients and to our communities every day.

For anyone pursuing a career in engineering, here are three of my tips for finding your path:

1. Find a Company That Fits YOU. This is your career and your life. It’s important that you find a company with a culture and opportunities that are a match to what YOU value and what you’re looking for. There are many different flavors of engineering companies out there, each having their own engineering specialties, culture/values, and opportunities for new engineers.  If you’re currently in school, take advantage of co-op and internship programs to “try on” one or more companies. If you’re not 100% set on what engineering specialty you want to focus on (it’s okay if you don’t), look for a growing company serving multiple engineering disciplines. And never be bashful about asking potential employers during interviews about what matters most to you.

2. Focus on Building Relationships. People want to work with those that they trust, and the best way to build trust is through relationships. As a consulting engineer, your future successes will be dependent upon your ability to build relationships: relationships with your clients, with your boss, with your co-workers, within the organizations you belong, and within your communities. Certainly, having solid engineering skills and capabilities is a baseline requirement within consulting engineering, though it’s your ability to build relationships that will set you apart from others. Unfortunately in school, there were no required classes that taught us how to build these all-important relationships. You’ll be best served by either emulating those within your life or your company that do it really well, and rest assured there are countless books and seminars on the topic.

3. Be Open to New Opportunities. When you get the chance to learn something new, to work on a project that is a bit out of the ordinary, to take on a new role (even if only temporary), or to otherwise stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone – say YES!  Your career will be made up of a multitude of experiences, the more the better. Through each new experience you may find success or you may find failure; you may find enjoyment or you may find discomfort.  Regardless of the outcome, you will have learned something new and have gained a perspective that you didn’t have before you said YES.  It’s that new perspective that’s going to make you a better engineer, make you more valuable to your employer, and be a better teacher and leader to our next generation of engineers.  Be curious and never stop learning.

At Braun Intertec, we’re a growing multi-discipline engineering firm that continually has opportunities for new engineers across each of our locations — we will always be hiring great people. Culturally, we value a strong sense of ownership as a 100% employee-owned company, and we value those with a service mindset, a robust work ethic, strong interpersonal skills, and a desire to have fun. We pride ourselves on the trust and relationships that we’ve established over our 60+ years within the industry, and it’s those relationships that lie at the core of our culture that makes us great. If you’re looking for an exciting learning opportunity and building relationships with a fun team, I encourage you to visit our Careers page and reach out to our recruiting team.

To all the engineers out there: Thank you for all that you do. Cheers to you!