Structural Engineers – What Types of Projects Do They Work on?
As a sub-discipline of civil engineering, structural engineering deals with the design and development of safe and solid structures. Structural engineers design the “skeletons” of various buildings, bridges, and other nonbuilding structures. They also need to precisely calculate the stability, rigidity, security as well as earthquake susceptibility of built structures. Let’s put it this way, as a structural engineer you should be able to design structures that can resist force and pressure such as earthquakes, storms, high winds, etc.
Structural Engineers’ Career Path
To give you a better idea of what structural engineers do, it would be relevant to display their career path and general opportunities that they get for growth.
If you are into maths and science, have analytical and problem-solving skills then structural engineering might be what you’d love doing. There are multiple ways to start your structural engineering career. Here are the main ones:
- Take a university/college course,
- Learn the profession through an apprenticeship,
- Work your way up to the position. You can start the path as a civil or construction engineering technician and simultaneously, study for the corresponding degree.
Structural engineers need to develop and practice certain skills to achieve heights in their careers. Some of the skills you need to have as a structural engineer are as follows:
- Knowledge in mathematics
- Deep insights into engineering science and technology
- Understanding of buildings and constructions
- Skills in design
- Verbal communication skills
- Attention to detail
These skills will get you going in the field of structural engineering.
Web Development & Structural Engineering
The technological advances of our era open new opportunities for specialists in various fields making pretty much every aspect of life more diverse and broad. Structural engineering is not an exception. The modern technology industry allows you to pursue your interest in structural engineering while not having to give up on your web development career or vice versa. Whether you are an experienced web developer with an interest in structural engineering or a qualified structural engineer with a passion for web development, there is a cure for both cases, the golden mean.
Requirements for developing a structural engineering software
Guess what? You can become a software engineer who develops structural engineering software. To succeed in this you will need to work on the following skills:
- Good knowledge of the basics of mechanics, design, and structural analysis.
- Deep insights into the Finite Element Method or FEM.
- Structural analysis and design skills and experience would be an asset.
- Excellent knowledge of construction materials and construction and fabrication methods.
- Sound understanding of the most commonly used software for drafting, design, and structural analysis.
- Good command of a programming language that supports:
- Numerical computations
- Graphical representation
- Expertise in software engineering methodologies such as procedural and object-oriented approaches as well as an understanding of UML, i.e. the Unified Modelling Language.
If you are just starting in either of these fields, we highly recommend getting a degree in structural engineering as such a qualification is more valuable for software companies. You can also learn to code and hone your skills using different online platforms. So, you have all the chances in the world to improve your skills and boost your web developer career while studying structural engineering. As soon as you get your degree, you will have some experience in coding and will be able to start a software development journey in structural engineering.
Types of Structural Engineering Projects
There are various types of structural engineering projects to fit the interests of any aspiring structural engineer. Regardless of your choice, it’s a field where you get the chance to have a positive and long-lasting impact on the world. So, if you are one of those people who want to make history, keep reading to find out more about the many types of projects that structural engineering offers:
1. New Construction
This is the most common job for structural engineers: helping to develop a new building. When working on new construction, a structural engineer will be responsible for checking the stability and rigidity of the suggested foundation and structure. Here are some of the main tasks you, as a structural engineer, will need to complete:
- Evaluate the soil type in the construction site.
- Check the solidity of the suggested foundation.
- Assess weather patterns.
As a general rule, people will hire you for the position in the early stages of the building plan development. So, you should design the structure and foundation according to the best standards. You might also be offered the position when there is a need for redevelopment or improvement in the construction.
In the case of redevelopment, there will be an additional weight which means that a need for a new foundation assessment will arise.
Other than this, you also need structural engineers for improving and fixing constructions that have certain structural issues.
2. Bridge Building
As a structural engineer, you can also assist in the construction of bridges. It requires a detailed analysis and a thorough report that will be implemented in the building of the bridge foundation.
3. Construction Site Inspections
Some projects require more than construction plan assessment and improvement. So, structural engineers may need to go to the construction site and monitor the development of the building foundation. This assures that building code compliance requirements will be met more precisely and there will be a minimized need for future improvements and changes.
4. City Infrastructure
Structural engineers can work on large city infrastructure-related projects together with civil engineers. They can also assist in the planning of:
- Major roads
- Other projects initiated by the local community
Again, you will need to evaluate the project plan and ensure it can resist bad weather conditions, high-volume traffic, and other relevant stress factors.
5. Impact Analysis
Another interesting task you can have in your structural engineering career is the assessment of the impact that some community development projects can have on the structures in the surrounding area. For instance, such projects as a new road building, public water redirection, or a local waterway expansion should be thoroughly evaluated in terms of community development impact.
A structural engineer will be able to analyze and detect any possible negative effect that the above-listed projects can have on the buildings in the area and their structural integrity. In conclusion, Structural engineering is a field of crucial importance and structural engineers do a highly responsible job. They also ensure that the design and development of our houses, buildings, bridges, and other constructions are on the safest foundations.
Anjelika Grigoryan is a content marketing professional at ItHire.com, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Also, Rodney is a traditional and digital marketing specialist. He graduated with honors from Armenian State University with a dual degree in Business and Marketing faculty.