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Civil graduate looking for career advice

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 17th, 2019 2:51 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 22, 2018
23 posts
28 upvotes

Civil graduate looking for career advice

Hello all
I am a recent civil grad (june 2018) looking for some advice.
I spent the two month after graduation doing some research for one of the professors i worked with and had my name added to two publications(2nd/3rd author), i was promised to be enrolled into MAsc program this year, which unfortunately did not happen due to funding issues, this obviously disappointed me very much and so now i have been enrolled into and MEng program which may be transferred into MAsc later.
Due to these events, i have just started job searching again, however i currently have no experience (which is something i regret not pursuing earlier), what do you guys think would be the best action for me to take right now?
My undergrad GPA was quite low, but i repeated a few courses (such as advanced reinforced concrete to A or A-).

Thank you all for your potential input
6 replies
Jr. Member
Nov 22, 2017
130 posts
45 upvotes
You sound confused with what you want to do. Civil is a very broad field, transportation, geotech, surveying, structural, environmental are the main streams and then these are further broken down to design work which involves checking codes, specs, loadings, creating drawings, BIM or FEM analysis. The other side of it is construction, which involves project management, estimating, inspecting, etc. If you want to get into the design side of things, I highly recommend you stick with your plan continue doing MEng and hope to transfer to the MASc and do research. If you are looking for a job most fresh grads end up in project coordinator, inspector, or material testing roles and move on up from there. Broaden your horizon by not focusing your job search in the major metropolitan areas. Do not worry too much about your GPA, most places do not ask for it. You just want to get your foot in the door first. Try and see if you might have family, neighbours, friends working in the field and ask them for advice. Do some volunteering (habitat for humanity), join clubs or attend events from professional organizations, such as, peo, csce, ospe, etc. Best of luck with your search.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 22, 2018
23 posts
28 upvotes
You are correct that i am confused as in what i'd like to do. However, i did specialize in the Structural stream during undergrad, which is why i am going in the direction i am now. What confuses me is that it is really hard to find a decent(even mediocre entry level structural job).
as for transferring the MAsc, the current superviser i have worked with promised to have me start out as MAsc, which ended up not happening due to funding issues from his side, which was really discouraging for me/ i was never interested in pursuing a MEng as that will accumulate a lot of debt for me(where as in MAsc the tuition was covered and i would get paid stipends), im wondering what advices youd have in my situation, if thats ok with you.
A key thing here is that i put in a lot of work to be eligible for masters, having the MAsc thing taken away really takes a away my trust for this professor, but i feel like i am kind of stuck here now that i have put in so much work.
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2013
1042 posts
568 upvotes
North York
Doing a masters does not really guarantee a job after grad. The most important thing imo is experience. I was a grad in 2015 civ eng and the transportation and municipal engineering field was (and still is) in full force.
Structural is more cyclical but making connections is key if you want to land that first job. Check out the main engineering consulting players in the field. I've met a few new grads there, MAsc and MEng is not mandatory
Jr. Member
Nov 22, 2017
130 posts
45 upvotes
BaiLoSellHi wrote:
Jan 15th, 2019 12:34 am
What confuses me is that it is really hard to find a decent(even mediocre entry level structural job).
as for transferring the MAsc, the current superviser i have worked with promised to have me start out as MAsc, which ended up not happening due to funding issues from his side, which was really discouraging for me/ i was never interested in pursuing a MEng as that will accumulate a lot of debt for me(where as in MAsc the tuition was covered and i would get paid stipends), im wondering what advices youd have in my situation, if thats ok with you.
Did you apply to MASc because you couldn't find a job or do you truly want to do it?

Sometimes funding is out of a supervisor's control and sometimes they do it on purpose to see what kind of student you are first. If you feel they breached your trust then you can apply again to another school or supervisor but either way you lose a year as applications/acceptances have deadlines. If money is an issue for MEng then look at OSAP and other scholarships that could be of use. Maybe even ask your supervisor or any other professor to see if they are looking for a research assistant for the semester. Usually professors hire undergraduate or graduate students to help them with their research.

A master's isn't mandatory at all to find a job but it does help you alot especially if you are going into structural design. What you learned during your undergrad just barley scratches the surface. In my opinion it should be a requirement for any designing engineer to have their masters.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 22, 2018
23 posts
28 upvotes
I only applied to maybe 5 jobs prior to deciding to stay and help, although i had doubts about finding a job right out of school since most of the people in my program struggled to find jobs right out of school.
As for MAsc, the research was definitely something that i became very passionate about (Wind engineering for structural analysis purposes), i do have restraints about it as i am not quite sure where i will end up working (i was hoping for a structural firm or wind engineering firm(only 2-3 exists), but the pay is not great).
And i absolutely agree that what i learned in undergrad barely scratched the surface, i felt that somethings were too theoretical to actually be applied in real life and many elements of structural design was missing (such as fixity of joints, seismic design...etc).

i spoke to my superviser and we are gonna try to work something out with OSAP and some grants/research assistant position. What do you think i should do outside of school? (ie, networking, since my field is quite specialized.)
Deal Addict
Oct 21, 2006
2064 posts
297 upvotes
You say you have:

1) No experience
2) low GPA

That means apply over and over everywhere you can and hope for something entry level. Once you get an interview its going to be about personality and fit.

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