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: Should I go for a Master's in Structural or General Civil?  ( 18551 )
t_amos
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« : January 31, 2010, 07:25:41 AM »

Fellow Engineers,

Ever since I can remember, I have known that I wanted to have at least a Master's or a PhD in my field. I have a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in structural engineering from a highly ranked school. Initially, I thought I wanted to go into structural engineering, but ended up in land development right out of school. As of today, I have 7 years experience in general civil engineering including about a year and half in project management. Unfortunately due to the state of this economy, I was laid off.

So it clearly is the time for me to pursue further education.
The only concern I have is that I canít figure out which program to study between a masters in Structural or General.

Who has had to deal with this dilemma?

Any advice that anyone can provide would certainly help.
« : January 31, 2010, 04:59:30 PM t_amos »
admin
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« #1 : February 19, 2010, 11:45:03 AM »

I personally have an MBA, from which I have been able to derive considerable benefit because I now have my own consulting company. The reason why I opted for an MBA as opposed to an engineering-specific degree was becuase I knew in the back of my mind I would pursue other careers after engineering.
So far it has worked for me.
I suppose your dilemma could be settled if you figured out your long term goals and then analyzed what each degree offers and what will be benefial in the long run.
All the best.
m9ro6
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« #2 : February 24, 2010, 03:03:15 PM »

Most engineering jobs only require a BS. Besides, formal education is general, not job specific, so how is getting more of it going to help you get a job?
t_amos
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« #3 : February 25, 2010, 07:39:46 PM »

In addition to it being a personal quest for knowledge, I believe that having an advanced degree differentiates you from fellow job seekers. I know that experience surpasses education especially in engineering, but I am just making a preemptive move in case the job market rebounds and there is a high number of jobseekers in the market.
In such a case, I hope my advanced degree will be my saving grace.
Any thoughts?
m9ro6
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« #4 : February 26, 2010, 09:52:37 AM »

I donít want to discourage you. If it's a personal goal, I definitely think you should go for it. You have the luxury of free time (and I assume money) to pursue a passion until the economy comes back.

I guess all I'm saying is donít do it thinking itís vocational training. Most employers only require a BS and are looking for job specific skills, skills that can't be learned in school. The less time they need to invest in you to get you up to speed the better. This is even more true when dollars are tight. Excellent soft skills can also give you a huge advantage.

And, of course, I donít know what every employer out there is looking for, and Iíve seen some employers do ďpreferĒ a masterís for some jobs. Thereís really no one single equation for landing work. I can only share the one thatís worked for me and seems to have better odds in the marketplace.

It took me several engineering jobs and having been laid off twice - once while working on a masterís Ė to learn all this. Both times I was laid off I landed my next job through networking and focusing on marketing my experience. They didnít seem to care I was earning a masterís. My current employer actually hired me over a higher-degree candidate because I had the experience and interviewed better. I've also been on several hiring committees since, and we looked for candidates with experience that could, personality-wise, fit in with the team.

Right now Iím working on getting my PE license. I see on most job descriptions as, at least, a preferred requirement.
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