Employee Spotlight: Career Advice from Engineers in Training
If you’re an engineering student, you might be searching for a job or internship right about now. It can be stressful, especially this year. That’s why we asked two of our Engineers in Training for their best career advice. Keep reading for tips from Kirk and Matt, two aspiring engineers who were in your shoes a few years ago.
Kirk Stewart: Writing is an essential skill, even in the engineering field
“It is a misunderstanding to do engineering to get away from writing,” Kirk Stewart, Engineer in Training said.
Kirk works in our Junction City office. He graduated from Kansas State University in May 2019 and became an Engineer in Training in July 2019.
Writing may not seem like the most necessary skill in the engineering world, but Kirk argues that it is essential for engineers. He uses his technical writing skills every day to complete drainage reports and communicate with clients.
Kirk said college offered a lot of helpful resources for the job search, like an English class he took focusing on written communication for engineers. He said he learned in college that some classes were more important than others for his career goals.
After four years as an Engineer in Training, Kirk can take the Professional Engineer’s Exam and become a licensed Professional Engineer. Once he becomes a Professional Engineer, he said he would like to branch out and work on projects with a larger scope, like designing a storm water plan for a city or analyzing a longer segment of a river.
While having the skills to visualize and design various infrastructures and systems is a primary focus in a civil engineering career, Kirk said writing is a skill all engineers should have.
“Getting better at writing is the best way to go,” he said.
Matt Rowe: You can work on a variety of projects as a civil engineer
Whether your passion is storm sewer systems or bridges, there is a lot you can do with a civil engineering degree. Matt Rowe, Engineer in Training, learned that after getting a degree in civil engineering from Kansas State University in 2018.
Matt said he always liked designing and building things when he was younger. He grew up on a farm and enjoyed learning how things worked.
Matt started working at Kaw Valley Engineering as an intern in our Lenexa and Junction City offices, and has been worked as an Engineer in Training in our Lenexa and Salina offices since 2018. He now assists Professional Engineers with grading plans, site design and layout, storm water reports and more.
Matt said during the job search, it’s important to find a company where you feel like a good fit with your coworkers. He also said within civil engineering, there is a wide variety of what you can do with a degree. You can design features for apartments or restaurants, or perform field testing of asphalt and concrete.
College internships are very important to learn about what you could be doing for your career as well as learn more about a company, Matt said. Through internships, you can find a company that fits you and your personality.
Matt’s goal is to keep growing as an engineer and get his Professional Engineer’s license. He wants to become more independent, design on his own and develop new clients. He enjoys civil engineering because he can work on a variety of projects, from apartments to restaurants to office buildings.
“There are different problems each day and each job is different,” Matt said.