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Old 06-21-2010, 01:07 AM
 
Location: Fairbanks
204 posts, read 241,216 times
Reputation: 77

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Lately, I've been bogged down with the idea of switching my major from Fisheries Sciences to Civil Engineering while attending UAF. I figured I'd post here for some of youse guys opinions.

Has anyone here majored in either of these at UAF and can offer any personal feedback?

Do you know of someone who has and want to relate their experiences? Another thing is job opportunities.

It's pretty much a given that there are Fishery jobs in Alaska, but what's the outlook like for opportunities in Civil Engineering? I've checked Workplace Alaska and the salaries between the two fields are staggering.

Thanks in advance for the advice, everyone.
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Bernalillo, NM
724 posts, read 856,843 times
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I went to UAF for a masters in environmental sciences, which at the time was offered through the Civil Engineering Department. Now they've changed their name to the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Since my bachelors was a non-engineering (chemistry) degree, I couldn't get a masters in engineering, but took the same courses as the CEs in the program. Got a good job right after graduation and have never looked back.

This is pretty old history now (in the 1970s) but at the time UAF had a very good CE program, particularly if you were going to stay in Alaska and look for a job. All the folks I went to school with had no problems finding work, but having an advanced degree may have also made them more employable than someone with just a BSCE and no experience.

I think Alaska is going to continue to need civil and environmental engineers, but the job opportunities will depend on how much development and government projects happen in the future. Most such jobs are either with government agencies or engineering/environmental firms that work on government projects. Much fewer private development/engineering jobs in my opinion. If you want to get more into the private sector, mining engineering might be a better choice, which UAF is strong on. But even these jobs are dependent on government to some extent, since new mining won't occur without government permits.

You say it's a given there's fisheries jobs in AK, but will a fishery sciences degree land you a good job? Or looking at it another way, what jobs would be available because you have that degree that you couldn't get without it? Seems pretty clear to me that an engineering degree puts you in a whole different job group than what you would qualify for without it, not as clear to me that a fishery sciences degree has a similar impact. Of course, I know relatively little about the fishing industry, other than what I've generally heard about commercial fishing, so maybe my perspective is skewed a bit.

Sounds like you may want to talk to some academic counselors at UAF, in both departments, to see what they say about likely job prospects in their respective industries. Not sure how helpful they might be but can't hurt to see whether they have any info that would be helpful in making your decision.

Also, interning for a company while in school is a great way to get your foot in the door for a job after graduation. Doubt there are very many prospects for a fisheries intern in Fairbanks, but interning possibilities are something else to ask the counselors about. And you might get a list of engineering companies in Fairbanks from the counselor, or make your own list, and see if any of them will talk to you about interning or likely job prospects in general with their company or in the overall industry. Anything you can learn from them should be helpful, plus it also helps get you on their radar screen as someone that stands out from the pack of other possible hires.

Joining and being active (including getting into a leadership role) in a student engineering chapter at UAF, if you go the engineering route, is another way to network and make as many contacts as possible with folks that ultimately might help you land a job after school. And/or maybe attend regular local engineering society meetings. Not sure if there's anything like this in fisheries.

Seems like you have some time to make a decision and so can spend some fact-finding time. Plus the more you get yourself out among potential employers the better visibility you'll have relative to other possible job applicants. And talking to companies now may give you some valuable experience in handling job interviews whenever you reach the point of trying to find a job.
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Palmer
2,492 posts, read 3,997,022 times
Reputation: 1248
I think there will be more work with a civil engineering degree. Alaska is a resource development state and will continue to be for a long time. We will need engineers for roads, construction, even mining. I think you will be better off with that. I think most people who get into fisheries science end up volunteering and working low pay jobs in the field as they wait for openings.

Mining is still a big deal here, even though most of the mines are disallowed because of environmental concerns, they still need engineers to study the feasibility of mines. My daughter left this morning for the field to check on wetlands in a right of way for a pipeline. So even with a degree in rangeland management you can end up working in the mining field. She is working for a private company contracted out to the mining company, not the government.
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
1,435 posts, read 1,879,050 times
Reputation: 3359
At least one large oilfield contractor indicates that 80% of the resumes received for engineering positions (civil, petroleum) come from outside the state. They find it difficult to find qualified folks in state many times and must hire from outside. Alaska also has "local Hire" policies for some jobs which would bode well for someone in this field who was trained and is currently living in Alaska. On the other hand, this same employer laid off 40 engineers last year.

Although they've been discussing a gas pipeline since the 70's it appears closer now than it ever has been. Being here when that takes off would certainly be an advantage.

Discussing this with a counselor, as previously suggested, would be a good idea. Trying to find an economist who not only tracks historical data but also anticipates where we're headed would be good too. If you ever get a chance to hear Neal Fried speak, do it. He is an economist with the State of Alaska who has been doing this for a long time. He's amazing when evaluating employment trends.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Fairbanks
204 posts, read 241,216 times
Reputation: 77
Thanks for all the replies, fellas. I've been reading everything I can on UAF's CE department site. I'll probably call up there this week and talk to someone in the department. The jobs I was looking at were State jobs, and it just seemed like the Engineers made money right out the door. Let me explain... I'm not money hungry, but I'll be older than most when I graduate, so I want to get a jump start on earning potential. Civil Engineering with an emphasis on Environmental Engineering is what I was thinking, and then possibly continuing on for a Master's in Environmental Engineering. I was planning on looking for an internship over the next summer break. Another thing is that my grades are good enough to be considered for the Engineering Honor Society, provided I can maintain a top 20% ranking in my Junior class. I will definitely look for an Engineering club to join when I get to school. Lots of good advice from youse guys. Thanks so much for all the advice, I can't thank you all enough.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:48 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
13,046 posts, read 14,640,744 times
Reputation: 8425
Quote:
Originally Posted by UAFBoundYankee View Post
Thanks for all the replies, fellas. I've been reading everything I can on UAF's CE department site. I'll probably call up there this week and talk to someone in the department. The jobs I was looking at were State jobs, and it just seemed like the Engineers made money right out the door. Let me explain... I'm not money hungry, but I'll be older than most when I graduate, so I want to get a jump start on earning potential. Civil Engineering with an emphasis on Environmental Engineering is what I was thinking, and then possibly continuing on for a Master's in Environmental Engineering. I was planning on looking for an internship over the next summer break. Another thing is that my grades are good enough to be considered for the Engineering Honor Society, provided I can maintain a top 20% ranking in my Junior class. I will definitely look for an Engineering club to join when I get to school. Lots of good advice from youse guys. Thanks so much for all the advice, I can't thank you all enough.
Excellent ideas. You got things under control; just forge ahead. The Engineering Dept. at UAF is quite good. During the winter, the civil engineer students build an ice bridge right across the Library. They build other things from ice, and compete with other universities throughout the US.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Fairbanks
204 posts, read 241,216 times
Reputation: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
Excellent ideas. You got things under control; just forge ahead. The Engineering Dept. at UAF is quite good. During the winter, the civil engineer students build an ice bridge right across the Library. They build other things from ice, and compete with other universities throughout the US.
I knew about the ice arch, but didn't know about the ice bridge. Thanks for the heads up on that one. Seems they participate in a few competitions throughout the year. I think it'll be a great experience to go to school in Alaska. I'm seriously counting away the days until I finally get to F'banks. lol
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:48 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,078 times
Reputation: 10
saranathan
oman

I am civil engineering graduate.I am indian . I am working in oman as RESIDENT ENGINEER in oman arab engineering consultancy. I got my degree in 1980.I am interested in getting job in USA/CANADA.
I got more than 25 years experience. I got the skills in following software.

MS PROJECT,PRIMAVERA P6, AUTOCAD, ARCHICAD 12 , MS OFFICE

If anyone gives me your suggesstions, advice regarding my job search, I will be thanful to you.

thanking you,
saranathan
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
13,046 posts, read 14,640,744 times
Reputation: 8425
Quote:
Originally Posted by saranathan View Post
saranathan
oman

I am civil engineering graduate.I am indian . I am working in oman as RESIDENT ENGINEER in oman arab engineering consultancy. I got my degree in 1980.I am interested in getting job in USA/CANADA.
I got more than 25 years experience. I got the skills in following software.

MS PROJECT,PRIMAVERA P6, AUTOCAD, ARCHICAD 12 , MS OFFICE

If anyone gives me your suggesstions, advice regarding my job search, I will be thanful to you.

thanking you,
saranathan
I know several engineers at UAF who are from India, most working on their masters. Some have left Alaska already to look for work in other States, since it's difficult to come from overseas and get in front of the local engineers waiting for the same job openings. The unemployment figures in Alaska, although better than several other places in the rest of the US, isn't necessarily very good (around 8%, I believe).

Some of the engineers I mentioned above moved to CA, and another to NY looking for job opportunities. But these fellows already had family members living in the US for a long time.

You may want to contact some of the major engineering firms in the US, England, etc. to see if they offer jobs to foreign engineers, since a lot of companies do that.
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