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Old 11-22-2014, 08:50 AM
 
58 posts, read 122,394 times
Reputation: 55

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Goals:
I'm contemplating a 2nd Bachelor's, this time in Civil Engineering at City University New York. My motivation is that I'm looking for a relatively high paying job (70K+/yr) with better than average job security and less demanding hours. I recently moved to North NJ I see tons of construction in the Greater NYC area. It seems like CE could provide me with the career that I'm looking for but I need more info. I'm looking for answers from people directly in the field or have direct knowledge of the topic (not just, "I think"). I would like to remain in the Greater NYC area.

My background:
-29 yo, BA Economics from a University of California school
-Took Calculus, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Regression, ANOVA; mostly As. Have not taken Chemistry or Physics.
-Worked in finance for a total of 3 years also have an MSc Finance. The subject matter, I enjoy; the people, the politics, pedigree BS, I don't enjoy. Also, I don't be a victim to another financial crisis or rather, I want a job that's important and not one that can be easily eliminated/outsourced.
-No kids, wife, or family commitments

Questions:
1. Anyone here have a similar background? Did you go back to school in your late 20s or later to study a STEM career? Did you have difficulty relearning/applying math?

2. If I didn't have difficulty with the math above, do I have the necessary quantitative ability to complete the degree? How often do you actually use Calculus/DiffEq on the job?

3. I find computer programming to be tedious. I can't even sit through a HTML instructional on YouTube. How often do CEs program?

4. Are job opportunities in NYC plentiful for CEs? How much can you make with a couple of years of experience in the private and public sectors? Are jobs with the MTA difficult to get? Are students from Columbia, NYU, Cornell preferred over CUNY students for any jobs?

5. I'm mainly looking at CUNY because I'm out of money and I don't want to be in debt because I hate debt. I also like the Greater NYC area and going to school here would be a big plus. Are there any CUNY CE grads here? Would you recommend the program?

6. What kind of hours can I expect? Can I get away with a standard "9 to 5?" I'm starting to enjoy the concept of leisure time as I get older and I want a good paying job that allows me to have this lifestyle.

Any questions you can answer would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I made a big mistake by entering and staying in a profession that I knew wasn't right for me. Rather than just give up and get a 'normal' office job, I want to make a 2nd attempt at doing something that I enjoy.

I've read other threads but I have specific questions that I'm seeking answers to.
CUNY-City College (CCNY) or Stony Brook University (SUNY)
Took the MTA Train Operator Exam, got the results, what is Next?

Thank you
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:03 AM
 
6,962 posts, read 10,846,505 times
Reputation: 7450
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalystTherapist View Post
Questions:
1. Anyone here have a similar background? Did you go back to school in your late 20s or later to study a STEM career? Did you have difficulty relearning/applying math?

My degree is in Civil/Environmental. I work in the Environmental Engineering field.

2. If I didn't have difficulty with the math above, do I have the necessary quantitative ability to complete the degree? How often do you actually use Calculus/DiffEq on the job?

The degree won't be hard to complete. With the math done, you are looking at maybe 1.5-2 years. Full time. Statics, Dynamics, Materials, and then upper level.

You will use Calculus never. Structural engineers do more complicated math, but outside of that, most calcs are pretty simple.

3. I find computer programming to be tedious. I can't even sit through a HTML instructional on YouTube. How often do CEs program?

Never...

4. Are job opportunities in NYC plentiful for CEs? How much can you make with a couple of years of experience in the private and public sectors? Are jobs with the MTA difficult to get? Are students from Columbia, NYU, Cornell preferred over CUNY students for any jobs?

Civil engineers are getting jobs, which is not to say recruiters are calling you off the hook. But I know for a fact people are fresh grads are getting jobs. There is some preference for MIT/Columbia/Cornell in Structural engineering. Otherwise, what school you went to doesn't matter that much.

5. I'm mainly looking at CUNY because I'm out of money and I don't want to be in debt because I hate debt. I also like the Greater NYC area and going to school here would be a big plus. Are there any CUNY CE grads here? Would you recommend the program?

CUNY is fine. Cheaper is better.


6. What kind of hours can I expect? Can I get away with a standard "9 to 5?" I'm starting to enjoy the concept of leisure time as I get older and I want a good paying job that allows me to have this lifestyle.

You can, but you are likely to have to work some extra hours. Depends on the company and your work ethic. Engineering in general is not something that is straight 40 hours. The more you do DESIGN, the more of your own hours you will eat. You are producing a product, and you have a professional duty to design it well.

Any questions you can answer would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I made a big mistake by entering and staying in a profession that I knew wasn't right for me. Rather than just give up and get a 'normal' office job, I want to make a 2nd attempt at doing something that I enjoy.

Thank you
Civil engineers in the NY/NJ area are looking at 45-50K to start with a bachelors. A bit higher if you get in with a large company doing structural and/or have a masters.

If your plan is to find something you would enjoy more, then it is possible that you would like it. Civil engineering has so many subsets and they are all very different. There's at least five very distinct subsets, and they are all essentially different careers, so you need to pick one. I can tell you a bit more if you like. We have every subset at my company (though some are small).

If your plan is for more $ and job security, I would generally not suggest you change.

Also. If you have plans of designing grand bridges, and highway systems and skyscrapers, I can tell you that is not likely to happen. I have a pretty good grasp of what the daily routine is like for the average CE in each subset.

Last edited by jobaba; 11-22-2014 at 10:13 AM..
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:13 AM
 
58 posts, read 122,394 times
Reputation: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by jobaba View Post
Civil engineers in the NY/NJ area are looking...
Thank you!

I was thinking about the Transportation Specialization. I can't imagine NYC without the subway or another Bridgegate type controversy. From my layman view, I see it as every bit as essential as power and water. The later may be the safest concentrations but my interest is really with bridges and metro systems. Is there a difference between design and inspection? Would the latter be the types of jobs that I'm actually inquiring about but not articulating effectively?

55K would be great for an "easy" job - I live with my dad and after taxes, all of that would be savings for me! My plan is to eventually get a Master's for the pay bump but that's like 3 years away.
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:20 AM
 
28 posts, read 46,948 times
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It's strange that you aren't making $70k+ with your current qualifications. Even gov't paid bank examiners $70k+ with your qualifications.

Also, my friend graduated from NYU poly and he and many other CE majors aren't finding jobs plentiful. First he worked at DOT and now DEP. Still making less than $60k. Lots of opportunity for OT though.
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:27 AM
 
6,962 posts, read 10,846,505 times
Reputation: 7450
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalystTherapist View Post
Thank you!

I was thinking about the Transportation Specialization. I can't imagine NYC without the subway or another Bridgegate type controversy. From my layman view, I see it as every bit as essential as power and water. The later may be the safest concentrations but my interest is really with bridges and metro systems.
Transportation is a good field.

There are not as many jobs for it because ... as you suspect, roads and such don't always need to be built.

I'll go back a bit to what I said before. Almost every student who majors in Transportation Engineering wants to work on Mass Transit system, NYC subway, and NY/NJ light rail extensions, and major bridges and tunnels, etc. The reality is that the contracts for those types of jobs don't come around that often, and if you do work on it, it may not be on design. You may be doing procurement engineering or construction management. Just so you know.

Likely, you will start out designing roads and pavement. Road curves and such. Drafting in CAD and doing inspections.

Check out this company. They are definitely on the high scale of what you would want.

TranSystems - Search Career Opportunities
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:33 AM
 
58 posts, read 122,394 times
Reputation: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by nynewyorker View Post
Also, my friend graduated from NYU poly and he and many other CE majors aren't finding jobs plentiful. First he worked at DOT and now DEP. Still making less than $60k. Lots of opportunity for OT though.
Thanks for this bit. That salary doesn't sound bad for a single person. Probably difficult if you live in non-ghetto areas of Manhattan with family but for a single person like me living at home, that's perfect. As long as I can clock out at 5 and concentrate on extracurricular activities like reading.
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:41 AM
 
58 posts, read 122,394 times
Reputation: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by jobaba View Post
There are sooo many jobs! Are all of those programs (Microstation, Geopak, etc.) taught under bachelor's or on the job? The railroad job posting on that site got me thinking about other opportunities as well. Can you apply a lot of the structural and transportation knowledge to seaport infrastructure like at the Port of Houston or Port of NY/NJ? There's a huge shale oil boom going on (for now) and they're expanding pipelines in Houston to accommodate LNG and LPG exports. Or does one need Petro Eng or Marine Trans specific education?
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:07 AM
 
6,962 posts, read 10,846,505 times
Reputation: 7450
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalystTherapist View Post
There are sooo many jobs! Are all of those programs (Microstation, Geopak, etc.) taught under bachelor's or on the job? The railroad job posting on that site got me thinking about other opportunities as well. Can you apply a lot of the structural and transportation knowledge to seaport infrastructure like at the Port of Houston or Port of NY/NJ? There's a huge shale oil boom going on (for now) and they're expanding pipelines in Houston to accommodate LNG and LPG exports. Or does one need Petro Eng or Marine Trans specific education?
Microstation is a version of CAD that is used a lot in Transportation. That and Geopak will not generally be taught at the undergrad or really, Masters level.

As I mentioned before, one of the (IMO) crappy things about Civil engineering is you must specialize. Structural engineers who work on Transportation structures are not transportation engineers. What you are seeing is two different career paths. Entirely different animals though they may work in concert at times.

Pipeline engineers could be Civils but what Civils are usually needed to do in that process is figure out the drainage and grading for all of the ground they cut up for the pipes and design roads for construction workers, etc. The shale and natural gas is a completely different thing. If you wanted to do that, then I wouldn't suggest you major in Civil.
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Old 11-22-2014, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Confines of the 101 Precinct
19,221 posts, read 32,730,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalystTherapist View Post
Goalsand less demanding hours.
Civil engineering is not the occupation for you if you're looking for a career with less demanding hours.
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Old 11-22-2014, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Planet Earth
3,849 posts, read 7,303,220 times
Reputation: 1562
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalystTherapist View Post
55K would be great for an "easy" job - I live with my dad and after taxes, all of that would be savings for me! My plan is to eventually get a Master's for the pay bump but that's like 3 years away.
That's definitely going to be more than 3 years away if you haven't taken Physics yet. You need Physics to get into Statics, and Statics to get into everything else . You also need to take a computer programming course to get into Statics.

There's a couple of classes which require a lot of programming. Data Analysis and Computational Methods in CE. (For all the other classes, the programming class is a prereq, but you don't really use it). Physics, obviously you're going to be using a lot.

Here's the curriculum in case you're interested: http://www.ccny.cuny.edu/engineering...2013-07-01.pdf

Also, when you say you took Linear Algebra, did that class have a vector calculus component? Because that's the class that's required for CEs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalystTherapist View Post
There are sooo many jobs! Are all of those programs (Microstation, Geopak, etc.) taught under bachelor's or on the job? The railroad job posting on that site got me thinking about other opportunities as well. Can you apply a lot of the structural and transportation knowledge to seaport infrastructure like at the Port of Houston or Port of NY/NJ? There's a huge shale oil boom going on (for now) and they're expanding pipelines in Houston to accommodate LNG and LPG exports. Or does one need Petro Eng or Marine Trans specific education?
As far as I know, the only drafting program they teach is AutoCAD.
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