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Civil Engineering Trends for 2015 — Which Skills will be the Most Valuable

December 9th, 2014

With the beginning of 2015 only a few weeks away, it is time to take stock of the world of civil engineering. This important scientific and technical discipline touches nearly all aspects of the human experience, from how we get the water needed for life to the roads where we commute to work everyday.

2015 is poised to be a big year for civil engineers. Let’s take a closer look at some expected trends for the practice over the next year.

Sustainable Development a Big Civil Engineering Trend

One of most promising civil engineering trends involves the increased emphasis on sustainable development practices. Considering the growing infrastructure problems in the United States and all over the world, engineers need to leverage sustainable techniques to improve the subsequent construction quality in building, road, and bridge design. It is also vital to improve energy efficiency when constructing buildings, considering the challenges of environmentally safe energy production in the 21st Century.

Nanotechnology and Smart Construction Materials gain Acceptance

Part of the move towards sustainable development in civil engineering involves the use of state of the art nanotechnology and smart construction materials to improve construction techniques. If you are currently working as a civil engineer with minimal exposure to these innovations, make the effort to research these new concepts as these skills are vital for your career development.

The Hot Civil Engineering Skills for the New Year

If you hope to become a civil engineer, or even look to improve your career prospects in the field, understanding nanotechnology and new construction techniques is paramount. Additionally, make sure you familiarize yourself with the latest versions of the engineering and design software and mobile apps used by engineers in their day-to-day work. No matter your engineering discipline, keeping abreast of new technologies and tools is an important part of your lifelong career.

If you need any additional advice on engineering career development, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing agencies in Washington State, they are also a great source of Seattle engineering jobs. Schedule some time with The Talley Group today!

Ethical Concerns for Civil Engineers

October 15th, 2014

The civil engineering field, like other engineering disciplines, relies on ethics to provide a moral center. Integrity, dignity, and honor remain the core traits for which all civil engineers strive. This happens through dedication to the hard work and problem solving that benefits both their clients and the public as a whole.

A Closer Look at the Core Principles of Engineering Ethics

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) maintains a Code of Ethics that gives guidance for how engineers can achieve the desired ethical impact on their profession. Four fundamental principles help execute this overall process.

  • Using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare and the environment.
  • Being honest and impartial and serving with fidelity the public, their employers and clients.
  • Striving to increase the competence and prestige of the engineering profession.
  • Supporting the professional and technical societies of their disciplines.

These same principles also apply for engineers of all disciplines. Leveraging skill and knowledge in an honest fashion to serve, while helping to raise the bar for the engineering profession as a whole is an inspirational charge that both motivates existing engineers while attracting new blood to the profession.

ASCE Code of Ethics offers a Roadmap for Engineers to Thrive

Beyond its core principles, the ASCE Code of Ethics offers additional detail on how civil engineers can energize their career by following their guidelines and fundamental canons. Whenever an engineer is faced with a difficult decision regarding project work or even a change in employer, the Code of Ethics serves professionals well as both a guidebook and a source of inspiration.

All civil engineers, and all engineers for that matter, would benefit greatly by studying the ASCE Code of Ethics, and use the content within to drive how they face each working day.

If you are looking to take your civil engineering career to the next level, talk to the staffing experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing agencies in the area, they provide a good source of Seattle engineering jobs and more. Make it a point to schedule a meeting with The Talley Group today!

Three Steps to Improve your Technical Writing

July 16th, 2014

While engineering ability and technical acumen are still vital attributes for anyone working as an engineer, it is important not to forget “soft” skills like verbal and written communication. Technical writing is especially relevant for an engineer, given the need for quality documentation in most projects.

Also, authoring an industry article or two helps to position yourself as a thought leader in the engineering field. In short, quality writing skills are good for your career. Given that fact, let’s take a look at three tips to improve your technical writing.

Find the Simple in the Complex

Considering the complex nature of most engineering disciplines, it is important for engineers to express these ideas simply in writing, especially when the audience is the general public. Even when producing technical documentation to be used in a project, take the steps to simplify the material by leveraging graphics, bullet points, and formatting. This helps make any documentation an easier read no matter the ultimate audience.

Leverage Templates and Modular Writing

For documentation that follows a standard format, leverage word processing templates to make the overall writing process easier. Some engineering firms also use modular writing techniques that allow each team on a project to contribute their own content to a larger, system-wide document. These templates and modular style usage also give the reader a familiar format that helps with understanding the underlying material.

Consider taking Formalized Technical Writing Classes

Since written communication skills definitely help your career prospects, it makes sense to consider taking a formal technical writing course. In addition to improving your writing, the best courses also help focus your mind on clearly defining the modular aspects of any engineering project. This clearer thinking also can ultimately sharpen your engineering skills in addition to your writing capabilities, so the benefits to improving your communication skills are many!

If you need any additional advice on engineering career development, including improving your written communication abilities, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing agencies in the Seattle area, they can help ensure your career stays on the right path. Schedule some time with them today to find out about the great civil engineering jobs in Seattle!

Blast from the Past Engineering Marvel: The Hoover Dam

November 15th, 2012

Design, safety and economics were the top three priorities when building the Hoover Dam Bypass. It is one of the great structural engineering marvels of the world, and rightfully so, after taking nearly a decade to complete. The project stretched across two states, Arizona and Nevada, and included a 1,900’ crossing of the Colorado River.

Six contracting agencies were brought in to design and construct the bypass. The Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFLHD) of the Federal Highway Administration awarded the contract to engineering firm HDR for design and management services. HDR led the way for subcontractors and engineering partners.

The key piece of this project is the Mike O’Callaghan/Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, currently designated as the highest and longest arched concrete bridge in the Western Hemisphere, rising 890’ above the river.

The significance in the Hoover Dam Bypass is that its bridge is the first steel/concrete arch bridge constructed in the United States. The arch was created to compliment the landmark without ruining the beautiful tourist views of the Hoover Dam. The steel substructure allows for high intensity loads on the bypass. The two concrete arches are connected with steel struts, which provide a greater lateral strength in case of extreme winds or an earthquake. The bridge is also composed of trapezoidal steel box girders, integrated with post-tensioned concrete caps. These allow the roadway to serve as a lateral brace for the concrete columns, which are the highest in the world.

And of course, in the end, the final product looks beautiful, but the teams had to put up with some extreme challenges from Mother Nature. Rock had to be cut almost 100’ high, winds blew up to 70 miles per hour, and at times the temperature reached over 120 degrees.

One of the greatest outcomes of the project was the development of team building and partnerships between the engineers. Many had come from different backgrounds and skill levels, but all worked under the HDR umbrella to create the best possible product. The groups worked together to also grade and pave roadways, construct six other bridges, allow for wildlife crossings, drainage, lighting, utilities, traffic management systems, pedestrian accommodations, interpretive exhibits, high-voltage transmission line relocations, geotechnical engineering, surveying and mapping, and bypass corridor architectural design.

Contact The Talley Group for the top positions in civil engineering and work on life-impacting projects.

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