Finding extraordinary engineers for exceptional clients

What makes the Ideal Civil Engineering Manager?

January 20th, 2015

Project managers in any technical discipline bring a wide range of skills and abilities to the table. Those who work in civil engineering combine these capabilities with others unique to this niche within the engineering world. Needless to say, well-rounded individuals able to see a project from many different perspectives tend to thrive in this role.

So what makes an idea civil engineering project manager? Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding the Triple Constraint is Vital for Any Project Manager

Most projects — civil engineering and otherwise — rely on something called the triple constraint, which describes the interrelationship between time, cost, and quality within said project. A common refrain regarding this constraint states “you can have any two of those three.” In short, if you want something done quickly and cheaply, the quality will suffer.

Civil engineering project managers must have the ability to successfully balance the three items on the proverbial triple constraint. This takes great technical and analytical skills combined with intuition as well as strong communication abilities, especially when a project is taking too long or goes over-budget. Navigating the triple constraint is why project managers are well-paid.

Financial Skills are a plus for the Civil Engineering Manager

Most civil engineering projects must be completed on time with superior quality. Thus, being able to understand the financial aspects of a project is vital, considering that a project completed quickly with no defects will usually stress that project’s budget. Understanding costs and finances is an important skill of the project manager.

Don’t forget Leadership and People Skills

A civil engineering project manager is also a leader with exemplary people skills. The ability to inspire other engineers and team members plays an important role in the success of any project. Ultimately, the best engineering project managers are great leaders who inspire their team members to a high level of performance.

If you are a civil engineer looking to move into a management role, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top staffing agencies in Washington State, and a great source of Seattle civil engineering jobs, we can help your career immensely. Make it a point to meet with us 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!

ASCE Certifications: What they do for you

April 9th, 2014

If you are already enjoying a successful career as a civil engineer, and are looking for a way to boost your standing or maybe transition into a leadership role, consider acquiring one of the certifications provided by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Becoming certified shows that you take your career seriously and have the right mix of skills and knowledge to be an asset to any civil engineering company in the business.

Let’s take a closer look at the types of available ASCE certifications and the process to acquire them.

The Available ASCE Certifications

The ASCE created an organization called Civil Engineering Certification, Inc. (CEC) to manage the process of certifying civil engineers in a variety of disciplines related to the field. Various academies within the CEC also offer these specialized certifications. These include water resource engineers, coastal ocean, port and navigation engineers, and geo-professionals.

Promoting the certification process through CEC achieves four main goals for the ASCE. They include: developing leadership, advancing technology, advocating lifelong learning, and promoting the civil engineering profession as a whole.

The advantages to you as a certified engineer are profound. Expect to be considered as a leader in your field; demonstrating a superior aptitude for the practice of civil engineering, along with a desire to stay on the leading edge of technology. Your clients are assured that you are highly qualified to work on their project needs.

The Certification Process

The specific certification process and requirements depend on the individual academy. You need to be actively employed in the specific civil engineering discipline, with over 10 years of experience and a PE license. An advanced degree or upwards of 30 hours of graduate level classes are another requirement.

A written application with all supporting documentation, three professional recommendations, and a series of oral examinations followed by an oral defense round out the application process. Becoming certified takes a lot of effort, but it is definitely worth it, considering the advantages for your career.

If you need any additional advice for career development in the engineering field, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing companies in Washington state, they have knowledgeable recruiters on hand, providing a great source for civil engineering jobs in Seattle. Schedule some time with them today!

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iPhone Apps for Your Manufacturing Robots

October 10th, 2013

The robust iOS app marketplace features a host of programs that serve as remote controls for your home theater system using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, but what about controlling a robot? ¬†Well, students of Dr. Vikram Kapila, professor of mechanical engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, are working on two apps allowing the control of a manufacturing robot with a mere swipe or pinch on an iPhone’s touchscreen.

Now that’s something a bit cooler than merely playing Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga on a smartphone!

One App to Control a Robot Arm; One App to Control a Mobile Robot

Kapila and his student team are currently working on two apps — iLabArm and iLabBot — that control a robotic arm and mobile robot respectively. iLabArm leverages both the touchscreen of an iOS device as well as its accelerometer to move the robotic arm by command. Dr. Kapila commented on the overall project goals: “Our goal was to take advantage of an iPhone’s or iPod’s touchscreen to create an intuitive interface for interacting with physical devices such as robotic manipulators, mobile robots, and also our own control lab experiments.”

iLabBot also uses the touchscreen. In this case, when a user taps on a mapped location on the touchscreen, the mobile robot — in this case a Roomba-like device built using a kit from iRobot themselves — moves to that location. One of the challenges for the project team was being able to receive telemetry data from either robot, which was solved by using Arduino microcontrollers equipped with WiFi capable shielding.

There remains little doubt that the innovative work being pioneered by Dr. Kapila and his students have the potential to influence the world of manufacturing and more. It sure beats using an iPhone only for casual game playing!

If you want to work on new innovations like tablet and smartphone controlled robots, talk to the engineering staffing experts at The Talley Group. Since they are one of the top engineering recruiting companies in the Seattle area, they are surely able to help advance your career by robotic leaps and bounds.

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