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 Tips for up and coming engineers

Tips for up and coming engineers

Let me start by saying that being an engineer is an incredibly rewarding yet demanding career choice.

As ‘corny’ as it sounds, you will make a real difference in people’s lives, and as cliché as this sounds, ‘engineers really do make ‘it’ happen’.

Unfortunately when you’re first starting out, it can be an incredibly daunting and frustrating time for a young engineer, so here are five tips for my ‘brethren’ beginning their engineering journey.

  1. For A Short Period of Time It’s Going To Hurt

Graduating with a degree in engineering is an accomplishment in and of itself. Unfortunately the reality is that your degree is essentially a piece of paper that verifies you know how to use a calculator and chew gum at the same time.

Of course I am being facetious, but the end of your degree is actually the first step on a very long road ahead. You need to accept that for the first three to five years you will be confused and shrouded in self-doubt, constantly second guessing yourself as you struggle to make sense of the monumental amount of information you will be asked to absorb and comprehend.

Fight through that self-doubt. You’re going to be fine.

Grit your teeth, keep your eyes and ears open, commit to your growth, focus on your development and absorb as much as you can as quickly as you can, and before you know it you will have set the foundations of your career.

  1. Site Experience, Site Experience, Site Experience

In case it wasn’t emphasised enough, you’ve got to get site experience. It is unbelievable how important working in the field can be. Get on site and get dirty. For the first six months to a year, work as a labourer if you must, it doesn’t matter, just get out there. Site work will give you incredible insight that an office environment simply can’t, plus it will enable you to think beyond the numbers and formulas and expose you to factors and parameters you won’t learn from a text book.

  1. A Strong Work Ethic Is Mandatory

As an engineer, you will encounter countless variations of never ending problems from demanding clients that set ‘yesterday’ deadlines in an industry where competition grows exponentially, thanks to the wonders of ever changing technology.

There is simply too much information to process, and of course there never is enough time, so believe me when I tell you that 9-5 won’t cut it. Success requires early starts and late finishes, so forget about looking at your watch and repeat this mantra over and over:

  1. Modern Tech is A Double Edge Sword So Measure Twice Cut Once

One of the great things about modern engineering is the vast number of advanced tools we have at our disposal. Computers and modern technology have allowed us to tackle complex problems, communicate big ideas and share results faster and more efficiently than ever before.

In fact this piece was typed on a laptop connected to the internet via my Australian mobile phone connected to the Chinese network whilst sitting in a bullet train travelling at 305km/hr heading to Shenzhen to meet with Chinese engineering colleagues to discuss new concrete and steel technology.

Unfortunately, surrounded by all the modern tools, an engineer can become lazy and too trusting of the solution on the screen. Whether it’s a complex FEM program or a simple spreadsheet, you must develop a full and comprehensive understanding of the input ‘language’ to properly interpret the output results.

Do not rush to the keyboard before first developing your understanding of engineering philosophy and a ‘feel’ for the numbers.

My advice is simple, respect technology, don’t be afraid to use it, but apply a healthy dose of scepticism when reviewing the output file, and if it doesn’t ‘feel’ right, then check it with a hand calculation. Then check it again.

  1. Money Money Money Money Money

Do not let money be the main factor which determines the course of your career, because when you’re starting out, you will not be impressed by your pay cheque.

Don’t worry about money during the early stages.

First choose the branch/sector of your engineering discipline which most interests you, then focus on developing your skills and technical abilities.

It’s no secret or special advice, love your job and it won’t feel like work, and before you know it your knowledge base and ‘abilities’ will start expanding exponentially and you will become more ‘valuable’ to an organisation.

That’s when you start seeing the bigger numbers and that’s when other options start to appear. 

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Least stressful cities in the world

Germany has the least stressful cities in the world. German cities have a large number of green spaces, low levels of traffic, and high levels of wealth. Four German cities make the top 10 of chilled out cities and Stuttgart is the most stress-free city on the planet. Sydney was the only non-European city to feature. With the rest of the top 10 made up by:

  • Graz, Austria
  • Edinburgh, UK
  • Bordeaux, France
  • Bern, Switzerland
  • Luxembourgh

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Water pipe turbines generating clean energy

American cities are putting turbines in water pipes to generate clean energy with zero environmental impact. In Portland, water mainly comes from the surrounding mountains. Gravity forces the water down the pipes, spinning the turbines and creating a source of clean energy under the ground. Because gravity is the force that moves the water, no extra energy needs to be used. Riverside, California is also installing turbines in water pipes. They generate enough energy during the day to power the water system itself and at night the turbines keep the street lights on.

Portland has installed turbines in 15 metres of pipes as a trial at a cost of 1.7 million dollars. They generate around 1,100 megawatt-hours of electricity every year. Enough to power about 150 homes and cut back on the use of polluting fossil fuels.

Should Australian cities install turbines in its water pipes too?

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Top 10 tallest buildings in the world in 2020

In 2020, the 10 tallest buildings in the world will all be outside of the USA! China and the Middle East are taking over power in the world. These countries are showing their power by buildings skyscrapers and towers that dwarf the former tallest buildings in the world like the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center in New York City and Willis Tower in Chicago.

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The Netherlands has built the world’s first bike path made from recycled plastic

Stretching a short 30 meters (100 feet) in the northeastern city of Zwolle, the two-lane bike path’s surface is paved with the equivalent of a half-million plastic bottle caps and promises to be two to three more times durable than run-of-the-mill asphalt. Although impervious to potholes and cracks, if the path is heavily damaged or falls into disrepair, it can easily be removed and recycled again.

It’s the first of a small handful of pilot projects from PlasticRoad, a nascent road-building technology venture spearheaded by Dutch civil engineering firm KWS in partnership with plastic pipe-maker Wavin and France-headquartered gas and oil mega-company Total.

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The Ocean Cleanup

The ocean is big. Cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch using conventional methods – vessels and nets – would take thousands of years and tens of billions of dollars to complete. Our passive systems are estimated to remove half the Great Pacific Garbage patch in just five years, and at a fraction of the cost. Our first cleanup system will be deployed in the summer of 2018. This is how it works.

More information: https://www.theoceancleanup.com/technology/

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Norway’s $47BN Coastal Highway

The Norwegian government are embarking on the largest infrastructure project in the country’s history.

The route runs from Kristiansand in the south to Trondheim in the north, and is approximately 1100 km long. The route runs through six counties, and the cities of Stavanger, Bergen, Ålesund and Molde. Travel time today is around 21 hours, and road users need to use seven different ferry connections.

The aim is to build an improved and continuous route without ferries, for the efficient transport of people and goods, both locally and regionally. This ties the region efficiently together and will also contribute to more efficient industry. The route will be almost 50 km shorter, and travel time will be cut in half. Reductions in travel time will be achieved by replacing ferries with bridges and tunnels, in addition to upgrading a number of road sections on land.

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Smartflower: The world’s smartest solar solution

This solar flower provides clean energy for your home. The solar panel “blooms” to give you the most efficient energy. The system delivers 6,200 kwh per year. Each panel follows the sun at the optimal angle which generates 40% more energy. It also self-cleans everytime it folds and unfolds. And is designed to protect itself from extreme weather condition. It is 18 feet tall and it will cost around $27,000 (USD)

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How cohousing can make us happier (and live longer)

Loneliness doesn’t always stem from being alone. For architect Grace Kim, loneliness is a function of how socially connected we feel to the people around us — and it’s often the result of the homes we live in. She shares an age-old antidote to isolation: cohousing, a way of living where people choose to share space with their neighbors, get to know them, and look after them. Rethink your home and how you live in it with this eye-opening talk.

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Home of the Future

For The Verge and Curbed’s home of the future, renewable energy generation is directly integrated into the design of the house. Grant Imahara experiences how the home of the future can both generate its own power and reduce how much energy it needs.

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Mirvac forms Build-to-Rent club

Mirvac has announced the formation of the Australian Build-to-Rent “club”.

Mirvac’s first purpose-built build-to-rent asset in Australia, will be Indigo at Mirvac’s Pavilions project at Sydney Olympic Park.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has secured a 30 per cent interest ($50 million) in Mirvac’s first institutional build-to-rent investment platform as a cornerstone investor. The CEFC investment will enhance the project design using clean energy and energy efficiency technologies with the potential to cut carbon emissions by as much as 40 per cent.

Mirvac will act as development, investment and property manager on the 258-apartment project that is set to be completed in 2021.

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