What do engineering consultants do?
Engineering consultants are skilled professionals whose expertise is welcome in all kinds of engineering projects. More than welcome, perhaps it is rather crucial, as engineering projects imply large groups of people from wide variety of fields. Merely organizing the participants is a demanding task; overseeing project progress and seeing it executed properly takes a wizard. And that is exactly what an engineering consultant is: a genius with a wand who makes the impossible – possible.
Engineering consultant jobs are one of the most skilled professionals whose expertise is welcome in all kinds of engineering projects hence a boon for the society in the freelance marketplace too. The consultant’s primary role is to assist your organization with certain areas of your inclusiveness work. People come to consultants for numerous reasons: they don’t have the time to come up with a result, they don’t have the people, or they don’t have the skill. If they recognize you as being the best and a problem-solver, kudos, you have the beginnings of building a best client list. Work experience is vital with this profession, as theoretical knowledge doesn’t help enough. It rarely does with any profession, we admit, but with this particular one, it is truly only a confirmed letter. You need to have a strong foothold as a consultant because no one wants to hear from someone who doesn’t have a strong point of view. Being a freelance engineering consultant means, you get to pick your clients and projects and be flexible in how you spend your time.
Becoming an engineering consultant
Concluding that it takes a lot of effort, knowledge, and hard work to become an engineering consultant is not a difficult leap. Work experience is crucial with this profession, as theoretical knowledge doesn’t help enough. It rarely does with any profession, we admit, but with this particular one it is truly only a dead letter.
A good illustration of this is that many engineers further their knowledge tirelessly. I.e., you will hardly find a serious professional not holding at least the CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) credential. Cisco engineers are recognized as outstanding professionals unanimously, and not without a good reason.
New graduates typically start with structured graduate development programs, achieving, over time, advanced engineer status. Professionals employed by consulting engineering companies hold different degrees covering literally every imaginable specialty. That is not to be wondered at, given that engineering branches are numerous, and the projects – impossible to be concluded satisfactorily without a comprehensive inter-disciplinary approach.
Consulting engineers participate in project teams, offering professional advice in terms of delivering services to the client. The role may differ greatly, ranging from technical to managerial, depending on the employer and the project type. In any case, what a consulting engineer can expect is to coordinate the activities of all other team members, including those from different fields of expertise.
PE and FE licensing
Anyone pertaining to become a consulting engineer had better take the PE (Professional Licensed engineer) exam immediately upon having graduated. The exam is designed both for recent graduates and students close to concluding an undergraduate degree from an EAC/ETAC-accredited program. (EAC (Engineering Accreditation Commission) offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering; ETAC (Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission) offers associate and Bachelor’s degrees in engineering technology.)
The FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam may also be attempted by recent graduates and those soon to graduate. It is a computer-based exam provided by NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying)-approved Pearson VUE test centers. Simply look up the location of the test center in your area on their official website to get started.
A day in life of consulting engineers
Engineering projects are known for being time-consuming and highly demanding. As stated above, for a project to be successfully concluded, it takes coordinated efforts of professionals from all walks of life. Consulting engineers may have it the hardest simply because they are charged with the actual coordination, start to finish.
That is exactly why an engineer (and not only a consultant) needs to have keen interpersonal skills and a touch of diplomacy, especially if the client doesn’t know much about engineering. That is, sadly, usually the case, so it is up to the engineer in charge to present sustainable options (which often imply higher costs) and talk the client into accepting them. On top of that, managing large groups of people is never an easy task, which brings us back to the supposition of engineering consultants being “wizards”.
How does an engineering consultant bring a project to a successful realization? With heaps of effort and expertise invested, no doubt. A typical day of an engineering consultant starts with consultations. The project manager needs to be informed about the progress and new decisions stemming from it are to be made. Once the concept has been agreed upon, the consultant then presents it to the design team and the client (in that order).
The concept in itself is close to worthless until properly sketched. Consulting engineers often work closely with a CAD operator (or more than one, depending on the scope of the project), who is in charge of the drawings. The two estimate the timeline and work hard to keep to it. This is the trickiest moment of all. Progress updates are done on a daily basis; there’s no saying when an issue may occur. A single issue may delay the project considerably, let alone multiple ones.
Consultations being concluded, the consulting engineer usually needs to head to the construction site. There it is another meeting, this time with the construction inspector. Jointly, the two professionals analyze all aspects of the work, attempting to discover and define any potential issue. If they find a difficulty, new evaluations need to be made. The consultant is to present the problem to the contractor and the project manager. The final proposal on any changes is also undertaken by the consultant. Additional costs are being taken into account and, once the proposal is accepted (or amended), the consultant issues a change order to the contractor. At the end of the day, the engineering consultant meets once again with the CAD operator to check on the drawing’s progress.
Where can engineer consultants find employment?
Engineer consultants are greatly sought out. They may choose away in the true sense of the word, as their services are welcome in companies large and small, local and international, and even remote ones. Consultants may choose a small company in the neighborhood, a multinational corporation, or a partnership into outsourcing their services. It all depends on personal preferences. Another option has gained popularity in recent years, and is likely to take precedence over traditional engineering employment options. We are talking about remote engineer consultancy. The role is perfect for professionals interested in project-based work looking to expand their expertise. These kinds of jobs are available worldwide and the demand is ever growing. Online engineering marketplaces are a new rising trend, and the one that has topped the list for some time is Field Engineer. It is a fully automated platform that connects engineering professionals with employers worldwide. Take a peek at their website, upload your credentials, select your skill set, and wait for the offers to start arriving (delivered daily to your inbox).
Best engineering consultants work freelance
It is true: best engineering consultants work freelance, picking only those projects that call their name. And why wouldn’t they? With the demand so urgent, it would be foolish not to grab the opportunity for professional advancement. Nothing wrong with that. It’s best to strike while the iron is hot, after all.