What is a Structural Engineer?
Structural Engineering focuses on the support integrity of large developments such as buildings, bridges and stadiums. Structural engineers are responsible for some of the most import constructions in history, including Washington Roebling who built the Brooklyn Bridge in New York and Gustave Eiffel who completed The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Structural engineers traditionally collaborate with a team of professionals including architects, urban planners and civil engineers, among others, to realize the completion of a project.
Federal and local governments as well as private enterprises contract these practitioners for work throughout the world, whereby they are entrusted to ensure public safety by meeting building codes and standards. For buildings, these professionals achieve this by developing the components such as roof framing columns and foundations. In bridges, they develop the piers, deck and/or stringers.
In addition, they select the most appropriate materials including wood, concrete, steel and/or aluminum, thereby protecting the structure and surrounding communities in the case of natural disasters, weather, collisions or explosions. To determine the best materials, structural engineers rely on digital hardware and software applications for modeling and analysis.
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Academic Requirements for Structural Engineers
Employers require structural engineers to have a college degree in the discipline or comparable areas such as civil engineering. Most professionals have acquired a Master’s Degree or even a Ph.D. to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Undergraduate students complete coursework in materials, algorithms, design and mechanics, among other concepts. Advanced academic training in the field facilitates a candidate’s ability to receive management positions in the industry as well as university teaching roles.
At the Master’s Degree level, students complete classwork in advanced materials design principles, structural mechanics and seismology. For Ph.D. students, coursework includes classes in computer modeling, advanced renovation and restoration as well as risk analysis.
Working as a Structural Engineer
Organizations such as Structural Engineers Association, the Structural Engineering Institute, and the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) are a few of the organizations dedicated to fostering the development of professionals in the field. They organized congresses throughout the world to educate and bring together professionals in the industry to trade knowledge and share opportunities and best practices, thereby expanding the breadth and awareness around the industry.
Real Life Example of a Structural Engineer
John Shmerykowsky , an experienced structural engineer, has witnessed first-hand the rewards of the career as well as the technological transformations that are reshaping the industry.
As a principal of his own firm, he spearheaded the work completed at the Phillip Morris building in New York City at 120 Park Avenue. He works primarily as a consultant to architects, while he completed his education at Fountainbleu in Paris. Shmerykowsky has developed his reputation by completing projects that feature unique challenges.
For example, the Phillip Morris project possessed a structure that was one quarter positioned over functioning subway tracks that were employed to transport garbage. His team had to develop an approach that would enable them to complete work on the building, while enabling the tracks to run without interruption. He also developed sustainable features in the building including windows conducive to harnessing natural light. Over time, he has seen how vital digital applications have become to the industry, whereby he encourages all aspiring professionals to become comfortable with the technology as well as current ones to reman vigilant in keeping current on computer-based trends.
His firm Shmerykowsky Consulting Engineers currently seeks structural engineers to add to their team to help realize current projects for their portfolio of clients. Like the company’s founder, the firm seeks engineering professionals that possess a diverse range of technical, business, interpersonal and communication skills that are tantamount to executing current and future structures throughout the world.
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