Wednesday, May 25, 2022

How Much Do Engineers Make? Structural vs Construction Civil Engineers

Aloha everyone it's keenan and welcome back to the channel and today we are here for part three of my conversation with structural engineer and youtuber matt picardo and i think today's a juicy one we're gonna talk about money how much money do design engineers make versus construction engineers and what kind of lifestyle that gives us and if .

Our income is worth it and at the end of the video i'd be super curious to hear your thoughts is this what you expected or is this something that you've seen yourself in the industry so if you're ready to go don't forget to hit that like button and subscribe if you haven't already so you can join our growing family here on youtube and now let's get .

Into the video what about money talk about what people can expect getting into the industry what do you what do you see in your in your realm the way it relates to construction engineering this is kind of funny so .

It's like uh like i'm i'm a proponent of engineers uh if you're a student you know getting a engineer getting a construction engineering job because you're out in the field right and then you get if you if you do that and then you want .

To get into engineering you're going to be like what the hell why are they paying me so low it's like i'm staying in construction that is i think in general uh construction engineering does pay .

More and especially with those big construction firms i'm sure the salary goes up there and uh but like structural engineering isn't a slouch either in terms of like salary um you look up surveys at least in the us uh probably right now an entry-level structural engineer is probably around .

Uh 70k so it's not like software engineering where you're making like i don't know 100 or plus starting out or whatnot but you know you're not going to be like dirt poor like for me it's it's the way i live my life and the way i spend like .

I live a comfortable life like i am not like worrying how i'm going to pay my rent next month or whatnot so for me it's it's a comfortable salary and uh it's it's not a dead end uh in terms of like it leads to stuff i think if you get into structural engineering and for .

Whatever reason you don't like it there's other ways you can use that degree and your experience i know a lot of engineers that do go into construction because it pays more or they want to go into the city work for the city maybe plan checking and whatnot so i think the consulting side .

You may hear about like complaints about like us not getting paid a lot uh i think that's a valid point i think for all the things that we do a lot of people don't see it like all the codes that we have to read and interpret and the testing that we go through .

People won't appreciate it and that's our fault too as into industry we don't promote ourselves in the best way you'll want to hear about us uh we don't want exposure like and when we do want exposure it's more of like a .

Look at all all the cool stuff that i built and uh i'm better than everybody else and xyz like these guys don't know anything uh and i think it's i don't think that's the way we should promote ourselves yeah and unfortunately i think the only time you'll hear about .

Us is when like a building falls down like true all the public knows is like what did the what do the engineers do like right can't they design a building right yeah so it's yeah you'll hear about us about like that point one percent of when uh .

Maybe we failed our duties as a structural engineer but at least in the us what about like those 99.9 percent of all those successful buildings that are standing up yeah it's like those things are successful but you won't hear about it because i think as engineers the default .

Personality is probably introverts and we don't want that exposure uh that's so true yeah no i agree with that we complain instead these guys don't appreciate us like that's all we can do we don't want to do like the extra work of like uh .

Going out there and sharing our stuff on on social media man like that's one of the reasons i started youtube is uh a lot of us don't want to do it it was like we know how to promote ourselves but we don't want to do it uh like .

Promote our industry so that was definitely one of the reasons but kind of went off on a tangent but salary wise for those of you that are wondering 70k probably starting in the u.s and maybe five or six years uh down you'll probably reach that 100k mark at least in the west coast where the cost of living is a little .

Higher and then it'll go up from there if you if you become like a principal or an associate principal in um in your firm that's for private consulting by the way yeah not government or yeah what's what do you guess the cut down is to go public .

Uh what do you mean by cut down or like i'm assuming it's less to work government oh government yeah yeah no i think government's a good job i oh really from my experience and the people that i've talked to it depends on what you want because like there's .

When most people become or want to become structural engineers they're thinking of consulting designing buildings right uh but uh if you get a from my knowledge and from the people that i've talked to that that are working in government like it's .

I get the impression that it's less technically challenging like you're not designing for the most part there are some where i think you do get to design but for the most part if you're like a plan checker you're not designing buildings you are like checking the design of others .

And so probably less stress and less deadlines uh because like i think the cities were they're kind of in the gatekeeper position if we can't uh get approval from the city our projects don't work so you're kind of in that higher era position if you're like .

A plan a government plan checker and i'm assuming that's less hours but even the benefits and the salary is uh short term it's a lot better you get better benefits and better salary .

So it's that is a tempting option or that's an option that some engineers that i've seen that don't want to work in consulting anymore they go and use your structural engineering skills for for the government and they probably get paid more and have really good benefits but more .

With the with the cons of less technical work less design work and probably more political as well there's government so you got to go through a lot of approvals and checks and balances and yeah things like that so what kind of hours do you work for .

Your 70 000 starting salary what can they expect uh for me it depends on your firm i i it's not uncommon to to work overtime if you're just starting out at least this is this is my experience because i know some people in the .

Industry have uh gotten other experiences but for me it was i was so eager to learn that i would want to work you know like over time like it was for me when i take on a project you know i like to take ownership of that project and .

I want to do like a really good job on it so for me i would work overtime because i didn't know anything when i was first starting out and yeah even on my free time like i'd work on a project because i was really interested on how to learn it and even like my manager's telling me like .

Dude go home you know like yeah i appreciated that they weren't making me like stay overtime and you know they'd help me out so i'd work overtime the first couple years but it a lot of it was voluntary like no one was really making me do it but it's not uncommon i've heard plenty .

Of stories where uh firms may make work may work you over time maybe they're understaffed or whatnot and it just needs to happen and everyone needs to work uh maybe like 50 hours uh but for me uh past couple years it's been pretty it's been pretty uh balanceable in terms of work life .

Like it's uh times i'll work 40 hours a week but then obviously when deadlines come in it's like up and down like sometimes it'll be okay but then oh we got a deadline let's we got to do what we got to do to get those those deadlines in kind of like school .

So when you have a big deadline uh you'll put in the hours to get it done so for me it's it's been up and down but it's been sustainable i've uh i think for me it's just balancing all this other extra stuff especially like studying and whatnot for licensing exams that always sucks but uh .

I'll find a way to get through it and yeah so there's different experiences but from if you go into different sectors maybe more specialty structural engineering maybe for fabricators or the government uh i've heard that those are .

More schedule lenient so yeah don't be surprised if you work overtime but hopefully you're not being worked to death if you are there's firms that don't do that .

it's different it depends on your firm yeah that is that is that is pretty true yeah what's the salary and like the the work experience like for uh construction engineering so here in hawaii and hawaii typically pays a little bit higher construction is unless this is just my own two .

Companies that i work for it seems to follow cost of living pretty closely so you'll get paid you'll get paid a little bit more on the west coast and you know you might have a little bit of an adjustment if you're more towards the middle of the us but .

For here in hawaii a starting engineer will probably be in the mid to average mid to high 70s maybe 80s um with the potential up to 100 000 uh starting depending on the company um construction is not the place to be if you just want to make money and you don't like your work .

Because you do have to work a lot especially if you want to progress like i said everything is experience based you're going to have to put in the hours it's a higher stress industry i think that's why they tend to try to pay a little bit more .

Um the first job that i was on was a 300 million dollar high rise and that was a tough job most of us were working seven days a week uh towards the end and um maybe 10 hour days on the weekends 12 to 14 16 hour days during the weekdays .

Um towards the end of that job but i loved it kind of similar to what matt said it was uh i really wanted to learn i wanted to be a sponge i wanted to insert myself into as many places that i could um probably did a lot more and it did me a service for sure .

Um because usually on a big job you get pigeonholed into one thing so you'll be the engineer in charge of concrete only or you'll be the engineer in charge of you know the exterior envelope and you won't get to see how everything comes together which is the key to construction um .

But for me i i was in concrete i did rebar and then i just jumped in wherever they needed help whether it was the amenity deck whether it was the civil work down below whether it was the roof um because i wanted it and that's why you know maybe some people would say that i .

You know worked too much or did but that's really what i wanted to spend my time on at the time um it's the window so i've had jobs where i've worked maybe i haven't really worked less than 50 a week usually typically um but i don't feel it it's it's always we .

Start at 6 30 7 o'clock and usually it just ends up being like 4 30 5 o'clock and then i'm like i still have all this stuff to do that i didn't achieve um because there's just so much going on in .

Construction it's it's there's so many things to do um so it never really feels like i'm being overworked but it is kind of the nature of the business i think we're trying to work away from .

The entire work life uh or you know working so many hours i think that's becoming more trendy i would say but it's very it's very tough for the way that our industry is set up to to get away from that uh either that or we'll hire more people .

And our salaries will probably get cut i don't really know if there's a big difference in like the quality of your life depending on each company that you go for because construction in itself just an age of the industry kind of causes you to work a little bit more than normal .

So when you're at a small job you might be more working on multiple jobs or sometimes people think that if you work instead of a general contractor you can work for a subcontractor then it's like oh good i can only focus on drywall or i can only focus on concrete but what ends up .

Happening is that in order for those companies to stay afloat they need to work on multiple jobs so you're not just focused on one project you're doing concrete or you're doing drywall or glass for three or four different jobs so it's still kind of the same the same thing for that so .

It pays you a decent living but you you do you do have to uh you do have to put in the time you do have to put in the efforts um i think this generation of of people coming in i feel like we're putting more of an emphasis on the work life balance aspect of it but i think it just goes for any .

Anything that you try to do anything that you really love or want to get better at you just you have to put in the time and i've always believed the best time to do it is in your 20s when you really don't have that or typically you don't really have that many .

Commitments things to do you might as well just work on your own skills and that's to me the best way to accelerate your growth yeah i think from what you uh from what you said and i think possibly even for both industries is uh .

Yeah you'll probably work overtime uh but i i think like the dirty secret is like when we do hopefully we we love it like for we want to do that because we we we like the work that we're doing and uh .

Yeah because for me it's when i was first starting out that's what i did now i know a lot more and you know i can work less because i know what i'm doing yeah so things like that but then it even comes back to you know training and mentoring the the next generation of .

Of engineers and if you get uh you know success from that or if you like doing that as well i think it's all part of the growth but you have to to know yourself and your your situation like you're implying like you're you probably have time when you're younger uh to work that much but then as you get .

Older maybe you get a family things can change and you know you have to reflect on that too as as you're getting further in whatever career you're doing you kind of have to always see what the the priority is and it's .

Different for everybody no for sure and i think yeah having that self-awareness is super important i mean just in general i think um and it really will come out when when you're when you're working you don't want to be miserable like the money is never worth it really i mean you can .

I guess even two it's maybe tens of thousands that you might be making more than if you were to work something else right but it's at the end of the day you wanna know for yourself what you really what you really how you're wired and what you really want to do so yeah if .

You're if you're working 100 hours a week and you hit your job quickly yeah like but no it's not sustainable fulfillment from it then you know that's up to you yeah and the thing is too i think it's kind of weird because you need to have that self-awareness but you need to balance it too with not over analyzing .

The situation and kind of just jumping in um i don't know how you feel but you know i still feel like i if i really wanted to i don't but like if i really wanted to i could change careers and it'd be fine like you have time you don't need to have everything figured out from day one you .

Have the opportunity to kind of move back and forth but until you pick something right you'll never get any clarity so yeah and i think what's fortunate about you know our careers uh structural and construction it a lot of the skills are transferable to other career paths .

You're not locked into one you can use those same skills i'm sure for construction engineering you can get into a lot of other different uh careers if you wanted to just because i think those skills are just so transferable well that's the end of part three i hope you enjoyed that and maybe .

Learned a little bit more about the industry as always if you have any questions or thoughts be sure to comment them below and if you haven't already done so don't forget to hit that like button and subscribe down below so you can join our growing family here on youtube thank you all so much thank you all so much we really appreciate your .

Time and we'll see you on the next video you


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