Working in Geotechnical Engineering is a career unlike other roles in STEM. We wanted to share five reasons why we think it’s the best place to be working. Let us know if we missed any reasons and we’ll add them to the list!
- 1.Working outside
Working outside is a big part of being a Geotech. Most geotechs can spend anywhere up to 80 percent of their time outside on either active construction sites or completing site investigations. Most people who work in geotechnical engineering are “outdoor cats” if you will. Working outside gets you the opportunity to breathe in (ideally) fresh air and soak in some sunshine while completing your work. Sometimes, you get breathtaking views.
- 2.Lifelong learning
A career in geotechnical engineering, like most types of engineering, requires one to be a lifelong student. At no point will you have “peaked” on a technical level as there will always be new challenges to solve. One of the most important traits for a geotechnical engineer is sound judgement. Judgement is something that you gain through practice and is continuously honed through experience.
- 3.Emerging technologies
There are numerous exciting emerging technologies in geotechnical engineering. One might think that soil is just soiling and question how thrilling a field centred around “dirt” can really be. The reality is that new geotechnical research is just around the corner and process improvements are being made every day (TabLogs is a great example of one of these improvements 😉).
Here are a few other examples of emerging innovation in the geotechnical space:
• Ground improvement using bio-inspired and bio-mediated geotechnics
• Runout modelling and simulation of mass wasting events
• Use of sustainably sourced geomaterials
4.Working with other disciplines
As a geotechnical engineer, one will often have to closely interact and work with other professionals. More often than not, projects are multi-disciplinary. This provides valuable opportunities to learn about facets of other disciplines. This can include working with:
• Environmental engineers and scientists
• Materials engineers and technicians
• Structural engineers
• Bridge engineers
• Civil engineers
• Coastal engineers
• Transportation/traffic engineers and highway designers
Like most civil engineering disciplines, geotechnical engineering is fundamental to society. Unless there is a significant technological shift in civil engineering, we will always need to build on, in or with soil, rock and groundwater (geomaterials). A career in geotechnical engineering, particularly in geotechnical consulting, can be a versatile move. Unlike some engineering disciplines, geotechnical engineers are well equipped to be versatile and serve multiple sectors. We serve projects in mining, transportation, industrial, municipal, residential, commercial etc.