Selecting education to enhance your career

Consulting engineers have a wealth of options to expand their knowledge: webcasts, in-person education, and manufacturers’ coursework.

By Amara Rozgus, Editor-in-Chief August 18, 2016

From a young age, my parents instilled a love of learning and education in me. Learning came in many forms—traditional school, traveling the world, and learning from people who had much more worldly experience than I did. My grandmother, for example, was a font of knowledge. She shared much of what she learned via stories, from her family living through the Great Depression to her time in the U.S. Marines to her travels both in the United States and abroad.

Fast-forward a few years, and I spent my high school days in a Jesuit institution where the teachers taught us to learn and think independently, not simply regurgitate data from a book. And then came college—an option available to those who can handle the academic rigors as well as pay for the years of classes, sometimes living away from home and juggling all of the fees that schools tack onto many degree programs.

In short, I was lucky to have received a high-quality education. Even after college, I continued to take classes, earn certifications, and attend education sessions. Via associations and other groups, I expand my knowledge today, whether in person or online.

According to a proprietary Consulting-Specifying Engineer research study, 6 in 10 members of the audience attend one of our many webcasts to obtain continuing education. The same number contacts a manufacturer or visits its website to obtain continuing education via a webcast and obtain more information about a technology or system. More education is available via multi-week courses for building experts and engineers via our education partner, HeatSpring. 

Check out the digital edition where several manufacturers highlight the varied ways they offer education to their clients, consulting engineers, and other building professionals (it starts on page 60). Companies realize that they need to offer unbiased education to bring engineers up to speed with new technologies; some of this is done via lunchtime sessions while other education is done en masse via an online tool.

The 2016 MEP Giants, highlighted in August, also feel that continuing education or updates to software or other computer-based tools are key to making their companies cutting-edge or, at least, keeping up with the competition.

Education comes in many forms. Some may be on-the-job training. Mentors often take junior staff members under their wing to show them the ropes. Online education has become de rigueur because many people can’t afford to leave their desk, have too many client meetings outside the office, or simply cannot attend multiday conferences.

I encourage you to take advantage of the multiple ways to learn. Give yourself and your career an extra edge with some additional education.