Education and qualifications:
Masters in Civil (Transportation) Engineering at UT Arlington, Texas, USA
Bachelors in Civil Engineering at MNIT Jaipur, India
Job title: Senior Civil Engineer
Employer: W.S Atkins LLC
What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
During my internship at IIT Mumbai, I worked on a project that entailed modelling an in-campus transportation service. I was instantly intrigued by the main focal points of the project, which included transport modelling, scheduling of routes and estimating passenger numbers for the bus/battery shuttle buses. This experience inspired me to enter the highways and transportation profession as an engineer.
Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I report to the Head of Department and lead a small group of computer-aided design (CAD) technicians and graduate engineers supporting the Infrastructure Team at the Atkins Muscat (Oman) office.
Can you describe a typical working day?
My typical working day involves problem-solving and providing design solutions, preparing and assisting in preparing proposals, engaging with stakeholders and managing teams.
Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
For nearly eight months, from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Oman, I had to travel over 150Km daily, from my office-based Infrastructure Design Engineer role to a site-based Civil Engineer role. My role on site involved reviewing shop drawings, providing design calculations and impromptu technical solutions. I was proactively involved in daily site inspections, material approvals, quality inspections and snag lists along with raising any health and safety non-conformances. It was a challenge to work on this fast-track construction supervision project while managing client requirements. However, I feel proud that our efforts seem to have paid off at closure, as I was recently signed off back to the design office.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
I like the fact that the small team size allows more flexibility in my role. I relished the recent challenge of a site-based role where I learnt a lot about project management and contract management. For instance, I reviewed a time extension request from the contractor, as there had been a procurement delay due to the ongoing pandemic. I also developed great camaraderie with my colleagues and peers at site.
Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
The highlight of my career so far has been working on the $7.4 billion local roads and drainage project for the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) in Qatar. Working on a project of that scale enabled me to acquire a range of core technical and project management skills that I still use today.
What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
Whilst working in Qatar I listened to several evening presentations from a range of international and sector-specific institutions. The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) stood out from these based on their presentation on achieving professional registration and its benefits, which sparked my initial interest in the process.
In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
I believe my IEng qualification has been helping me with my current job in Oman, as it made me stand out from my colleagues at work. I also feel that the skills and attributes I have developed whilst gaining professional registration will also help me to collaborate better with my peers working in the industry.
How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
I believe the main benefit to my employer is that I try to implement the core skills and best practice procedures I have learned while working towards professional registration. If I believe a system could be improved, then I will seek to address this. Professionally qualified engineers commit to proactively managing their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and my professional qualification also strengthens my CV, which is an advantage to my employer when bidding for projects.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
I would advise them to start aligning their work experience with the competence requirements set out in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC). Furthermore, it is important to keep a record of the required CPD and the learning gained from it. It is also particularly important to gain a mentor's approval on each objective achieved and your experience report.
Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
My aim is to lead small design teams. I would like to gain Chartered Engineer (CEng) status while gaining more project experience at a managing level.
Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering? For example, do you participate in mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I enjoy attending webinars and evening events sponsored by professional organisations that relate to my work, as well as team building activities and workshops. I also like to volunteer in knowledge-sharing events and activities, for instance, I like to share the Civil 3D tricks that I learnt while designing junctions and interchanges.