Geotechnical engineering is a complex and diverse field of study that requires the development of a well-rounded technical skill set. As with other complex fields, there are numerous related subjects and specialisations that can help a geotechnical engineer improve their overall abilities and career potential. Of course, this is a career path that not only provides plenty of educational and entertainment value to keep you busy, it’s also fulfilling because it involves working on socially significant projects.
However, be aware that you’ll be competing with some very intelligent individuals in a high-demand, fast-paced sector that requires the utmost accuracy and attention to detail. To help complement your expertise as a geotechnical engineer, here are 7 kinds of degrees that will give you a better chance of standing out amongst your peers:
1. Electrical and Computer Engineering
Since many of the design challenges that are encountered in today’s civil engineering projects will involve the use of technology and software during the development of solutions and strategies, it makes sense for a geotechnical engineer to specialise in computers and electric engineering as well. In fact, this kind of degree can provide a skill set that will serve as an ideal companion to any engineering expertise because almost every engineering project or problem can be made easier through the use of computers. Also, a geotechnical engineer who earns an MS in electrical and computer engineering online is much more likely to be hired over a peer who only has linear expertise.
Knowing how to market your services as an engineer will help you take full advantage of the option to offer your expertise in freelancing marketplaces. Furthermore, with a solid understanding of marketing methodology and principles, you’ll be ideally positioned to persuade prospective employers with convincing speeches and presentations during job interviews and other corporate networking opportunities. With a degree in marketing, you’ll have the knowledge needed to not only impress employers, but also to launch and manage your own engineering firm. If you’re not ready to commit to an entire degree program, you could become a much better marketer just by taking a few online courses on this subject.
Studying economics will help you recognise emerging demands and business trends within the field of geotechnical engineering. With an understanding of how economies work, you’ll be able to tap into a broad client base through extensive market research based on the most informed perspective possible. While most other engineers will only be able to solve engineering problems, you’ll be able to grasp the economic impact of decisions as well. Of course, this could make you a much more appealing candidate for any employer who is trying to assemble a team of competent and well-rounded professionals.
4. Material Science
Materials science is closely related to geotechnical engineering because it deals with the densities and compositions of various materials in the same way that geotechnical engineers study similar properties within soil and natural materials. As you probably know, geotechnical engineers study how organic, earthen materials respond to external influences in order to make accurate predictions or provide insight that can lead to the implementation of essential precautions and project guidelines. As an expert in materials science, you’ll also be able to gauge how non-organic materials respond to stresses and other factors. Obviously, that kind of over-arching wizardry over both natural and artificial materials would make you an optimal prospect in the eyes of most hiring managers and team leaders.
5. Business Writing & Etiquette
All engineers need to possess a high level of writing competency, so there’s a good chance that anyone who has a geotechnical engineering degree is already a fairly proficient technical writing. However, learning how to write in a more business-oriented or casually persuasive tone will help you communicate with potential clients and employers more effectively and in a more professional manner. Many business writing degree programs will also teach you the tenets of corporate etiquette as well, and it will help to know how to properly format and deliver documents, spoken presentations, and corporate correspondence.
Communication is a degree type that can help most professionals in any field because it gives you the power to wield words and finesse everyday outcomes in your favour. You can have the nicest resume and even a few great degrees, but you still might have a hard time competing as a job candidate if you’re a horrible communicator. In fact, this is the main reason why most employers and clients still want to conduct a written or spoken interview before they actually hire someone. Engineering projects typically require a great deal of collaboration, so having a degree that proves your ability to effectively communicate will make you a top option during any hiring or team assembly process.
7. Graphic Design & CAD
Geotechnical engineers who know how to use graphic design and computer-aided design (CAD) software tools will have an advantage over those who do not, simply because this skill gives you the ability to illustrate concepts in more visually appealing and persuasive ways. This is also a specialisation that many companies look for within engineering team leaders because most modern projects are going to involve a degree of CAD-oriented tasks within the course of the overall workflow.
Is Having Multiple Degrees Really Necessary?
In closing, you might be wondering if taking the time out of your daily free time to study for another few years is actually worth the hassle. Will it result in you finding higher-paying engineering jobs? While having more credentials will never guarantee you any specific job position, studies have shown that people who hold more than one relevant degree with their field of expertise are more likely to be hired than those who only have a single degree. Likewise, a person who holds a master’s degree is more likely to be hired for a senior or management level job than someone who only has a bachelor’s in the same field. Thus, it’s safe to say that, while not mandatory, having one of the above degrees alongside your geotechnical engineering degree will certainly be helpful.