Geotechnical Engineer

posted Jun 10, 2019, 7:41 AM by jeffery jim

I received two job offers from close friends. First offer is geotechnical engineering checker and the second one as engineering manager. Both posts require me to go back to my home state, Sarawak. It certainly looks like not many good geotechnical engineering workhorse around. Nevertheless, there are reasons why I opted not to take any of it and stay. The first reason is about knowing the boundary and your limitations, and second, understand your efficiency.

The main problem as a geotechnical engineer is your capability in making good assumptions lies on your hands-on experience with laboratory testings and values derived. To be stationed in a 'foreign' land and not used to conditions will be the biggest hinderance when making decisions.

Geotechnical engineering is more than just empirical approach where calculation is very straight forward. There are stark differences between design engineer and software operator. One resolved the problem and the other complicates the problem.

The main issue with geological, geophysics and geotechnical engineering is the range of result proximity where there are needs for data appropriation (after considering time series changes, quantitative changes, qualitative changes and elimination of anomalies and the inclusion of statistical considerations). That has yet to consider the cost-benefit optimization of a design and the level of data required in making pressumably the most accurate model and summation for design recommendations.

Although geotechnical engineering is guided by codes of practice, there is always considerable risk when working on design where trial and error method is permissible with conservative or conventional assumptions and rule of thumb. There are so many methods and approaches when selecting ways through determination via empirical solutions. None fits all and one doesn't resolved all.

Geotechnical engineering has a bright prospect in the country. It is also a great career where a geotechnical engineer can hardly be replaced by hardware or software automation. As one great geologist mentioned before, it is an art of critical thinking.