PE Interview

The followings are some notes disseminated on periodical basis willingly in regards to Professional Engineer Interview.

Preparation Update:


STEP 1: Registration

Most and foremost, before you are considered to be eligible for PE interview (PEI) process, one have to register with BEM as graduate engineer and i encourage all fresh graduates to do this a week upon convocation or receiving their scroll. This is vital since your experience and qualification for PEI with commence from that date onward. Most public universities in Malaysia which offer civil engineering program are qualified where as other private universities and overseas universities may be scrutinized. If you need to check, kindly go to Engineering Accreditation Council Malaysia's webpage for the list of accredited programs. Despite the easy qualification for public universities within Malaysia, it is best to double check prior to submission since certain programs (usually the 3 years program) may need additional credit hours from top-up course or a masters degree in order to qualify for this exercise or to be registered as a BEM graduate engineer.

We also reckon you to register with IEM as graduate member which allows you to bring the title of your membership (Grad. I.E.M) on your name card but it is not mandatory as a basis to log in your experience to qualify for PEI. You can submit your PEI form together with the registration form for graduate membership. Graduate membership application is available online at IEM website.


STEP 2: Training and Logging your Experience

After completed your registration with BEM and IEM as graduate member, you should start to find a suitable mentor. This is the hardest part in the overall exercise.  Mentor means an IEM Corporate Member of the same discipline, who has been assigned to
supervise the practical training of an IEM Graduate Member under the IEM Log Book Training Scheme (based on IEM guideline). 

As a basis or guideline in searching for a good mentor, seek for an elder in the industry who is a good storyteller as well as a great leader. Experience of a mentor does not have much impact in your progress in seeking for fundamental understanding of the industry and if possible, never appoint your boss as your mentor. The reason behind this is the mentoring relationship will not bloom as the boss often treat workers as operators or may halt your development indirectly but in some circumstances, that may not be the real case. You should be very careful, picky and not desperate just for the sake of having a person to sign off your logbook. I attached here an illustration in regards to mentoring process from a great webpage

For civil engineers, you need to have at least 12 months of experience at site, another 12 months in design office and at least 3 years of experience. Based on IEM Route 1 (Professional Assessment Examination), it is generally requirement for young engineers to have (1) at least two years of general training that will provide a sound basis for professional development, (2) at least one year of professional career development and training providing wide exposure to the various managerial and technical
expertise in engineering practice; where - at least one year of the above training must be obtained in Malaysia under the supervision of a Professional Engineer in the same branch of engineering as that practiced by the candidateThis is considered as mandatory. As for lecturing and research candidates, i will discuss this in a separate post on how to achieved required experience to qualify for PEI.

**Be sure to be very selective when it comes to work experience and plan your career path. I will discuss these in detail in upcoming posts for this section.


STEP 3: Design Book/Technical Report

The Technical Report should be reflective of your ability and demonstrates sound comprehension in civil engineering. There are four types of technical report format and the most common one will be the design book involving design works. The remaining 3 are the feasibility study type, research and development type and operation, and maintenance type. All of these formats are acceptable and therefore will not discriminate lecturing and research candidates.

For the design report format, candidates should provide 2 working drawings, detailed design calculation (manual and automated, and comparison), specifications and bill of quantities.


STEP 4: Submission of Log Book and Technical Report

Once you have the required 3 years experience, candidate can submit both documents simultaneously for review. In certain cases, candidate may need to send the log book first and only disseminate your copies of Technical Report once your log book is cleared. 


STEP 5: Professional Engineer Interview

The interview are divided into two parts. Part 1 - The oral Examination and Part 2 - Written Examination (Essay). 

Part 1 is an interview session where candidate will face the principal and the second interviewer and explain their experience based on the log book. This will be the point where interviewers will review the legitimacy of your experience and followed with questions which determined the followings (as published in IEM guideline); 

(a) Design Experience - Understanding with full participation, (b) Site/Field Experience - Degree of exposure and effective participation, (c) Management Experience - Capability to organize assignment and accept responsibility, (d) Engineering Application - Resourcefulness, ingenuity in giving solution with sound fundamentals, (e) Communication Skill - Ability to communicate verbally, clarity in speech, (f) Maturity of Thought - Development of professionalism, ability to focus on material issues, rather than personal and petty matters, (g) Professional Responsibility - Capability to accept professional responsibility, have accountability, not passing the buck and blame others, (h) Ethical judgement in the conduct of works – Integrity and good governance, and (i) Awareness of engineering sustainability, health and safety issues. 

At the Interview, a Candidate will be required to show that: he can apply in practice, the theory of at least one of the branches of engineering science, and has acquired an understanding of the fundamental processes of research, investigation, planning, analysis, design and construction wherever relevant by actually taking part in contributing to these processes in connection with an engineering research or project, whether or not it is brought to conclusion or fruition. 

Part 2 is a little easier and involves less pressure where candidate will have to compose two essays from Section A - experience and Section B - professional conducts. For both sections, two set of question were given and candidate can choose 1 for each section. Candidate will be given 1.5 hours for each essay. Section A is almost like rewriting your log book but in wider spectrum in a concise manner. It is almost like a justification (if your oral exam went well) or a vindication (if your oral exam went a bit bad). Section B is easier as answer can be found available online. I will publish these 11 set of questions when time permits me to do so.


Professional Engineer - What to capture in your log book

posted Aug 15, 2019, 5:37 PM by jeffery jim   [ updated Aug 15, 2019, 5:45 PM ]


By now, if you are a Graduate Engineer; you have a log book with you which you need to fill. Many young greenhorns asked me what to jolt inside this log book. A log book is merely a diary which you need to show to your mentor or sponsor what you have learned for each month. It is an essential 'diary' which tracks and records your finding(s) at work.

The main thing you need to capture in a log book are special events which somehow increased your understanding of engineering and construction work, anything that shows some progress in your learning curve. Moreover, you need to capture lesson learned or diagnosis-prognosis or postmortem. That is the key to a good logging work. Always clip together drawings, sketches and even hand written notes during a meeting explaining and detailing how issues were tackled and resolved. It would be even be nice to have printed attachments pre- and post-construction of such issues. Address the limitations or constrain or even specification which need to be fulfilled in order to have it constructed to the time, cost and quality required in the contract. Change of design is a great way to demonstrate or illustrate the soundness of your journey in discovering engineering practices.

You also can adopt learned skills in the process and how it is helps in mitigating your problem if you want to impress your interviewers as long as it does not show that you are an operator without fundamentals engineering knowledge in operating software.

It is also essential to have lesson learned incorporated in your report since this will help you to recall how things are organized and executed during your stint when handling a project in design office or at site. It is also dire important when you are required to compose an essay about your design submission or work experience for the second paper (compliment for the ethic or general essay).

To summarize it, don't worry about showing failures. Capitalize on how it is overcome and your learning curve.

Remember, your log book is not your resume or co-curricular vitae to shows your job descriptions or duties or responsibilities. These are great but put that aside, it does not impress the interviewers. They probably have like RM2 billion worth of works under their belt while you rookies roughly hit RM50 million.

Career path meets professional engineer accreditation

posted Jun 17, 2018, 7:34 AM by jeffery jim   [ updated Jun 23, 2018, 7:31 AM ]

There are several career routes available for those who are interested to be a professional engineer in Malaysia. Many fresh graduates are in cross-road when it comes to career path, especially those who are in civil engineering. Before you greenhorns go out and seek for a job, it is best to consider the experiences you could amass in the next three (3) years. 

The minimum requirement in order to be qualified as a PEI candidate, one have to fulfill twelve (12) months of site supervision and another twelve (12) months in design office. The current Form IEM/PI allows candidate to spread their experience in man-month basis in Section 12 which is divided into 5 groups; D1 to D5; where D1 for experience in design office, D2 for supervision or site experience, D3 for planning and management, D4 is for other engineering work, and D5 is for academia and lecturing experience.

In reality, engineering career are divided into six (6) main routes; as part of the government agency or department, consulting group, industry, construction/supervision, research and development and lastly, education. Nevertheless, where should a fresh graduate go and what kind of work scope should a candidate be targeting? It is subjective and it depends on one's passion and lifestyle but for the sake in generalizing the process, i am giving you some insight of the industry.

There are two Latin phrases you should adopt when you start with your career path in civil engineering. The first is a classic by the British North Borneo and the second one is by the Kingdom of Sarawak. The first one is Pergo et Perago which mean I proceed, I strive and I accomplish. The second one is Dum Spiro Spero which literally mean while I breath, I hope. What significance do these phrases have to do with career as a civil engineer and the career path toward accreditation as a professional engineer?

Pergo et Perago is best applied when you are working in a design firm and as part of the supervision team at construction site. This phrase guides candidate to start in a design firm as a project engineer for a single project or various projects as part of the continuous process for theoretical understandings and to improve the fundamental or basic of engineering from a degree program. This is vital for candidates to render the method in translating idea or concept to calculation and into drawings. The processes in design office will make candidates familiar with concepts learned in the classroom into physically completed product(s). 

The next step will be the new stage which requires candidates to join the contractor or builder. In this stage, candidates will strive to learn how to interpret drawings and understand the level of constructiability or buildability of each design. Candidates will experience the variation of construction methods and by then understood the importance of pragmatic design, standards and specifications, and built environment. Once candidates have undergone these stages, candidates have completed the minimal and mandatory requirement by BEM and ready for Professional Engineer interview.

After candidates completed the first phase, it is time to consider other routes for career path and this phase is about luck upon entry and very fitting with Dum Spiro Spero concept. From this phase onward, experience from other route(s) are bonuses for the interview although I recommend candidates to pursue another three (3) years with contractor in project management. This will provide candidates with chances to learn about contractual issues, project planning and project control.

The following crucial three (3) years experience will provide candidates with broader perspective in construction issues and remedies which are useful during the oral interview. Besides that, additional years provide candidates with richer vocabulary which will ease the explanation process and definitely will be reflective as a competent engineer and conferred the title as an Ingenieur.

This article suffice the purpose as an initial guideline for young PEI candidates to take the right step in their career path.

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