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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.