We are in an age when changing jobs or switching professions mid-career or even several times in a working life is quite common. Finding the right sector or niche at the right time and then securing the necessary training to make these career changes stick is crucial.
The rise of online training and learning additionally means that these changes can currently be made in an increasingly planned and detailed fashion. Read on to find out more.
The interesting point, however, is that online training is now possible for a wider range of professionals than ever before, including those in the built environment. From builders, plumbers, electrical engineering, project managers, engineers and much more, you too can now learn and improve your skills online. This wasn’t always the case for jobs and roles in the built environment and for any career advancement, time off from the job would have been required as a start. Secondly, for some of the more practical jobs, there would have been no way to gain the requisite qualification without the practical lessons and tests, often at great cost to the learner. These essential tests and training are still being done, just in a whole new way.
The Built Environment
Intricately involved in all aspects of our lives, including the buildings we live in, the built environment encapsulates the ways that we get water, electricity and gas. It encompasses the roads, bridges and all our transport, and more recently, the technological systems that link us together. This is the so-called built environment.
The professions in this realm are generally incredibly technical and practical in their instruction, learning and practice. Indeed, this is still the case, and the practical knowhow is essential if you are to, for example, build a structurally correct home or efficiently design water storage and distribution for a large number of urban and suburban dwellers. However, in recent times the teaching of the related professions in the built environment, as was alluded to previously, is now being done online.
Start with some foundational knowledge
As with most career changes, you will need to have some foundational knowledge under your belt. It all depends on where it is you are in your own career and what it is you are interested to do as a job or career going forward. The advice herein is primarily for those who are already in a profession and are looking for a move to achieve a better work-life balance or for more financial freedom. If you already work in the built environment in any capacity, and you have an undergraduate qualification and or experience, it is possible to further your career in a number of ways based on the current demand and the availability of the following online courses.
The first point to be fully aware of, is that there are many varied facets to the engineering sector and the jobs that are available are thus just as varied. There have long been courses related to engineering that are taught online. Engineering management, project management and leadership are all issues related and associated with engineering that have and can be taught online. The quality and professionalism of these courses have come a long way, and a great example of this is the highly rated course offered by the University of Ottawa, where the basic engineering degree can be transformed into a management qualification that will open more doors and provide increased financial opportunity.
This was one of the first practical courses to be fully taught online. Using CAD/Auto CAD and being able to share screens and work, meant that this was, and is a great way to learn and build experience.
There are, however, still those who felt that design was taught best in a brick-and-mortar institution where the visual interaction and physical space was critical for the learning process. The deciding factor in terms of the ability to learn from watching and doing was the rise in short video clips and YouTube videos that have been used to teach design tricks and tips. Learning the creativity required was not necessarily a taught aspect and it is the use of technology that is now seen as the most important aspect. This can definitely be done online, using video clips and increasing interactions as far as is possible.
The actual work has to be done onsite, but the planning and design phases can all be taught and actually performed online. The creation of civil engineering models and processes that can be tested online and are used to perfect design and functionality are definitely better performed online and in theory before any material costs and actual building spends.
In the future even more will be taught online:
VR and augmented reality will allow even more practical courses to taught online and in the cloud. The opportunity to participate from anywhere in the world means that skills can be improved from wherever you are based. The skills for management, leadership and data analytics to name a few are essential, but the simulations that VR will allow, are the closest learning tool to actually building the real thing and will be essential for honing and perfecting practical skills, and all in a virtual setting. If virtual reality is good enough to train astronauts for the one successful flight that they need, then surely it is suitable and appropriate that it is used to train engineers, and more.
Online learning has come a long way and so too has the field of engineering and there is now the widest range of courses and opportunities to learn online. The choice can cause decision paralysis, but by keeping updated and in the know, you will be able to make the best decisions for you to take your career in the built environment to the next level. There are few career paths as rewarding as this one.