Career Series No. 9 – Air Force Civil Engineer
Happy Monday everyone! I’m really excited to share this post today, because Amanda’s giving us some insight into her job in the Air Force.
Sometimes, when we think about being in the military, we only think about soldiers out there with guns, fighting. But there’s so much more to the millitary, and definitely so many options and opportunities available to us in terms of our careers.
So thanks, Amanda, for sharing your experiences, and THANKS SO MUCH for your service!
What did you want to be when you were growing up and why?
I wanted to be a doctor. I’m not really sure why, but I guess it came from having great science teachers in 6th and 7th grade. I loved learning about the human anatomy and it got me excited about learning so the natural leap was to become a doctor.
What’s the job you’re discussing?
I will be talking about when I was in the Air Force and a Civil Engineer. I am now a stay at home mom.
How did you land that position? (What made you want to pursue that?)
While attending college I was planning on getting a degree in math. The more I learned about the jobs that followed a math degree the less I wanted to get a math degree. I was interested in the military at the end of my freshman year of college. I learned about a great program Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC) where I could continue to go to school and when I graduated I would have a job in the Air Force as an officer. The Air Force wanted engineers and since engineering had a lot of math with more hands on applications I made the switch to getting my degree in Civil Engineering. When I graduated I had a job in the Air Force working as a Civil Engineer. It was a great opportunity and I am so glad I was able to learn about this career path.
What did a typical day at work look like for you?
When I was in the Air Force I had 3 main jobs. I started out working on construction projects. I would go into the office, get caught up on paper work and then in the mid morning head out to see what work the contractors had done on the projects. Sometimes nothing would happen day-to-day and other times a lot of progress would be made. Depending on the work completed I would inspect the project and take notes. Once all my projects had been visited I would go back to the office. In the afternoon I would write reports on the projects I had visited and other various paperwork or meetings.
After being in the military for two years I deployed to be part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). I was one of 2 Civil Engineers on the team. We were in charge of 35 projects and would go on missions across Kapisa, Afghanistan to do site inspections. We also were managing paperwork in the office, managing payments to contractors, attending various meetings, and updating leadership with reports and more. I was in Afghanistan for 9 months.
My final job in the Air Force was working at a leadership organization in charge of 9 military installations. We were in charge of the Energy Reduction and did a lot of paper work. This was an office job, which required a number of meetings, creation of PowerPoint presentations and general correspondence with leadership and base members. It was my least favorite job in the military, but I learned a lot and had a lot of good experiences.
Civil Engineers have many different opportunities with a number of different fields of interest and different types of jobs available. You can work inside or outside it just depends on what you are interested in and what you want to do.
What did you love most about it?
I loved the various jobs I got to be part of. It was never dull and I was always learning something.
What did you hate most about it?
When I worked in an office everyday I did not like it. I would go on walks during my lunch break to get time outside to enjoy the fresh air and get a break from staring at my computer screen. I made it work and in the end it was a good job.
What’s the coolest thing that ever happened to you at work?
I had so many amazing experiences while being deployed. I was able to interact with so many different people. My favorite part was working with the children. We built schools for the children of Afghanistan and it was fun to visit them and see them learning. It was also fun to have a job where you got to go outside every day. Afghanistan is a beautiful country.
What strengths do you think are necessary for someone to be successful at this job?
You have to be good at math and science. To get a degree in any of the engineering fields you will have to take upper level Calculus and a number of science courses, Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Having a strong base in math and science is important. Most people don’t finish their engineering degree because of the first two years of the program. Once you complete your general education the classes become more focused on your degree and it becomes a lot more fun.
To be in the military, you have to be willing to sacrifice. When you graduate you will go where the military tells you to live. You will be given amazing opportunities, but you will have to take the good with the bad. Anyone can be in the military you just have to be committed and work hard.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone who’s looking to pursue this as a career?
Work hard and get good grades. High school will be a foundation for college. If you want to be in the ROTC program having good grades in high school will give you the opportunity to get a scholarship for school. Working hard in high school will prepare you for college, where you will have a number of distractions that can take your focus of studying. If you learn good study habits in high school you will be able to succeed in anything you want to do.
Looking for more info on careers in civil engineering? Head on over to Atkins Global!
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