As populations continue to grow, so does the demand for public infrastructure. From roadways to bridges to water conveyance, infrastructure continues to be an important focus in our society. We rely on these systems for living, working and traveling. Budding architects and civil engineers can enjoy rewarding careers in the architecture-engineering-construction (AEC) industry, specifically in support of public infrastructure. Here are three possible career paths.
Consider working as an owner’s representative for a government agency such as a city, water authority or department of transportation. These entities are responsible for owning and operating infrastructure assets such as highways, water treatment facilities and pipelines. As an employee, you represent the owner in procuring and overseeing the work done by consultants and contractors. You ensure that projects are designed and/or built in accordance with governing codes and construction plans.
Public entities often contract with private consulting firms to deliver or manage various parts of the lifecycle of a project. From planning to final design to construction to maintenance, these owners contract private firms that offer professional services in architecture, engineering and construction management. As an architect or engineer, you would likely start out as a designer and ultimately move into project management, especially after you secure professional licensure.
In the past, most infrastructure projects were built by a contractor independently from the architects or engineers who designed the plans. These days, more projects are being built under design-build contracts. In a design-build project, the designers work for the contractors either in-house or as subcontractors to quickly deliver a project that is initially contractor-funded. Working for a design build contractor Sacramento CA is different than working directly for an owner, but can be every bit as fulfilling professionally.
For infrastructure-minded graduates, there are different career paths in this business. You can work on the owner-side of the industry providing supervision of projects. You might prefer working for a private AEC firm to create construction plans and specifications. Perhaps working for a contractor that does design-build work is more your speed. The sky’s the limit.