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Civil Engineering Degree Questions--Internship and Minor Questions

The NazariteThe Nazarite Registered User regular
edited October 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Alright, I'm a second-year civil engineering major at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

I'm interested in applying for an internship over the summer, and I have a few questions. Do I need any significant engineering knowledge, or am I expected to show up knowing next to nothing? On my resume, what should I emphasize (i.e. writing skills, computer literacy, past work experience)? What sort of work does an engineering intern do?

Also, I'm probably going to be at Cal Poly for 5-6 years to earn my bachelor's. In the mean time, should I also try to get a minor? Are there any benefits, or is it just more work for nothing? I'm leaning towards Spanish, mostly because I want to continue learning the language, and it's just 24 units.

I plan on talking to an advisor, but I figure you all have some valuable experience about these as well.

Thanks in advance.

The Nazarite on

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    Blake TBlake T Do you have enemies then? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Alright, I'm a second-year civil engineering major at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

    I'm interested in applying for an internship over the summer, and I have a few questions. Do I need any significant engineering knowledge, or am I expected to show up knowing next to nothing? On my resume, what should I emphasize (i.e. writing skills, computer literacy, past work experience)? What sort of work does an engineering intern do?

    Engineering? Seriously what do you expect to do there? Were you planning to write stories of how Jim the engineer built the house? You're there to do work. Sell yourself as an engineer not a network administrator. Try to have a reasonable idea of design and be at least familure with one of the design codes that that company uses.
    Also, I'm probably going to be at Cal Poly for 5-6 years to earn my bachelor's. In the mean time, should I also try to get a minor? Are there any benefits, or is it just more work for nothing? I'm leaning towards Spanish, mostly because I want to continue learning the language, and it's just 24 units.

    I plan on talking to an advisor, but I figure you all have some valuable experience about these as well.

    Thanks in advance.

    Do you think Spanish will help you be an Engineer? Engineering is about Engineering, the most useful skillset you can have there is practicality. A good engineer can get a reasonable result quickly to get the job done under budget. A Spanish degree may be usefull if you work in construction and alot of the people you deal on site speak Spanish, or you work in an office where they speak Spanish. If you really wanted to do a minor I would look at either a buisness/economics minor or one is physics.

    Blake T on
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    bbmartinibbmartini Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    For your first internship you'll mainly just get your feet wet, my first experience was construction inspection and I just made sure things were built to spec and did soil/concrete tests. Some other people I know got stuck reading/error checking plans and proposals and doing AutoCad drawings in an office all day. They aren't going to give you a whole lot of responsibility as you aren't a licensed engineer and at this point and it will be your first internship, later on you'll be given more responsibility as you prove yourself.

    As for the minor, Spanish couldn't hurt. Mainly focus on your engineering and your fundamentals as that is the most important. Be a good engineer first, learning the communication and business aspects can come later. A management/business minor would probably be the most useful if you do pursue a minor. I wouldn't go for a physics minor, you'll have more than enough of that shoved down your throat as is, and the higher level classes won't be necessarily beneficial.

    bbmartini on
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    CrumbBumCrumbBum Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    You may also want to look into something along the lines of a Co-op. Basically every engineer I knew in college, including my future wife, all did Co-Op. Most founds jobs through engineering fairs or through a professor with connections. You will be at the bottom of the barrel, and your work load and the work you do will largely be dependent on the company for which you work. Many of my friends basically had glorified clerical jobs where they sat around doing a whole lot of nothing, and maybe did the occasional calculation or analysis. I don't think I would worry about your inexperience, that is the point of co-op and internships, to gain experience. In terms of your minor it depends on what you want to do. If you want to move around management in the engineering realm it does not hurt to have an economics or business minor. On the whole it appears to me the minor is just something you can say you have, but really isn't necessary since the important thing will be getting your P.E. if you really want to be a civil engineer. I would suggest if you are on friendly terms with one of your professors that you seek out their help in your search as well. They are undeniably important resources because of who they know, and what they know about getting a job in the engineering world.

    CrumbBum on
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