The future of Structural Engineering and the Structural Engineer
I have written many articles about Structural Engineering and the Structural Engineer. I have explained what is Structural Engineering is all about in previous articles. Anyway, In this article, I am focusing on the future of the construction industry. What would happen to you in the future? It’s the 21st century, so the world is developing rapidly. As a Structural Engineer, can you survive the high-tech revolution? All I can say is that the construction industry is changing rapidly.
My wife is a Structural Engineer, and I discuss this topic with her regularly. What she says is the truth. The new technology has changed everything (not only the construction industry.) Let’s go back to the 18th century. How did we fix the rail tracks those days? Think of the manpower used in the 18th century. The new technology and the machines have filled the gaps of humans in every industry now. The biggest fear of the Structural Engineers is the advanced computer modeling. Computer modeling is leading to more complex structures that we never thought as “possible.” You know about the computer tools that replace human workers in every industry.
Everything is being automated, so the Structural Engineer seem “less important” (at least up to some extent.) I came across a good statement made by the principal at “Odeh Engineers,” David Odeh. He says, “When traditional tasks are turned over to advanced solutions, supplemented by cloud-enabled access to calculating power, the reduction in engineer time, and required skill, can be enormous.” It’s the new challenge to all the Structural Engineers out there.
What’s the opinion of some designers and contractors about the future of Structural Engineers? They say, “Why do we even need engineers?” Anyway, I don’t agree with their opinion. While the computer program can make the calculations easy, it can’t beat the creative power of a human. In other words, a computer or a program can never replace a human 100%. Hours worth of arithmetic done in seconds with a computer program. Well, this is the 21st century, so we can’t expect the world to use “old methods” to get things done. I asked my wife the direct question, “what would happen to “you” Structural Engineers in the future?” Then she said, “We can survive, but not sure for how long.”
So, what we can do to survive the high-tech revolution. Again, I want to highlight what the principal at “Odeh Engineers,” David Odeh gives as the solution. He says, “Of course, it’s true that automation saves time and makes some of our traditional tasks redundant, and that makes structural engineers more relevant. Since we now have tools that allow us to spend less time on the profession’s mundane chores, we can now focus more on what has always been our core value—creativity.” So, the Structural Engineer should take the revolution positively.
Learn new skills to stand out from rest of the crowd (computer programs.) Now the Structural Engineer has also become a part of the designing team. Now you shouldn’t think like a traditional expert. You know the new trend now, so adapt according to it. So, what’s the conclusion? The world is developing rapidly, and we can’t stop it. Well, as humans, we should be happy about the rapid development. If we move according to the new technology, we can survive the battle.