Geotechnical engineering is a serious, responsible job, but we’ll get to that in just a bit. Why are we discussing this profession? Well, simply because these experts are in demand – to such an extent, in fact, that one now doesn’t need a masters in geotechnical engineering to get employed as one. This might come off as quite preposterous, so we’ve decided to look into the profession, with hopes that you, as a reader will develop some interest in it and make the world of engineering safer and better.
What is Geotechnical Engineering?
As promised, we will now introduce you to this profession. Geotechnical engineering is based on principles of soil and rock mechanics. It uses these two to investigate subsurface conditions and materials, as well as mechanical, physical and chemical properties of soil and rock mechanics. This branch of engineering provides insight into stability of natural slopes and soil deposits made by man, assess site conditions and all risks involved in design structure of foundations and earthworks. So, now you get the picture, when it comes to why this profession is so important – funds involved into building structures aren’t the most important risks – human lives are at stake!
How Does it Work?
The job of a geotechnical engineer starts way before the architect finalizes their plans or the construction crew breaks ground. While coming up with proper concrete and/or steel might be important, the job of these professionals is somewhat more difficult – it is us who control man-made materials, but soil is something already there – it needs investigating.
Soil has its own properties, which are discovered with field and lab tests – the error margin is almost non-existent, seeing as how an inconsistency might not show for months or even years down the road and this can be somewhat dangerous and deadly – the risks include buildings and bridges collapsing, dams cracking and traffic accidents occurring due to settled soil. The goal of geotechnical engineering is, in essence long-term public safety.
Using new technology is very important in the geotechnical engineer’s line of work. For example, ever since the federal government has lifted its restrictions on geolocation, the profession has become easier. Nowadays, many geotechnical engineers use Google Earth to do their job and, while using the phone instead of the traditional GPS device is less accurate, it gets the job done; the data is later confirmed using the older technology.
Geotechnical engineering consultants have found much relief in mobile technologies, when it comes to documentation. The whole profession revolves around using maps and, instead of going through piles of them, an expert can easily use their smartphone or tablet to get insight into soil. Naturally, this is later confirmed with tests.
The title of this section is a bit misleading; here we will talk about what this job position doesn’t require – a master’s degree. The reason behind this is the fact that we have mobile technology at our side. Naturally, it would be desirable that every geotechnical engineering expert has a master’s degree to brag about, but the fact is that these experts are high in demand – you can easily get employed as one and the pay is high. However, with a hefty paycheque, comes great responsibility – as a geotechnical engineer, you are responsible not only for the lives of the current generation, but those of many generations yet to come. If you are responsible and think that you can take on this profession, go for it!
The geotechnical engineering field of work is imbued with responsibility and dedication. It is a high-paying job that is currently somewhat wanted and needed. The legacy of mankind is outlined in the buildings we make – they are to stay long after we’ve left the earth and it’s the job of these professionals to ensure that this happens!