Thank God I took a coding class in high school because I found out how boring it is.


For as boring as that was, throw in a menagerie of meaningless meetings where people who, at least, appear to have no idea what they are talking about tell you what to do and how to do it, only to have to redo it all in 6 months or get it cancelled, or get inundated with prod fires.


I'm not sure if you're talking about programing or a kick-off meeting with a land developer.


Sounds like an email from an architect with subject: "Minor modifications"


Architect: We’ve decided to widen the building in the direction of the proposed wall. Developer two weeks later: Why did this wall get bigger!


This bit never gets old: [The Expert](https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg)


Hah! It was about programming, but I suppose that is probably most jobs.


There's a lot of allure with tech (mainly the pay and benefits) but yeah I've never gone very far with coding because if it's anything like MatLab I fear I'd fucking hate it


I wish I was that curious in highschool.


A random coding class in high school is not going to reflect working as a swe at all lol


I remember thinking in high school I had to do cs when I went to college. Luckily I joined robotics and found out I could do mech instead.


Switch to tech if you want but if you’re just doing it thinking you’re going to coast into a FAANG role, get a fat salary, and work 4 hours a day you’re probably going to be very disappointed. You’re going to be competing against the people who are natural gifted at coding, have likely done it since they were kids, and will absolutely work harder than you because they’re passionate about it. If you can even get through the degree, you’ll likely just get one of the average coding jobs at some random company starting at like $70-80k.


I disagree with most of the comments. This country’s infrastructure is in horrendous shape, and it’s going to take a New Deal level of effort to get our infrastructure back to a maintainable state. Say whatever you want about Biden, but he just dumped billions of dollars in to the industry, and that’s just the start


They see the dream sold to them when realistically they'll be miserable in front of a computer instead of miserable in front of a different computer. Chasing money isn't going to make it any better, especially when the money isn't likely to come as expected. Especially when the economy goes tits up


Same misery, but with the ability to retire by 40.


Or forced to retire by 40 because of the rampant age discrimination in CS..


I think it's a few things. There was a post in the personal finance sub the other day where OP was asking if he should go to the state school or a private school for CS/programming. One of the top replies was a guy saying they hire at Google starting at $180k with up to $100k signing bonuses. It took me 20 years in CE to get remotely close to $180k and the one signing bonus I've gotten was like $3k. So there's a money aspect - people think they will be making more and will do so immediately. It takes a minute in CE to make those salaries. Second is that for a lot of CS and programming jobs you truly can work from anywhere. My brother is a software engineer and he just moved to Costa Rica, but can continue working for American companies from there. He's been fully remote for at least ten years. And no matter how the pandemic changed things, our corporate overlords are definitely going to want us back in the office (and for field engineers they will always need to be on site). I get it to some extent. When I finally settled on CE as a major, it was competing directly against CS. But that was well before the internet boom, so it didn't appear as lucrative then as it can appear now. I think, generally speaking, that CE is a more stable industry. Maybe you aren't earning $200k off the bat, but you're going to make decent, livable money and I've never heard of Jacobs or AECOM laying off 10,000+ employees in one go.


Just people getting upset that they know people that make more than them that don’t appear to work as hard. Whether or not it’s true if you just want to make money go do tech or medicine or law. You can make good money in civil, maybe not good money if you live in California, Hawaii etc. I love my job and I’m paid well, I never expected to be rich and honestly it’s not a goal of mine. It’s hard work and challenging for sure though. I have a relative that’s a doctor and complains about his career and how some people are making more money with less effort, that person is making plenty of money. To each his own, Reddit is a place to complain so just realize that we don’t all feel that way.


Idk why specifically CS, I wish it was more common for a CE to switch to an ME. That’s the boat I’m in rn, I love automotive and fab work but only after I had finished my CE degree. I have an opportunity for a great ME job but I’m kinda too pussy to make the jump. CE isn’t bad and I don’t think CS is the solution. There are more things out there other than higher pay. I think ME meshes with my mind better bc as a structural engineer currently I feel lost in a sea of much smarter people.




You forgot to mention the number of heart attacks structural engineers have every time the contractor calls with a mistake they made or when we forgot something important…


That’s why I’m going Land Surveying. Can’t offshore land surveying! Suckers!


May not be able to offshore it, but companies are definitely working on automating it.


Still need a PLS to sign off on anything regardless, and someone who understands property law and knows how to read and utilize plats. In fact, the automation will make my job easier and quicker, less workers and being able to get more work (if I started my own firm).


Yeah, most of us should benefit from automation for a while. Hopefully by the time we don't need things like licensed professionals signing off on automated results we'll have a paradigm shift in the economy such that we'll all be fine. The same automation can definitely happen in civil engineering as well of course.


Oh yeah most definitely. By the time our licenses become obsolete, automation would be so ingrained that we probably wouldn’t have to work at all anymore, because you need to create an AI that can do multiple complex tasks and continuously learn (which is something that isn’t been achieved yet, most AI developers estimate it won’t happen until at least 2200). So we got a while, so enjoy it because pretty soon here I suspect us to make way more money than any other generation of engineers/land surveyors.


Most AI developers indicate that there's a 99% chance it'll happen before 2100, a decent chance it'll happen before 2050 and even a small but very real chance it'll happen before 2030 at which point it really depends on how quickly society adapts to it. Granted, automation as a whole should make us all far more wealthy and productive so I'm all for it.


LiDAR isn’t going to replace surveyors.


Not talking about just LiDAR.




This is what blows my mind. There is a "shortage" of experienced mid level engineers/project managers due to folks leaving civil engineering during this era and yet wages haven't skyrocketed up. What more needs to happen for wages to significantly increase?


Also the difference in benefits is insane. Average benefits for civil engineering are awful benefits in many industries. They would never be acceptable in computer.


CS will become incredibly competitive in the coming years. There’s millions of people learning coding overseas who will 1000% outwork you for that CS job. Also, young American students are very interested in coding. Most of my friends have at least one sibling teaching themselves to code. With their lax barriers of entry, there’s obviously tons of success stories where people are finding better pay or a better life. But that also means it’s easy for someone else to take that same route and take their job for less pay. Now look at what has recently happened in ‘big tech’ firms. Tens of thousands of lay offs because the higher ups realized their employees were redundant. The people paying salaries had no idea on how to allocate work but that will most definitely change. But civil engineering is so much different. Tons of older engineers are retiring and many are past retirement age. At the same time, the # of civil engineering grads is pretty low. US infrastructure is massive, expensive, poorly maintained and near end of life. The past generations has left my generation with a terrible burden but that burden will pay well to fix. Biden’s infrastructure bill was huge but still isn’t enough. I’m in my last semester of schooling right now. I’m a 3.2 student but internships have gotten me scholarships and sent me across the country working on interesting projects. I had 4 full time offers from one job fair (and all of my internships gave me an offer) with the highest being 90k with citgo. (Refinery job so I’d only work 40-45 hrs a week) I ended up taking a job with a top 10 ENR design firm and trust me, I’m not exceptional. Side note, when I started college, civil engineers were at the butt of a few jokes from mechanical, industrial, electrical engineers etc but after Covid happened I’ve had a few students tell me they wish they’d done civil. At our job fairs, the lines for mechanical / industrial internships can be 40 students long as times. It’s rare for civil students to have any line and 80% of the conversation is about what the company can offer their employees, not the other way around.


People have been saying that about software for 20 years now, and every year there are more job openings, and the barrier to entry isn't exactly "lax". The success stories severely outweigh the people who tried to make the switch and failed (a lot more people fail than succeed). Companies don't want to outsource over sea's for various reasons, or if they do, they learn why other companies don't. Big tech firms are laying off to appease shareholders, and most likely to cool off the market so they don't have to pay as high of compensation and instill fear into employees. But there are still plenty of non-FANG companies hiring and offering high comp. I like how you say all these people laid off were redundant while still in college not having even worked full-time nor having any idea how those tech companies work or who was laid off. Plenty of engineers at this google layoff had been recently promoted, working for 10-20 years, received exceeding expectations in reviews, had lots of domain knowledge, etc. Also, as the years go on, there's only going to be more demand for software engineers, especially experienced ones.


I don’t disagree. There’s plenty of money to be made and anything tech related is a great route. “Redundant” may have not been the best wording but from the company perspective, yes they were redundant. Can’t comment on whether that was a smart or ethical decision but in the short term it’s true. But I’m sure those who were laid off will be just fine in the long run (probably secure better pay as well). My point was to highlight that the tech field isn’t as rosey as some make it to be. 70,000 jobs lost is definitely noteworthy. Some CS jobs will absolutely be outsourced. Not the highly experienced roles but it will have an impact on some of the lower level, perhaps non-college roles. CS is absolutely more lax than CE. At least for getting your foot in the industry door. It’s still a skilled profession so of course there’s a decent barrier to entry. For better or worse, CE is much more regulated in terms of who can sign off on documents. My main point is that CE has a good outlook. ASCE reports on civil engineer pay have been very good and like a said before, our infrastructure is crumbling.


Yup, and unfortunately no one seems to care nor want to fund our infrastructure. We've needed funding for it for decades. Futures are bright in both fields going forward. Idk like, yes its more lax in you don't need a degree, but all you need is a degree to be a CE (not signing off on documents etc) but you can do a lot w/o your PE. To me, it's kinda equivalent I guess, cause you still need to know a lot to become a swe and it's rare to not have a degree and be one. TBH I'd be more worried about cad/low level CE work being outsourced, as it already is by major firms, than cs roles being outsourced.


I wonder how the civil engineering industry will shift as states legalize cannabis. I’ve been in water and wastewater for almost 20 years and recently been giving proposals to growing facilities for a electrical design. These operations are massive. Yes, civil engineering firms do electrical design. I also design wastewater plants for breweries. I get free beer sometime. Civil engineering should be rebranded because if you tell people I’m the Poop, weed, and beer engineer, more people may be interested. CS people are dreaming of working for the big tech company such as google, but those are the best of the best which majority of the people will never achieve. Civil engineering is also the only engineering you can go out and start your own firm and be successful. I have my own engineering firm for side work before 40 years old while making 6 figure for the main company I work for. The money is there, but it may take a bit longer to get it.


Interested in hearing about your side firm and how you were able to take that on whilst having your day job.




I think people see it as a similar field (stem) with higher floor and higher ceiling. Not only that, but it has much less personal risk when you actually do your job. No license no lawsuits because a bridge collapses etc.


I spent 5 years in consulting. It wasn’t a bad life but I felt underpaid for the level of responsibility and stress with benefit’s getting worse and worse as the years went on. Race to the bottom feels like a buzzword at this point but that’s how it’s felt with project managers underestimating staff effort requirements to reduce bidding costs which makes our lives hell. Quite honestly more often than not I’d tell myself “I don’t be paid enough to deal with this shit”. I went to tech and honestly I work very hard with a comfortable amount of stress still, but it’s different in that my goal is find ways to add value and grow our customer base or extract more money from existing customers as opposed reduce costs. I also get paid enough to deal with whatever bullshit comes my way.


How did you switch?


Took a lot of CS classes prepping for an MSCS program (in GaTech OMSCS now!), researched a ton of different job options and companies, looked at preferred knowledge and then started reading more and applying to jobs. Proper preparation is important, but always be refining your resume and looking for jobs on LinkedIn (look at tech companies that do anything within your domain knowledge zone!)


I understand CS is high pay, but honestly, how long is it gonna last? Their work is so stupid sometimes. I have a friend who’s “project” for the past few months is to work on a bug for uploading files to the company website. And regardless of pay, the work itself is so meaningless, I just don’t see the appeal.


As long as it’s ridiculously profitable, which due to scale and reach is forever. The amount of revenue an employee can generate is baffling in tech, in consulting your pretty limited by how much your billing. Speaking of useless, shit I’ve done projects in civil just because funding was getting close to expiring so as soon as we finished the design it got shelved. Spent weeks on roadway resurfacing plans that should fall under maintenance having the liberty to take on without an engineering firm. Honestly I’ve done my most meaningful engineering in a tech environment as opposed to a civil environment. You know how many thousands of dollars in billable hours I’ve seen spent arguing over a single sign structure? Far, far too many. Tech is not just programming, it’s also marketing, product, UIUX, manufacturing, program management, project management, analysts, business development, operations, supply chain, sales, etc. Sure, there’s A LOT of money if you’re a rockstar SWE, but there’s also very solid pay in support roles as well.


Not to mention that software engineering really is one of only a few fields that haven't seen wage stagnation. They aren't overpaid, other fields are underpaid. Very annoying seeing the working class attack each other over this when it's company executives/wealthy who they should be directing their rage at. Also that tech is the future, as we've seen the past 20 years how much the world has changed. Interest rates will cause issues for some companies, but there are plenty more who aren't "growth at all costs" that you've seen the past 10 years.


>it’s ridiculously profitable, which due to scale and reach is forever. Ehhhhhh. The tech boom of the last 10 years has also had the benefit of absurdly low costs of borrowing money, so you could burn at a stupid rate and no one would blink an eye. Now that loans cost more, firms actually have to start showing a profit commiserate with their spending and there is an upper limit on that.


The cost of borrowing will hit civil/construction companies as well. The unit economics of most tech companies vs. civil construction will always remain the same. Just not possible to create a product with 60%+ gross margins in this industry. It’s too linear. Even the software companies in civil have lower margins than their peers in other b2b saas industries.


Construction companies sure, but consultants don't regularly take on debt the same way tech companies do.


For sure but we aren’t recession-proof. Don’t get me wrong, I feel extremely secure in my job. My roommate works in tech sales and is worried about a layoff any day. So there are trade offs. But my roommate can also generate the same profit for his company with a few phone calls that I could in a month.


Maybe you're not recession proof, but I've got a backlog into 2024 of inspections that are mandated and funded. Sure, I'll probably never break $250k, but I'll also never be unemployed unless I want to be 😂


Oh yea same here. I like having an extremely secure job with a cut and dry path laid out for me. Just saying with the internet and social media, a lot of people in my generation have aspirations for exponential growth. Not that it’s realistic but the internet does offer a lot of opportunities. The idea of a linear relationship between time you put in and value you get out isn’t very popular right now and that’s why we see these posts.


According to my friend, all the companies are laying people off now in droves. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Snapchat, stitch fix, Twitter. It's interesting to watch


No reason to mention "science" only in the computer side of the equation as it is misleading from the start, CE is also a science. Computers just industrialize and by doing so the question is what about the possible markets for such skills. Same question to a sculptor when CNC Granite Carving Machines arrived: to master CNC and discover the new market possibilities perhaps leaving the art? or like Dali, industrialy preparing the base but giving the final touch. I think computer skills are like a new road comming to an isolated place, one will escape by it, another will buy a vehicle to optimize tasks and another one will just do nothing, any could be a correct path, and good to share it.


>No reason to mention "science" only in the computer side of the equation as it is misleading from the start I agree here, but for a different reason. Computer science is actually it's own thing, but most kids who get a degree in CS will just end up as developers or software engineers, not scientists. It's a shame, because my CS degree included a lot of interesting math that just doesn't apply whatsoever to my devops job. One day I'll get my master's and grow up to be a real data scientist and head off to the data mine, but not today.


Same for any Civil Engineering field, no science work done in most jobs, the posibility a CE as me build the data mine is negligible, if just even any game developer gave a hand to the building industry we then could think again about science to build a better world, we will wait.


1. Infrastructure in the US is fucked 2. Year over year new civil engineering grads is rapidly decreasing 3. BLS now shows CE as one of the better paid fields of engineering with exponential career growth with a sub 1% RSE 4. Defense, semiconductor, and AE industries are starting to employee CE’s in high volumes (they pay very well too) 5. Boomers are retiring at an alarming rate I can go on and on but I don’t give enough fucks to write essays that people won’t read. It’s the basic principle of supply and demand, civil engineering salaries CAN NOT stay where they are at. They must increase. And quite frankly, I also don’t give a fuck if they go up or not, I became a civil engineer because I wanted to do something meaningful in society with tons of job security. I will literally never be unemployed unless I chose to be.


I know the pay is attractive to people but in reality the pay that they’re thinking about to switch is really only available in FAANG, outside of that the pay looks like that of ChemE


Is that really a bad thing though? I went from a 5 yoe EI role at 110k to a role paying 145k in tech that would make ~190k in FAANG. Sure 190k would’ve been way better, but I’m not going to whine about only getting 145k which would be something that wouldn’t get for years in civil.




It’s hard to say no to 30k extra fresh out of school, hell there was no saying “no” to an extra 30k mid career. The benefits are also huge plus. My 401k match and other benefits are just way better, and fully remote too. That’s also a pet peeve of mine, you should be able wayyy more comfortable googling if you want to move over to tech as a whole. People need to really clarify what “tech” or “CS” role they want when asking for advice. There’s a pretty large difference between how’d you prepare for SWE interviews and how I’d prepare for product management interviews.


there are tons and tons of companies who offer that compensation outside of FANG


I'm a structural turned full-time dev of structural software/workflows. Here's how I see it. I have three recurring customers, two companies I've previously worked for full-time and another large engineering firm where an ex-colleague now works. I work with a business owner, a senior associate, and one department head. They know what projects are coming (or could come) down the pipeline, talk to engineers and figure out where bottlenecks are, and write up a scope of work for me to write a program to smooth it out. It makes them more competitive in their bids or frees up engineers to work on other things. I can perform a quick study and show side-by-side how long each process takes (let's say the design of a hundred connections with weird geometry to check/detail), and it takes 30s per connection instead of 15 minutes engineering time and 2 hours drafting time. How long will this go on? Probably as long as decision-makers get bonuses from beating estimated labor times or when I can no longer shave off time.


Idk but if you’re a civil eng and want some variation then look at your existing processes and figure out/make it that they now work with or are replaced by something written in Python, Octave etc. It’ll be fun but you’ll also realise how you probably want to dabble in it versus doing it full time.


Doesn’t make it any less true.


Same thing happened in the 90’s with the grass-is-greener attitude towards comp-sci. It’s just a fad.


As long as other fields don't have realistic wage increases, and seeing as the future is technology, don't really see how it's a fad. Now if other fields like civil kept up w/ wage growth and didn't see such stagnation I'd say otherwise.


I got my first Bs in Comp Sci and are now finishing my Civil. Will work in traffic and transportation. Hoping to get into the intelligent infrastructure sphere of things.


Most of reddit is IT people and they think they know more about your job than you do. I see this any time I talk about being a carpenter outside of construction subs


I worked in the survey department of a civil engineering firm after acquiring my CAD degree. It was not a great field, everyone i talked to never had an answer for anything. It just seemed like everyone spent their entire days guessing and googling. There was an appalling lack of standard, combined with so many different softwares that no one is ever on the same page. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.


What does this have to do with the post lol


More than your comment


Oh yea i almost forgot, engineers are dickheads that make it clear they think they are better than you.


Yeah now that we've read your comments we know we're better than you smh.


I see just as many posts whining about this as I do actual posts about it.


I am somewhat a proponent of the CS narrative, but still recognize that it’s the same as being a CAD monkey with about 25% more pay and probably a *slightly* comfier work environment and culture. Both are boring, both you stare at screens all day, both you are able to work fully-remote, both are probably vulnerable to economic downturns (some exceptions). But I think that being a CS major also gives you more marketability in side-hustle work than engineering does.


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lol what


If you're 22 and only means of comparing yourself is starting salary, then it seems crazy that your comp eng friends can make 5x what you can. This will change in that next recession, when a lot of the comp.enf people will have their bonuses curtailed completely. Top coders will always make more than top civil engs. But there was a 16-year stretch before covid, where building software paid less than civil in most cases.


Not even just CompE. My mechanical friends were starting at at least 1.5x me and half of them barely graduated. No licensing exam, no continuing Ed. Most of them were working 40 hour weeks in a factory yelling at machinists for not greasing the equipment properly. Finding out why fresher CEs were upset isn't difficult. Seems like new hire pay has skyrocketed in the last few years, though. I'm happy to see it.


In my day they told us to become a dentist at least.


Construction is what builds societies and will never die until you robots or advance machines. But Software engineering will eventually have a downfall bcuz AI advancement recently took massive turn into succession.