Boosted by the nation’s aging infrastructure and other related issues, the engineering services industry is projected to grow by 21 percent in coming years, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Major efforts are underway in Los Angeles to build more resilient communities that can mitigate the effects of climate change and natural disasters. In LA, engineering managers earn an average annual salary of more than $130,000 in a competitive field that has developed into one of utmost necessity.
“A demand for skilled engineering managers is growing as a result of many factors, including airport upgrades, water resource issues, earthquakes and air quality control,” said Dr. Benjamin L. Lee, a professor and associate dean in the college of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA).
Lee said that as environmental conditions continue to change, so will an engineering manager’s responsibilities.
“The role of an effective engineering manager will transform from a planner to a leader who will build a better future with more on-demand personalized services and appeals to manage risks and reduce disasters,” said Lee, who earned his Ph.D. in technology at the University of Northern Iowa.
What defines a noteworthy engineering manager?
“A successful engineering manager must be able to integrate theories, technologies and tools, identify needs, develop the strategy and process, devise innovative solutions and then manage the custom-built team to implement the plan effectively.”
How is CSULA readying future engineering managers?
“Our college has developed courses in such areas as technology forecasting and assessment, project management and research development for technology leadership. This program helps equip engineering managers with the knowledge and skill sets they need.”
How does one prepare for a career in this field?
“While in school, one should participate in integrative and large-scale projects, from satellite systems to unmanned vehicles, and be involved in planning, problem-solving and decision-making.”
What is your advice to prospective engineering managers?
“I advise them to learn to explore creative ways to build the bridge between the problem and the solution. These are good strategies for engineering managers to demonstrate as leaders in this fast-growing, hi-tech industry.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.