Professional Development During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Source: Civil + Structural Engineer)

Jan 1, 2021

By Wayne Swafford

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped many aspects of our industry, including professional development. Once the pandemic struck, firms around the country began canceling or postponing in-person training programs. According to the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, almost 50 percent of in-person programs were postponed or canceled in North America in the first three months of the pandemic. Professional organizations and societies canceled/delayed seminars, conferences, and technical workshops, or shifted them online. This means opportunities to meet and network with mentors and experts in person have reduced. Although many professional development opportunities are now offered virtually, engineers are missing the engagement that comes with face-to-face collaboration.

Our own internal survey shows that collaboration and skills development are two of the top three challenges employees face because of remote work. Given this scenario, engineers at all levels and ages may wonder what implications this will have on their career prospects and development. How can they continue developing their knowledge, skills and abilities – three important aspects of their career? Our industry relies on smart professionals who not only have the knowledge and skills to solve problems but also the emotional abilities to work effectively with people. The steps below offer some guidance: