Candidates with a bachelor's degree in any of the fields of engineering are employed as associate engineers. Using their knowledge of math, engineering and science, they carry out experiments, interpret data and then design and implement systems or processes to meet the company's project requirements. The job of an associate engineer requires a strong ability to apply theoretical concepts along with the skills of resource management.
Associate engineers are involved with projects right from the design and planning stage. Their job includes preparing engineering designs using appropriate calculations. These designs are then converted into neat and accurate drawings and plans. To be able to perform this duty, an associate engineer needs to have knowledge of the laws and regulatory codes that govern the particular operation. Besides the technical aspects, associate engineers also prepare cost and time estimates to help in arriving at tentative project budgets.
The associate engineer serves as the project manager, defining the scope of the project. This job often requires activities such as site visits and investigations, sample analysis and surveying work. In projects that involve vendors or contractors, the associate engineer monitors the work of these outside agencies to ensure that the contract terms are met completely. Any changes in projects require sanction from the associate engineer, who reviews the proposed change for impact on the project design or specifications.
Associate engineers require good verbal as well as written communication skills, because a major part of their duties involves communicating information. They prepare reports that provide raw technical data in a comprehensible manner. Using word processing and spreadsheet software, they design presentations to brief all people involved in the project--superior officers, colleagues, subordinates, outside contractors and vendors. Associate engineers are the point of contact for any inquiries regarding the project, and in a governmental organization, they also deal with citizen inquiries and complaints, if any, from the public.
Associate engineers often have a key role in selecting appropriate staff to work on the project. Through a consideration of the academic and experience backgrounds, they determine the eligibility of staff, and decide if further training is essential. They coordinate this training and assess performance to correct deficiencies, if any. Besides managing team activities, they also coordinate with other departments and divisions and outside agencies. As work progresses, it is the associate engineer who monitors status and compliance of the project, and keeps all participants informed about the same.
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