When engineering firms hire newly-graduated engineering students as EITs, their value to the firm and their early career progress is accelerated when they have experience with the professional engineering software used by the employer. How many engineering schools offer such training?

When I started my first “real” job after college graduation, I had no experience with the tools that my employer used. The tools they used weren’t a part of the engineering curriculum at the time, unless you count yellow pads and a HP calculators.

Back then, professional software was often priced at hundreds or thousands of dollars per user, well out of range of a college student. Likewise, engineering departments didn’t have funds in their budget to provide software to hundreds or thousands of students.

In today’s world, new structural and civil engineering graduates can avoid the challenge I faced – if their engineering professors know how to help. Many firms use open source software in their mix of tools. Today, open source tools are pervasive, accepted for business use, and mostly well-organized – unlike when I graduated. Sometimes you can even get support from the author.

Getting student access to professional engineering software gets a little more difficult. However, engineering students at some schools can gain experience using professional engineering software through academic licensing programs. These programs provide the students with software at no charge via arrangements made by their civil/structural engineering professors and instructors.

For example, ENERCALC’s Structural Engineering Library and RetainPro professional structural engineering software is available to free of charge for the academic year to professors and instructors of civil and structural engineering at four-year colleges and universities. The software can be distributed to students at no charge for their use with coursework during the academic year.

Structural Engineering Library offers 30+ modules for analysis, design and code check of beams, columns, footings and more. RetainPro analyzes and designs nearly any retaining wall, concrete or masonry, or combination of both, cantilevered or restrained, plus gravity walls, soldier pile walls, and segmental walls (SRWs) with or without geogrids (MSE).

Because of academic license programs like ENERCALC’s, thousands of firms can find new EITs who can hit the ground running because they already know at least one of the software tools used daily in their new firm.

Contact: Jen Eldridge @ ENERCALC, Inc. enercalc.com 949-645-0151 ext 1

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