Traffic engineers. They ensure that roads are developed effectively and that commuting is done safely. To get to any location, we use roads. We follow the bends and turns and obey the laws (most of the time) of the road. We stop when the light goes red, we yield at a circle, and we trust that the bridge won’t collapse or the green man really does mean that it’s safe to walk. How are we, as a community, able to drive to work each day without worrying about optimal functionality of these road systems?
We interviewed Colin Tichauer, an award winning Traffic Engineer from Mowana Engineers, to find out the ins and outs.
- So Colin, tell us what a typical day in the life of an engineer in a start up looks like.
|Time of Day||Activity||Comments|
|6:10||Wake up and feed the dog||The alarm is the signal for the dog to start yapping|
|7:25 – 8:00||Leave for work and sit in traffic||Swapping a nice green environment for less traffic soon. (New offices)|
|8:00 – 8:45||Management meeting||Discuss everything from our Christmas do to overdue invoices|
|8:45 – 11:00||Time to start working|
|11:00||Off to a meeting||Make sure you have a client that serves good coffee|
|13:00||Back to the office in time for lunch.||Toasted tuna mayonnaise sandwich for lunch. Delicious.|
|13:30||Follow up with potential clients for business opportunities||Game face on|
|16:45||Leave work for a squash game at 5|
|17:00 – 17:45||Squash time||Playing left handed while your right shoulder is being rehabilitated makes for some strange shots|
|18:30 – 22:00||Home in time for supper. Watch some TV and then off to bed if I haven’t fallen sleep||Bed time depends on what soccer game is on.|
- What do you enjoy most about your job?
The opportunity to develop solutions that solve traffic flow problems.
- What do you enjoy least about your job?
When I am forced to discipline someone for not doing their work properly.
- Is there a qualification required to perform this job? Where and what did you study?
Yes, you need a qualification. I studied at CPUT. The equivalent today would be a degree in civil engineering.
- Is there any training provided by the organization once you come on board?
There’s always training. Courses that help you develop your skills in specific area of expertise.
- What type of person would be well suited to this job?
An analytical type of person.
- How long have you been in this position and how did you get there?
6 months, I started my own business with two partners. Before this I was a director at AECOM. I worked there for 21 years. (It was BKS before AECOM bought it over).
- Do you have any additional advice for someone interested in pursuing this career?
Always be prepared to do a little bit more than is expected.
- What is the earning potential of this career?
It depends on your position and the size of the company. But the potential could be an excess of R1.5mil a year.
- What is a typical starting salary in this career field?
About R20 000 depending on place and qualification.
- Any quirky advice for scholars looking to pursue a career in your field?
Think outside of the box and don’t hide inside it like a mouse.
Civil engineering is a broad field with the opportunity of many different specialties. Whether you want to become a traffic engineer or have that as an option, civil engineering is profession that will always be in demand. If you’re interested in engineering and love problem solving, go out there and job shadow a few different types of engineers to see which specialty piques your interest and passion.