I receive this question regularly, how I can start my career as planning engineer? I am just graduated and very few companies are seeking fresh graduated planning engineers. Should I wait until I found planning engineer job? Or I should join any other job like site engineer, technical office engineer?
My answer to this question is DO NOT WAIT. Yes, join the first job you offered, but if you want to end up working as a planning engineer, then do the following steps:
1- Do not wait: just waiting the perfect opportunity to work as a planning engineer in a reputable company is a wasting of your time. Join any construction company, this is where you will start learning.
2- Learn three things in your work; How, what before, and what after: regardless what is your position in any construction project (Site, technical office, QA/QC, quantity surveyor) if you know the following three information, you are in the right track of being a planning engineer.
- How: learn how the activity you are responsible for is being executed. What are the steps, estimated duration to execute, and required manpower. This is applicable to shop drawings, activities on the site, and all other engineering work.
- What before: after you well understand your work scope of work, investigate what are the activities/tasks/requirements are required before starting this activity. For example: before you start the installation of the floor tiles, all HVAC equipment should be installed in the ceiling not to damage the flooring.
- What after: like what before, investigate what is being done after you complete your work. For example, after you finish your shop drawings, it should be approved from the consultant and then issue to the site for construction.
At this stage, although you are not working as planning engineer, but you are building your knowledge database, the knowledge required to planners, and this is the most important knowledge in planning. By the time you will develop a decent knowledge where you can use while creating any time schedule.
3- share your knowledge to verify it: it is not good enough to collect information, it is essential to verify the data you collected. Therefore, I would recommend you to share the data you collected with your colleagues and managers, ask them this simple question: I have observed from the site that this activity is done by the following steps, and we should execute this activity before, and this activity after, what do you think? Listen to their feedback and keep evaluating your data.
4- learn primavera planning tool: during the stage 3, you can start learning the most famous planning tool Oracle Primavera. Try to learn primavera in a practical way where there is a case study and step by step guidance to develop project time schedule. Do not waste your time with courses that explain the menus and buttons, you need practical training. Also, if you want to move faster, do not look for free contents on the internet, you might find good contents free, but what is more important now, your time or your money? Invest in yourself by purchasing well organized, practical, and to the point course. You are free to search for the suitable course for you, but if you want my opinion, I would recommend my course for you: Online Primavera Course Beginner Level
5- Create a schedule for your works: now develop a detailed schedule for your work, only the activities that you are involved in. Estimate the required duration, relations, and required manpower for each activity. Monitor your progress and compare your schedule to what is done in the site, keep editing your schedule until it is very near to the reality.
6- Create schedules for your colleagues: in a friendly way, offer your colleagues in the work to create a schedule for them. Remember, you need them, so far, they do not need your services. Therefore, be kind, find suitable time to talk to them, do not ask for written documents from them, just chatting with them, write your notes, create the schedule, show it to them and ask their feedback. Keep monitoring these schedules and try to link different schedules together to create bigger schedule.
7- Show some good results to your manager: now you need to draw your managers attention. Try to develop nice report that explains the project status, your estimations, calculations. If you have planning engineer in the site/company share this information with him/her first and ask their feedback and recommendations.
8- Learn more about planning and scheduling: At this stage, you still cannot add big value to the project. Depends in your project/company size you may need to expand your knowledge to add value to your organization. Accordingly, I would recommend you to study advanced course for planning and scheduling. Again, forget about the theoretical courses that will not add any value to your practical knowledge. You need to learn planning/scheduling methodology, tips, and tricks to perform your work faster and more accurate.
I advise you to take our: Professional Planning Engineer (PPE) online workshop
9- Offer your service to your manager: You still not working as a planning engineer in your organization, but at this stage you are ready to catch the first chance. Offer to your manager to create a time schedule for your work/new project/revised schedule along with your normal tasks. If you succeeded to draw your manager’s attention, they might change your job role to planning engineer.
10- Keep searching for planning engineer job: The best place to work now as a planning engineer is your current company. But if there is no chance, then keep searching for another companies until you find one. Remember, you are not fresh graduated anymore, you have work experience, training course, and you did some planning tasks with your company. You have much better chance now.
Conclusion: Do not wait for the right chance, you can create the right chance. Being a planning engineer requires a special type of knowledge where you can gain even if you are not working as planning engineer. In this scenario, you need to work more hours because you are doing planning tasks along with your normal tasks. But believe me, it worth these efforts to achieve your goals. Investing in yourself is one of the best return on investments you can have. Keep learning, keep developing, keep yourself updated and successful.
So, are you ready to take the decision? Both courses required for your planning career are now available in one package with discounted price: start your planning career