A New Direction For My Career


As a result of our mov­ing, I have tak­en a posi­tion of Senior Tech­ni­cal Writer with Bent­ley Sys­tems, Inc. Specif­i­cal­ly, I’ll be work­ing with soft­ware in the struc­tures group. In the past three years, Bent­ley has acquired sev­er­al big names in struc­tur­al engi­neer­ing soft­ware: REI (STAAD), RAM Inter­na­tion­al, and more recent­ly TDV GmbH (RM). I think that a num­ber of engi­neers were sur­prised to see this move by Bent­ley (at least I was), par­tic­u­lar­ly giv­en the per­cep­tion that STAAD and RAM were major com­peti­tors. How­ev­er, as I’ve learned a bit more about the com­pa­ny and what the direc­tion of the struc­tures group appears to be in, it has become clear that they have in place a remark­able suite of struc­tur­al appli­ca­tions. What’s more, they are posi­tion them­selves to pro­vide soft­ware for vir­tu­al­ly any struc­ture type or size. Along the way of pol­ish­ing the ele­ments to build this tool­box, they are inte­grat­ing all of them so they are bet­ter equipped to work in the future world of Build­ing Infor­ma­tion Mod­el­ing, which is the new hot­ness in the con­struc­tion and engi­neer­ing world.

So, let me back up a bit and explain how I got here.

Though I have to admit it felt at first like tak­ing a long shot at the time, I sent out some resumes to some engi­neer­ing soft­ware firms to gauge their inter­est in hir­ing a struc­tur­al engi­neer to work remote­ly. I was pleased when two com­pa­nies, includ­ing Bent­ley, were inter­est­ed. I did my best to learn all I could about the posi­tions and prod­ucts of both (I have been a career user of the prod­ucts now in Bent­ley’s line, though). After learn­ing more about what they had in mind for both their soft­ware and this posi­tion, I real­ized that this was indeed the cor­rect career path for me. To put anoth­er way, I believe that while both are excel­lent posi­tions, I want­ed the job I felt was not just a good fit for me but a great one.

It is a bit daunt­ing to leave behind a career in design, but at this point it real­ly feels like the nat­ur­al back­ground for the work I’ll be doing in the future, rather than a total career change. The knowl­edge in design and work­ing in a con­sult­ing office will be indis­pens­able as a tech­ni­cal writer as well as to serve as a liai­son between engi­neer­ing clients and soft­ware pro­gram­mers; get­ting to talk to them about what they’d like our soft­ware to do and present to them how they can achieve that.

A cou­ple of weeks ago, I wrote about being so appre­hen­sive about total life changes. Well, when this job came togeth­er, some­thing inside me clicked and every­thing just felt right. It’s not most peo­ple’s idea of a dream job to work most­ly at home writ­ing and talk­ing about engi­neer­ing soft­ware, but it kind of is mine. I’m gen­uine­ly excit­ed about the work I’ll be doing as well as the com­pa­ny I’ll be doing it for; one that real­ly seems to be pro­vid­ing a great set of appli­ca­tions and is mov­ing the indus­try for­ward in terms of tech­nol­o­gy and how to ben­e­fit designers.

Also, for the first time in my life, being a nerd isn’t a social draw­back; it’s a lifestyle and a mar­ketable skill set.

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