On February 19 the American Society
of Civil Engineers released the second edition of its report on Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK2) for the 21st Century: Preparing the Civil Engineer for the Future (ASCE News, March 2008). It recommends extended education and lifelong learning for civil engineers and provides a road map for civil engineers toward the professional level of civil engineering. The layout is specific only in a few areas that closely pertain to civil engineering and, therefore, this document can be a guide for all young people who aspire to become a professional in engineering. The plan is to serve a vision of the engineering profession in 2025 and beyond. It should be a great help for today’s young engineers, and especially for those who want to become proficient and want to excel in their profession, to know early on what is expected of them. This writer felt compelled to spread the news of the availability of this document and encourage young engineers to carefully study BOK2 in detail. One life is not enough for many of us to find out how one should approach an unknown field and become proficient in it. This plan can be a guide to accomplish just that with an increased probability of success. The report can be bought from ASCE for about $20, but it can also be downloaded free from the net (http://www.asce.org/files /pdf/ professional/ BOK2E_(ASCE_2008) _ ebook.pdf?CFIID =1344506).
At this time also the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is developing a new model law that by 2015 will require, in addition to the basic bachelor education, a master’s degree or thirty credits of additional education to qualify for the professional engineering license. But since there are 56 state jurisdictions that would have to adopt the new model law, it is not expected that these added requirements will be adopted nationwide anytime soon. But as it happened in the past, the states will have to fall in line sooner or later, as civil engineering is not a local trade but requires nation-wide and even global standards. So, the sooner an agreement with the national
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model is reached the better it will be for the engineers of the states and of the country as a whole, and for the international standing of the American civil engineering profession. What is worrisome, though, is the escalating cost
of college education and the high cost of extra-mural courses. One can only hope that the Internet will be a source of good and cheap information. A few years ago, sitting at my home desk, I followed lectures by eminent MIT math professor Gilbert Strang for free. This indicates that there may be opportunities out there that the older generation of engineers could hardly even dream of. WOW.