A career in construction technology is an engaging and rewarding pursuit for workers with the right attitude and ambition. Fortunately, the growing demand for employees in the field of construction technology means there are more opportunities now than ever before to obtain an education and enter the field in the area of your choice.
If you have a passion for building, project management, or engineering, then pursuing a future in construction technology could be the right career move for you. Educational opportunities in construction technology today can be streamlined and practically applied to get you fully and skillfully trained and ready to enter the workforce.
What Is Construction Technology?
Whether it’s residential, commercial, or industrial, the construction process is complex and requires an incredible collaboration of numerous professionals at every stage of development. From planning, development, and financing right through until project completion, there are many elements at stake. A wide variety of roles and responsibilities are required to successfully complete any size project, making the entire construction process an impressive feat of technical engineering, design, and human orchestration.
Those who work in the construction field take pride in being involved in projects that begin simply as an idea and result in a building that is a tangible and productive output that will have a positive impact for years to come. Construction projects of any size are an art and a science that bring together the systematic organization of many skills, talents, manufactured supplies, and technologies to produce a particular structure for an ongoing purpose.
Because construction standards and codes vary from region to region, meticulous dedication and commitment to regulations are required throughout the entire process. A devotion to planning and proper execution is crucial in all forms of construction.
Construction Technology Industry Growth
The construction sector is one of the fastest-changing sectors for employment in today’s marketplace. With an increasing demand for higher efficiency, energy savings, and building innovation, this industry is ideal for employees who want a challenging and dynamic career with plenty of growth opportunities. Construction practices are constantly changing in order to apply today’s latest technology and to meet the growing demand for land development, residential and commercial building, and infrastructure enhancements.
Although the industry is growing, there are not enough qualified workers in the field to keep up. One 2020 business outlook report found that 81 percent of responding firms had a difficult time filling both salaried and hourly positions. Many of them think that struggle will continue, and some think it will become even harder, despite their intent to increase headcounts.
While filling worker shortages is a significant concern — with 72 percent of firms reporting them — finding quality workers is also important, as shown by the 75 percent of firms that had trouble with it.
But what does that mean for someone looking into a career in construction technology? It means that the field could be in high-demand, and someone with an exceptional skill set may be even more sought-after. Plus, the labor shortages mean that many firms are offering more pay, benefits and bonuses to attract employees.
Today’s world of construction has evolved dramatically since the industrial revolution as our general concern regarding environmental impact and waste has shifted. With growing awareness of the waste that is typically produced during a construction project of any size, new opportunities for innovative technologies and practices are also evolving, creating new space for different career paths in this industry.
Construction Technology as a Career
Given the expansion of the construction industry, population growth, and urbanization of our cities, pursuing a professional career in construction technology is a way to ensure you are selecting a purpose that adds value to the changing landscape of construction. By investing in obtaining the appropriate skills for a career in construction, you will demonstrate a commitment to improving your abilities in this field, which establishes a competitive advantage over other job seekers in the field.
Types of Careers in Construction Technology
Not only does industry growth provide many career opportunities in construction technology, but the multi-faceted nature of the complexity of construction means there are many roles to pursue as a career path. Many employees starting out in the construction field may choose one direction but end up in a completely different area altogether.
This is an important part of career development and allows workers to determine where they are best suited and what they find to be the most rewarding aspects of their jobs:
- You may decide you enjoy building homes for families and being part of the process of bringing someone’s dream home to life.
- You may prefer to work on projects that are far more extensive and take longer to complete, like the infrastructure development of roads and highways.
- Perhaps you enjoy the idea of sustainable construction and want to be part of building commercial or industrial projects that are environmentally-friendly.
Whichever segment you choose as a career, a devotion to your craft will be one of the most important requirements to solidify your long-term career. The more knowledge you can gain about the building process and best practices, the more value you will add to the project.
Careers in construction often start out in skilled trades and evolve into management and technical roles such as:
- Project management
- Site supervision
- Construction safety
- Project design consulting
You may even decide to transfer your skills to another trade as you expand your interests. If you enjoy the business management end of construction, then starting your own construction management technology business may be a possibility for you as well.
Construction is full of different paths, so if you find that you like something more than your initial choice, there are many options.
How to Know If a Career in Construction Technology Is Right for You
Having a productive attitude and being attuned to responsibility are absolutely vital characteristics of those who want to advance their careers in construction technology. If you demonstrate a willingness to take on responsibility as well as a positive, cooperative attitude, your superiors will see you as a team player. The desire to be a productive part of the team is another crucial component of career development in construction.
Apart from cooperation and attitude, a true passion for building and working hands-on is a must. For some people, this comes naturally, but it is a learned skill and can be developed through applied educational techniques. People who pursue careers in construction also feel a sense of gratification of seeing the physical results of their commitment and dedication. These project-oriented workers will excel in this career path and continue to demonstrate their value on construction sites. Their creativity can serve them well as they solve problems and work in a variety of settings.
Respect for safety, deadlines, and materials are also important traits to exhibit on construction sites as projects are very expensive and require professionalism and responsibility at all times. Awareness of your surroundings and actions, as well as those of your co-workers, can ensure no incidents or injuries occur.
Transferable Skills Needed for Construction Technology
To build a successful career in the construction industry, there are certain skills that are required. These are skills that are used daily on-site and can be further honed and developed through experience and training. Here are the transferable skills that will make you successful in the field of construction technology:
1. Leadership and Teamwork
Construction sites require focus and awareness of people and activities taking place around you. Demonstrating initiative and the ability to work cooperatively with other trades, suppliers, and members of management are necessary to be successful in your construction career.
2. Problem Solving
Construction projects are dynamic, and situations will continue to arise that require critical thinking and problem solving. If you enjoy the challenge of creating solutions and you are able to apply critical thinking, then you have a strong foundation for what is required to be valuable in this field.
The ability to effectively and efficiently communicate information with others involved in the project is vital for the success of the project. Because there are so many different roles and responsibilities on one project alone, having proper lines of communication is important to ensuring everything runs smoothly.
Because construction projects heavily focus on delivery and meeting specific deadlines, planning is a skill required to be successful in construction. By thinking ahead and planning out your daily tasks, you will improve your efficiency on the construction site. Moreover, your ability to plan will help you to mitigate risk, avoid accidents, and prevent problems from arising.
Construction Technology Career Opportunities
As you begin a career in construction, you may start to think about how you would like your career to unfold. The field of construction will always be in demand and will continue to evolve its practices to stay competitive and continue to deliver efficient, well-run projects. Because of this, there are many opportunities to pursue within this growing field. Your career path may find you starting in one area and ending up in another, but the skills you develop along the way will open more doors for you to pursue your specific passions and interests.
Residential, Commercial, Industrial or Public Works
Traditionally, the way one chooses a career in construction is to gravitate toward one of the following classifications of construction projects:
- Public works
These types of projects vary in scope, project value, and skills required.
Residential construction focuses on new home builds and renovations. Commercial projects typically require a more diverse or experienced workforce. The equipment used on commercial or large industrial projects will be far more expensive and have greater capabilities than equipment used on residential projects.
Industrial construction is generally considered to be the building of factories, power plants, and certain infrastructure projects. Public works projects are those that are government-funded, such as schools, hospitals, bridges, pipelines, airports, and dams.
Any of these project classifications can offer you rewarding and engaging work. It is up to you as the individual to decide which one meets your own career needs.
With an increasing demand for lowering environmental impact and meeting stricter compliance standards, the construction industry has seen a massive surge of “green” projects over the past several years. This involves the energy efficiency of a building and the materials used, plus the general job site practices, such as operations and waste disposal.
In the United States, the number of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) project registrations has nearly doubled in the last nine years, with more and more firms looking to increase their work on green projects. The number of U.S. firms that make more than 60 percent of their projects green is expected to increase from 32 percent in 2018 to 45 percent by 2021.
Green buildings great for the environment, and they have also opened up a whole new sector of construction technology. In fact, employees in the construction sector can obtain specific types of certification to become accredited in the field of green building. LEED Certification is an additional training program that can be pursued for those seeking to specialize their careers in green construction technology. This program focuses on the construction and design practices that will meet the high standards of the Green Building Council.
Engineering vs. Business Management
As those who look for career development in construction decide which path to choose, another possibility is to look at construction in two capacities:
- The technical, physical, and structural execution of the project
- The management of the business operations from an operating and financial perspective
These two segments of a construction project require two different skill sets, but that does not mean an individual can’t cross over from one element to another. In fact, the ability to see construction management technology from both sides offers valuable experience to a construction project.
In a business management role, you are responsible for delivering a project on-time and on-budget. In the technical and engineering role, you are responsible for producing a structurally sound and building code-compliant project.
Safety and Compliance
An incredibly important yet often overlooked component of successful construction site management is the safety and compliance of the working environment. The safety officer of any construction site has a huge responsibility in ensuring the safety of all crew members and that the site itself meets certain health and safety standards.
In the role of safety officer, the primary focus is controlling and eliminating risk. Training personnel on how to meet safety standards and implement best practices is also a key role of the safety officer. An effective and consultative safety officer performs site inspections, regular audits, and evaluations. They can end up saving the company a significant amount by preventing injuries and eliminating hazards.
As accountability grows in workplace health and safety, so will the demand for construction safety professionals. By minimizing costly and dangerous risks, the site manager can ensure a well-run and profitable construction project.
An Education in Construction Technology
If you decide to pursue a career and education program in construction technology, you will take courses on a wide variety of subjects. Your course load may include topics like:
- General craft skills, tools and techniques
- Materials handling and characteristics
- Structures and framing
- Building codes
- Sustainable construction methods
For this field, hands-on instruction and experienced professors are incredibly valuable. A thorough education can make you more attractive to potential employers. It shows that you understand the environment and know your stuff.
Construction Technology Future Outlook
There will always be the same fundamental building principles applied today as there ever were in terms of the science and mathematics used to create structurally sound projects. Thanks to today’s shifting demand and growing technological advancements, there are more opportunities to expand and perfect the systems used in construction.
The techniques used in building are constantly being fine-tuned, as are the processes and practices being executed along the way. Smarter, more efficient ways of managing and completing each phase of development are making construction one of the most exciting and rewarding industries to be a part of.
If you like the idea of developing transferable skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking, and prefer practical, hands-on work over traditional academic learning, then register for a construction technology program and begin your career in an important and evolving field. The required skills can be learned.
Having a positive, goal-oriented attitude will help to set you apart from other job-seekers in the construction field and is a useful life skill to develop and transfer from one career to the next. Your work ethic and ability to produce quality results will ultimately make you successful in developing a long-term career in the exciting and dynamic field of building construction technology.