parametrix inspired people blog

Obtaining my PE License the Non-Traditional Way and How You Can Too!

Eddie Soto, PE | 1-18-2018

When I got out of high school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. My mom told me if I didn’t go to college now I probably wouldn’t go - so I needed to find something that interested me now. This led me to an 18-month program for Computer Aided Drafting and Design where I learned CAD. So 6 days after I graduated high school I started at ITT Tech while working a full-time job.

In my first job out of school I worked for a structural and civil firm where I started as a CAD Tech I. I mostly did redlines and that is where my curiosity in design started. I was there for 2 ½ years before coming to Parametrix as a CAD Tech I. I was here for about 6 months when Brad Phillips gave me my first opportunity to do design full time when he needed help on the SR520 Floating Bridge Project. I volunteered to go to Seattle and work out of the project office which was a great experience and really helped me get into the project design world. Since then I have helped design a lot of cool projects for many different Parametrix offices – from the floating bridges in Seattle, SPUI interchanges in Boise, roundabouts here in Washington and Bend, Oregon, and even a light rail project in Hawaii.

While working full time at Parametrix I made use of the company’s education assistance program and took classes at Pierce College. For 4 years during my lunch hour I would head over to Pierce College Puyallup (luckily it’s right down the road from the office) and take one or two classes per quarter. Balancing this with a full-time job and spending time with my family was very difficult but worthwhile.

Eddie with his wife and two kids.

In August 2017 I took the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam to become a certified Engineer-in-Training (EIT). Then in October 2017 I took the exam to earn my Professional Engineer (PE) license. In December 2017 I learned that I, along with several of my coworkers that I studied with, had passed!

I would warn anyone thinking about getting their PE license this way that it is not an easy thing to do. Make sure you are ready to commit the time that will be required from not only you but from your family as well. The advantage to taking the PE exam this way is that the test is broken up to focus on things we already do daily here at Parametrix. I must give thanks to the incredible people I work with at Parametrix and the company’s commitment to developing its employee-owners. I was able to take advantage of real-world experiences instead of examples from a text book. I was lucky to also be surrounded by people who have taken the exam (Some more recent than others J). They happened to have the text books I needed which helped out a lot. Everyone was very supportive and helpful when I had questions about a subject so if you find yourself in this position don’t be afraid to ask people around you for help.