Construction technology is used to create, design and erect structures, and make and install their various components. This includes the art of building homes, skyscrapers, hospitals and bridges. It's a field that changes constantly, as the industry comes up with new designs, new materials and new approaches.
In times past, construction technology meant things like building a cabin from logs, then daubing mud on to seal out drafts. Now, building technology is far more complex. Private homes use the simplest modern technologies and materials, while commercial projects use more advanced methods to ensure the strength and life of the project. Recent decades have seen continuing changes in the technology, including:
- Increased use of prefabricated parts
- Using computers to design buildings
- Green technology to create eco-friendly buildings
Almost all careers involved in building – planning, designing, the actual construction – count as construction technology. At one level, this includes specialists in skilled trades, such as carpenters, bricklayers and plumbers. It also includes architects and designers, and the many administrative tasks surrounding building projects, such as:
- Cost estimation
- Project management
- Site supervision
- Construction safety
The exact skills needed to succeed vary with the specific specialty. There are some skills used in every branch of construction technology. Being efficient and meeting deadlines is essential in the construction industry, as well as dealing with people, regardless of whether they're coworkers, building inspectors or clients. A passion for building never hurts either. Other important abilities that crop up in multiple specialties include:
- Reading blueprints
- Following instructions
- Respecting safety
An article in U.S. News & World Report found that the five best jobs in construction technology are construction manager, electrician, plumber, brick mason and glazier.
Construction Technology Education
Hundreds of schools around the country offer degrees in construction technology, including two-year associate degrees, bachelor's degrees and graduate school programs. There are several standards to keep in mind when choosing a school:
- Associate programs are geared more toward preparing students for entry-level work. Four-year degrees can lead to management positions, or starting your own business.
- Some programs are affiliated with professional organizations, such as a trade union or an association of architects.
- The program should offer training that fits with your own career goals.
- You want a school that can train you in the most modern technology.
Plus, of course, you'll face the same considerations as any student. Is the college located somewhere you want to live? Is it affordable? If you're already employed, can it work classes around your schedule? In the end, only you can decide which school will give you the right construction technology course of study.