Justyna Poręba MIStructE
Date published

23 January 2020

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Justyna Poręba MIStructE

Career Profiles
Date published

23 January 2020

Justyna is a structural engineer at ABSTRUCT, a structural and civil engineering consultancy in Kent. Here she explains why she became a structural engineer and how she interacts with the Institution.

"The greatest achievement of my career is becoming a Chartered Member of IStructE."
Justyna Poręba

What inspired you to become a structural engineer? People? Structures?

I have always been more into the practicality of physics and maths rather than the theoretical side. I was good at physics and maths at school but I did not want to study pure physics or maths. I have never been interested in money and the stock market, so economics or accountancy would not be my choice either. Structural engineering sounded just right!

I did not know any structural engineers before I started studying, so it was a bit of a shot in the dark.


How long have you been a structural engineer?

I completed my Master’s degree in structural engineering in Poland, in 2012. A year later, I started working as a structural engineer in the UK.


What are the greatest achievements of your career?

The greatest achievement of my career is becoming a Chartered Member of IStructE. I have learned a lot over the last year when I was preparing for the Professional Review interview and Chartered Membership exam. It made me look into elements of structural engineering that were beyond my daily work experience, but essential to make me feel that I am a structural engineer.


How would you define structural engineering?

In simple terms, a structural engineer is a person who makes sure that structures are strong and robust. If there is a building to be built, a structural engineer defines the type and size of foundations, column/ walls layout and sizes, trying to achieve a shape of structure suggested by an architect.

Structures need to be not just nice and functional, which is mainly architects’ hard work, but also safe and stand up for many years, and that is what structural engineering brings to the party.


Who should become a structural engineer? 

Structural engineering brings many opportunities. If you are creative, sensible, with a practical sense, you could be a structural designer and cooperate with architects creating structures. 

If you are more like a manager type of person you could work in delivering projects, looking after designers, finances, procurement of work. And if you prefer site-based work, and you are good at problem-solving and quick at decision making, you could be overseeing site works.


How do you interact with the Institution? 

I attend events, lectures and courses. The majority are really valuable. I like using IStructE manuals for the design of structures to Eurocodes, Technical Guidance Notes and Essential Knowledge Series. I also value the eTraining course by Dr D. Brohn, Understanding Structural Behaviour, Design and Analysis.


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