Construction Management Alumni Story: Becoming Project Engineer Construction Management Certificate Grad Chythra Puttaraju Builds a Great Career
Construction Management Alumni Story: Becoming Project Engineer Construction Management Certificate Grad Chythra Puttaraju Builds a Great Career

Chythra Asharani Puttaraju moved to Seattle from India with a master’s degree in structural engineering. But to land a good job in the United States, she knew she’d need more than just her degree.

Chythra needed to broaden her professional skill set, better understand the U.S. construction industry and make connections. She discovered that the Certificate in Construction Management was the perfect way to accomplish her goals. And after graduating from the program in 2016, she met with immediate success.

“I actually landed two job offers through the University of Washington,” Chythra said. She accepted a position at a large Seattle construction company as a project engineer — a higher role than she’d initially applied for. She’s currently working on the new International Arrivals Facility at Sea-Tac Airport. 

Chythra also had an additional motivator for taking the program — she hopes that her experience will encourage more women to enter and advance in the construction industry. As she noted, “It’s a good program for women to get into. I want girls in construction to know it’s possible to achieve their dreams.”

Why did you decide to take the Certificate in Construction Management?

I wanted to get exposed to what the construction industry is like in the United States. And I thought my chances of getting a job would be higher. I’d heard great reviews about the construction management program at the University of Washington. 

Do you think earning the certificate was important in getting your job? 

Definitely. My undergraduate degree was in construction engineering and management, but I graduated in 2008. This was a refresher.

The certificate program allowed me to attend career fairs and also helped me with interviews. It helped my communication skills and gave me the confidence to talk to employers. In addition, I met a bunch of classmates who were very helpful. I really wanted a job, and I got a good one.

How were your classmates helpful?

They were all experienced professionals who had been in the construction industry for many years. They passed on my resume when I looked for jobs, and they helped me in how to talk in an interview. And personally, I made great friends I'm still in touch with.

What did you think of the instructors?

They were awesome. All of the instructors brought in practical experience. It was not just book knowledge. Most of us connected to them on a practical level because they were coming straight from the industry.

How’s the current market for construction-related jobs?

It's a great time to be in the construction industry. Seattle currently has a great market — businesses are flourishing and so is the infrastructure. Construction is powering job growth in the area.

For more alumni stories from UW Professional & Continuing Education, visit the News & Features section of our website. To learn more about our certificates, specializations, degrees and courses, explore your options or contact us.

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