Junior Naval Architect
Guido Perla & Associates
Seattle, WA, USA
Why did Tanya choose this career area?
Tanya was in sea cadets for seven years in Lord’s Cove, NL. This got her interested
in ships, and it sparked her interest in ship design. When the time came to choose
a career, she learned that great pay, jobs, and travel would be available to her
as a naval architecture technologist.
What’s Tanya educational background?
Tanya first completed a Marine Environmental diploma at Marine Institute. While
in the program, she saw the Naval Architectural students working on complex designs.
She was fascinated with their work. The interest stayed with her, and she later
returned to school to do the Naval Architecture Technology program. She credits
her great job to the skills she learned in the program. Tanya has also earned a
Bachelor of Technology.
What’s Tanya job all about?
Tanya designs offshore supply vessels, yachts, and ferries. The range in ship type
means new learning opportunities. She is currently working on a ferry project for
Washington State, doing 3D lofting of the hull as well as structural calculations
Tanya has done stability work for offshore supply vessels and generated stability
booklets. She has created 3D structural models, assembly drawings, and nesting parts
For Tanya, the best part of the job is seeing designs come to life. As projects
progress, different areas of the design spiral require solutions. The complications
demand all of her skills so that problems are overcome and a fully functional million-dollar
vessel is launched. It’s exciting work.
What are Tanya’s working conditions like?
Tanya has a 10-minute commute to work. Her company subsidizes bus passes, so she
doesn’t have to worry about city traffic.
She can start work at any time between 6 and 9am. Regular employees work four 9-hour
days a week. Tanya works five 9-hour days and gets paid overtime for doing so.
Her office is in the tallest building in downtown Seattle. The space is attractive;
and there are personal work stations complete with desks, phones, computers, and
so on. Coffee, tea, and birthday cakes are provided for staff.
Tanya enjoys the relaxed, low-stress atmosphere where employees take pride in their
work. She notes that ship design requires working with pipers, outfitters, structural
and electrical engineers, and so on. This requires team work skills, so it helps
to be in an office dealing with all areas of design. Everyone helps each other,
and there is no such thing as a dumb question. In most cases, it actually brings
on a whole new set of design issues.
What benefits are associated with Tanya’s job?
The salary range for this career is anywhere from $36,000 - $130,000; the upper
limit is for contract positions. Tanya works on contract, but she has been offered
a staff position with all the benefits, including being sponsored for a green card.
She enjoys working on contract, however, so she has declined.
What’s exciting or cool about Tanya’s career area?
Tanya’s classmates work all over the US, Australia, and Canada. Travel seems to
go with the job. For example, Tanya was recently asked to go to her company’s office
in Santiago, Chile, to help train new staff there.
Every day at work brings new challenges. Tanya recently was lead structural designer
for a yacht project. As such, she was the contact person for final production output.
This project, like others she has worked on, meant regular day visits to Seattle
What advice would Tanya give to people considering a marine transportation career?
Tanya thinks high school math and science courses helped make her career choice
possible. She says the job requires an interest in ships, yachts, and boating; good
problem solving and thinking ability; and strong organizational skills.
Being able to communicate with other professionals is essential, but most of all
it’s necessary to be a hard worker and to put in the long hours. At times, a great
amount of dedication is needed in order to get the job done on time; but Tanya says
it’s worth the effort.