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Skilled Trades

YouTuber Kienan Koga Sets His Sights on the Trades

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kenan koga-youtube-youtuber-trade industry-trades

The YouTuber and project manager uses his platform to inform viewers about the ins and outs of the construction industry.

Kienan Koga

YouTube Personality and Project Manager

How important is a college education in the trade industry?

To get a job in my field as an entry-level engineer (general contracting at a large firm), it is a requirement to have a college degree. In that sense, it is important to get your degree to give you the best chance of employment.

However, I learned many more valuable skills and knowledge during my three-month internship in the industry than in the three years I spent in college. A degree helps get your foot in the door, but the skills needed to perform at a high level, especially in construction, are learned through experience.

What credentials, if any, are most important for a career in the trades?

In terms of formal credentials, I wouldn’t say there’s anything that is required to have success in the industry. The best people in the industry are proficient problem solvers, communicators, flexible, and emotionally intelligent. These skills can also be gathered and strengthened throughout your career. A formal credential alone does not create these kinds of people.

At the beginning of your career, I suggest putting in the hours to learn how to build first and gather technical skills, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and admit your ignorance. Also, take the time to observe the higher-ups and leaders in the company to understand what kind of manager you’d like to be, and start to work on those soft skills.

What are the most important things that you have learned about the trades industry so far in your career?

Construction is an experience-based industry. This means that the fastest way to grow your career is to strategically leverage the 24 hours you have each day. If you spend 20 more hours learning each week than your peers, over five years you will have gained almost two years of experience on them. Construction projects require a lot of hours, high-risk work, tight margins, aggressive schedules, and a multitude of personalities involved in the work. No day is the same, and you have the opportunity to solve complex problems in creative ways, foster many relationships, and create a final, tangible product that will stand for years to come.

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