As a project manager, Nathan Sebura knew he needed formal training to take his career to the next level.
“I began taking some classes at the local community college in 2011, working toward a management degree, but they lacked what I was looking for,” said Sebura, who works in the East Coast marine industry. “I started researching construction classes and came across the SDSU website. My goal was to earn a degree or certificate because in today’s world, most project requirements state the project manager needs to be degreed or have some type of formal training. I wanted to grow in my career and be a more valuable asset to the company.”
Sebura completed SDSU’s online Construction Project Management Professional Certificate program and saw immediate rewards. Not only did he feel more confident and skilled at managing projects, he “received a nice raise, which made it even more worthwhile.”
His advice for anyone seeking to enter the field or advance their career in construction? “Go for it. Take the classes, study hard and it will pay off,” said Sebura. “The construction industry is growing leaps and bounds and there’s a lack of good quality workers as well as managers. The classes will pay off and show your employer you are dedicated and willing to go the extra mile to be successful.”
Sebura answered some questions about his career and SDSU’s program.
Please give us a brief history of your education and career.
I started out in the marine construction industry in 1999 as a commercial diver. I attended the Divers Academy of the eastern seaboard in Camden, New Jersey. It’s a six-month training program that teaches every aspect of commercial diving. From there I moved to Virginia Beach where I started my first job as a diver. I worked my way through the ranks, also managing to obtain my NCCO crane operator’s license as well as my United States Coast Guard Captain’s license to operate tug boats. I became a diving supervisor in 2005, a project superintendent in 2009, and moved into the role of project manager in 2012.
How did SDSU’s online courses fit into your schedule and how long did the program take to complete?
The program fit perfectly into my day-to-day schedule. I work long days, and the class schedule and assignments are set up for working adults. I would say I spent 3 to 5 hours a week on each class. The material is well organized and up-to-date with the industry.
I completed the Construction Project Management program but I started off in Construction Supervision because Project Management wasn’t around yet. [Editor’s note: The Construction Project Management Professional Certificate program debuted in summer 2015.] It took me about three years to complete, but I took a few semesters off due to a large project I was working on — I didn’t feel I could give 100 percent to both.
Can you speak to the quality of the instruction?
The instructors are always willing to help out and add points when needed. The interaction with other students is great and a good learning tool. The class discussions allow everyone to be involved and learn from others’ experience.
What do you think are the program’s biggest strengths?
I think the program’s biggest strengths are allowing working adults to have a good quality program that is set up specifically to the construction industry. The classes touch on all aspects of what a manager needs to learn to excel in the industry.
Anything you’d like to add?
The program helped me greatly in my career. Not only do I have the knowledge to manage a project effectively, it gave me confidence; and the ability to negotiate projects, problem solve, and be a more organized manager.