For people who are mathematically, scientifically, and analytically minded, a civil engineer career would provide both challenges and rewards. This is a specialized type of engineering that offers tremendous opportunity for the right individual. While some people work in the public sector, others work government or private jobs. Compared to other engineering careers, civil engineering is among the oldest.
Responsibilities of a Civil Engineer
The person who chooses a civil engineer career would be heavily involved in planning and supervising infrastructure building. While there are a number of options, most civil engineers work with highways, buildings, and dams. In addition to creating new designs, these professionals also modify or replace existing infrastructures in accordance with current codes. As a part of a civil engineering career, professionals can choose from various subcategories such as transportation, pipelines, railways, construction, environmental maritime, geotechnical, structural, and environmental, among several others.
Along with design and planning, a civil engineer oversees engineering, as well as construction projects on both a small and large scale. As stated, a civil engineer could work for an actual construction company, consulting firm, hydraulic, environmental agency, or government entity, whether on a local, state, or federal level.
Some of the specific job functions of a civil engineer include working with clients and contractors on project specs, analyzing map and survey data, developing blueprints, making various project decisions, recommending modifications or improvements to the project, and overseeing ongoing work until project completion. Because a civil engineer works with clients, contractors, workers, and other individuals connected to the project, interpersonal skills are a must.
A few examples of job performance associated with subcategories of a civil engineer are provided below:
- Construction Engineer – In this role, the professional would plan and manage large scale projects such as bridges, railroads, dams, highways, airports, and so on. Using mathematics, science, and engineering skills and knowledge, this person would be involved in the design, analysis, and execution of work. A successful candidate would have strong problem-solving, troubleshooting, and analytical skills for dealing with complex concepts.
- Environmental Engineer – Another category of civil engineering is the environmental engineer, a professional who creates and managed projects for waste management, drainage, water supply, and flood barrier systems. In some instances, this type of civil engineer would be involved with specialized areas to include air pollution, water pollution, and landfill development and design. Outstanding planning, analysis, and problem-solving skills would be mandatory.
- Geotechnical Engineer – This type of civil engineer focuses on large scale mining operations, buildings, and earthworks in confirming the way in which a project would affect the ground’s foundation. If necessary, this professional would develop foundation designs to support a completed project when one does not exist or is nonsufficient. This professional would also identify risks and determine methods for reducing or eliminating them, making a good judgment one of the primary requirements for success.
- Hydraulic Engineer – This subcategory of civil engineering involves the design of structures used to suspend over water such as bridges, reservoirs, canals, dams, and levees. In most cases, a hydraulic engineer would be involved with the design and planning of the project, as well as implementation. Most hydraulic engineers now work with specialized software programs that help with details of the project.
- Structural Engineer – A professional with a civil engineer career that focuses on structural projects would design and manage systems capable of supporting a load. This would include skyscrapers, bridges, tunnels, and more. In addition, most structural engineers also design machinery used to establish and maintain the integrity of the project structure. Attention to detail and strong analysis are key elements to a successful career as a structural engineer.