Civil engineering is a profession that has to do with the construction and maintenance of buildings, roads, bridges, tunnels dams, ports, municipal systems, and a whole host of structures. It is difficult to start any sort of large business or industry without some type of building that requires the services of civil engineers.
Requirements of a Civil Engineer
Civil engineers need to have a complete knowledge of their particular branch of engineering, and also abilities to supervise works and exercise the administrative and financial constraints over them. Every project needs to be properly planned before it is constructed, and quite often civil engineers also need to continue to maintain the structures that they build.
The initial planning and designing requires the engineer to conduct site investigations, which may involve some knowledge of geology. Feasibility of resources for putting up the structures have to be kept in view. A thorough knowledge of building regulations, standards, and statutory guidelines is also required. Once the plans and designs are ready, the engineer needs to prepare cost estimates, place contracts, plan schedules, and then supervise the execution of the project.
Training as a Civil Engineer
The branch of civil engineering has become very vast and has led to civil engineering studies that allow the student to specialize in the branch of interest. This can include structures and their designs, geo-technical engineering or foundation specialists, transportation, construction, environment, water resources, and project management. An essential part of starting any civil engineering studies requires a candidate to complete a formal school education that has included mathematics and physics, besides other subjects. A college education can then enable the student to acquire a basic Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. Once this degree is obtained, the budding engineer can specialize in any of the fields by working for a Master’s degree. Salaries for civil engineers start at $40,000 per year with higher salaries available to students who have obtained specialized degrees. A number of colleges allow students to obtain degrees in civil engineering through online courses.
Working as Civil Engineers
A number of civil engineers prefer to work on a contractual basis, as this offers them far greater remunerations. Such work will normally be confined to a particular project, and may involve working in far away areas. Much of the work of engineers in this field is performed in an office, coupled with field visits. Such field visits are necessary for surveying, supervising the work on a project, or dealing with the problems that do arise. Civil engineers are also needed to liaise with government authorities and other branches of engineering like, electrical, HVAC, or other forms of engineering that are required on most projects. Building a factory building may involve setting up machinery, material handling devices, generators, boilers, and other similar tasks. A lot of civil engineers prefer to practice their profession in city environments by joining local bodies, and executing works like building and maintaining roads, putting up water lines and drainage works, setting up plants for municipal utilities, and supervising buildings put up by private parties within city boundaries.
Transportation engineers who are specialized in this branch are required to build highways, bridges, and tunnels to facilitate movement of vehicles. Such engineers can also be concerned with building railway lines, airports, and seaports. Civil engineering practitioners are also needed when dams and canal have to be built.
Project management is one aspect of civil engineering that involves planning, designing, and executing a project to the requirements of the stakeholders, whether it be in terms of the structure required, time frame for completion, and/or the budget that has been allotted to it.
William Stevens is a writer who creates articles related to the field of engineering. This article aims to offer insight into this field and encourage study in Civil Engineering Graduate Programs .