Civil engineers are individuals who plan, devise and oversee the construction of different structures and facilities such as buildings, bridges, airports, roadways and railways, dams, power plants, harbors, irrigation projects, water & sewarage systems etc. They are in charge of designing and developing wide range of projects in natural and man-made environments. The main role of civil engineers is to ensure secured, well-timed and well-resourced completion of different civil structure projects ranging from building construction or bridge construction to coastal development or geotechnical engineering.
Basically, civil engineers can either be consulting engineers or contracting engineers. Constructing engineers are in charge of designing, overlooking advising on different projects, whereas contracting engineers transform their plans into reality and uphold the buildings or structure once they are built.
Basic roles, duties & responsibilities of civil engineers
So, what does a civil engineer do? Here are the basic roles, duties or responsibilities that civil engineers perform:
- Analyze mapping, survey and material testing data in computer modeling software
- Draw blueprints and sketches using computer supported design packages
- Discuss necessary requirements and specializations with clients and professionals (architects)
- Thoroughly assess environmental impacts and risks related to the project
- Manage, direct and supervise progress during each stage of project
- Judge whether the projects are feasible by studying cost, time and materials requirements
- Make sure if sites meet law’s guidelines, safety and health standards
- Adopt all related requirements of the project such as building permits
- Collect, check and approve reports
A civil engineer may have to work away from home often for long periods to time. They also have to go site visits often. As a civil engineer, you will normally work regular office hours, but may have to work extra hours near deadlines of projects.
Employers of civil engineers
- Government and public organizations
- Water and electricity companies
- Gas and power plant companies
- Local authorities
- Railways and roadways agencies
- Civil engineering contractors
Self employment by setting up a private consultancy firm is possible for those who have garnered years of experience and credibility in the industry.
Qualification and training
Aspiring individuals first have to gain a four years bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a similar specialty where you will learn courses such as math, fluid dynamics, engineering mechanics and statistics. Courses comprise of blend of traditional classroom learning, field work and researches in laboratory. You can also land internship placement programs where you will learn many practical skills and prepare for your entry in the field.
If you are looking to bag yourself a managerial position, you will need a master’s degree, a license and fair amount of on-job experience. It will take at least 5-7 years normally.
Required skills or job specifications for civil engineers
To be a successful civil engineer, you need to have a knack for creativity and commercial awareness. Here are some other skills one must develop to be an efficient civil engineer:
- Excellent math and technical skills
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- Technical competency
- Creative and problem solving approach
- Good knowledge of related legislation
- Engineering license
- Ability to work under pressure and within given budget
- A good eye for detail
- Good leading capacity
- Ability to make good bargains