Geotechnical engineers are scientists or professionals responsible for examining and evaluating the integrity of rock, groundwater, soil, mineral deposits and other natural terrains before commencing major construction projects. Geotechnical engineers are concerned with very minute and detailed technical analysis of the earthy materials and assessing and management of risks and geological complications. They are also involved in analyzing of design and sites for naturally sensitive and sustaining developments.
Geotechnical engineers have to encompass a very great range of roles and responsibilities which is applicable to many different sectors of the industry. If you have deep interest in geology and love to spend time outdoors working close to nature, geotechnical engineering will be an ideal choice for you.
Basic roles, duties & responsibilities of geotechnical engineers
So, what does a geotechnical engineer do? Here we have summed up the basic, roles, duties or responsibilities carried out by geotechnical engineers:
- Oversee ground and site investigations
- Supervise all the progress of specific contracts
- Carry out various studies of the earth’s crust and evaluate its history and structure
- Make proposals and recommendations on potential use of geological sites
- Execute programs for surveys and mapping of geologically promising sites
- Devise plans and programs for exploration of sites for oils and other minerals
- Accumulate and evaluate rocks, bedrocks and other near surface deposits
- Assess geological data with special computer software
- Discuss with other professionals such as geologists and construction engineers
Employers of geotechnical engineers
The duties and responsibilities of geotechnical engineers are very varied but equally important. The following are some of the employers of geotechnical engineers.
- Government and public bodies
- Environmental consultancies
- Gas and oil companies
- Geotechnical consultancies
- Geo-environmental site investigation consultancies
- Civil engineering companies
The variety of employment opportunities for geotechnical engineer is very widespread and the level of competition differs as per your field of specialization. As a geotechnical engineer, you will have to spend a lot of time outdoor, travel between locations, and meet and negotiate contracts with clients and contractors.
Geotechnical engineers approximately work 40 to 45 hours a week. You may also have to work overtime and extra hours and during weekends to meet deadline.
Qualification and training
First of all you will need a 4 years bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or geotechnical engineering to commend this career. Masters degree with specialization on geotechnical engineering will be much preferred. Other related degrees such as geology and earth science can also be considered for this job but might take longer for a career jumpstart. Degree in following subjects increases your chances:
- Geo technical engineering
- Geology science
- Mineral and mining engineering
- Environmental science
- Geo Physics
To pursue career in geology, you will need a bachelor’s degree in relevant field from a recognized university and only a HND is not enough for your entry. Relevant experience in geotechnical engineering or geology field will be helpful. For succession in this career, post graduate studies are very much important. It also opens doors of higher potentialities for those who want to pursue career as a professor which in itself a great career choice. To be a qualified geotechnical engineer you will need to have proven expertise in physical, geometric, and applied science.
Required skills or job specifications of geotechnical engineers
Geotechnical engineers have to spend a lot of time outdoors working in close vicinity of natural calamities. They also have to spend a lot of their time in labs conducting researches. For this geotechnical engineers should be well prepared with skills such as:
- Excellent knowledge of various science and their uses
- Organizational skills
- Team work and team leading ability
- Driving license
- Ability to work as a team with other engineers and scientists
- Computer knowhow
- Good knowledge of relevant legislature
- Good interpersonal and communication skills