Civil Engineer Job Description
A civil engineer is an engineer who is concerned with the planning, design, construction and/or maintenance of public works such as bridges, dams, railroads, sewage systems, and airfields. Civil engineers apply scientific knowledge and engineering principles to plan and design construction projects and to ensure that the projects are constructed in the safest possible manner.
A civil engineer should be enthusiastic, creative, methodical, safety conscious, and able to analyze and solve complex problems and perform risks assessment and management. They should be good at mathematics, computer-aided design, and project management. They should have a reasonable level of physically fitness and willingness to work outdoors, as they may work at construction sites and remote locations.
Famous civil engineers include Archimedes of Syracuse (principle of fluid displacement), Daniel Bernoulli (fluid dynamics), Henry Bessemer (mass production of steel), Gustave Eiffel (structural architecture), Arthur Casagrande (soil mechanics), Wendel Bollman (truss bridges), and Thomas Brassey (railroad building),
Pursue a career in civil engineering if you have aptitude for mathematics and science, and interest in the design and construction of structures such as roads, bridges and dams.
What does a Civil Engineer do?
Civil engineers may do some or all of the following:
- survey lands to plan projects
- use design software to plan and design projects in line with industry and government standards
- design the construction of public works and prepare blueprints and specifications
- test soil to determine the strength of the project foundation
- test building materials to assess their qualities
- provide cost estimates for equipment and labor
- manage budgets and project resources
- get the project plan approved by relevant authorities and obtain building permit
- supervise the construction and ensure that it is done according to the construction master plan
- teach at colleges and universities
- keep up to date with developments in the field of engineering
Where does a Civil Engineer work?
Civil engineers usually work normal office hours, but may sometimes work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. They work in offices, laboratories and construction sites.
What is Required to Become a Civil Engineer ?
To become a civil engineer, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related discipline.
Secondary school students interested in studying civil engineering should take preparatory subjects such as chemistry, physics, computer, and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Agricultural science is also useful as knowledge of soil science is important.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Differential equations
- Numerical analysis
- Statistics and probability
- Engineering design and Modeling
- Strength of material
- Steel design
- Construction materials and procedures
- Reinforcement concrete design
- Civil engineering methods
- Water resources engineering
- Engineering mechanics
- Fluid mechanics
- Environmental engineering
- Mechanics of structure and soil
- Transportation systems
- Structural and geotechnical engineering design
A civil engineer may specialize to become any of the following:
- Geotechnical engineer – an engineer who studies the engineering behavior of earth materials
- Structural engineer = an engineer who is deals with the design and construction of structures such as dams, bridges and buildings
- Land development engineer – an engineer who specializes in altering land to make land more useful
- Transportation engineer – an engineer who deals with the planning, design, operations, maintenance, rehabilitation, performance, and evaluation of transportation systems
- Hydraulic engineer - an engineer who deals with the use and control of water
- Environmental engineer – an engineer who applies engineering to improve and maintain the environment
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Civil engineers need to have:
- scientific aptitude
- creativity and innovation
- diligence and persistence
- manual dexterity
- physical stamina
- good memory
- good eyesight
- good attention to detail
- good hand-eye coordination
- good listening and communication skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- time management and organizational skills
- leadership skills
- technical drawing skills
- math, computer and programming skills
- negotiation skills
- good financial management skills
- the ability to work well independently and in a team
- the ability to design and conduct experiments
- the ability to work well under pressure
- the ability to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with new developments in the field
- the ability to identify real world problems that can be solved by engineering principles and techniques
- the ability to apply the knowledge of science, mathematics and engineering to solve real word problems
- knowledge of building materials methods and materials
- knowledge of civil engineering and land use laws and regulations
- knowledge of project management principles and practice
- knowledge of civil engineering and surveying methods
- knowledge of industry software such as MathCAD, AutoCAD, MXRoads and primavera project planner
Should I be a Civil Engineer ?
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