Have you ever driven over a bridge and thought to yourself, “who designed this thing?” or seen a new building go up in your city and wondered how it was made? If so, then you’ve encountered the work of civil engineers. What does a civil engineer do every day?
Civil engineering is one of the oldest engineering disciplines and focuses on designing and constructing structures such as bridges, roads, buildings, and dams. So, what does a civil engineer do? What does a day in the life of a civil engineer look like? Let’s take a closer look.
What Does a Civil Engineer Do?
“What does a civil engineer do?” – you may wonder when choosing a career in engineering. A civil engineer is responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure projects and systems. This can include bridges, roads, railways, water and sewerage systems, flood protection schemes, and much more.
Civil engineers must have a strong understanding of mathematics and physics, as well as design software. Civil engineers often work under pressure, as many projects have tight deadlines.
As a civil engineer, you could find yourself working on small-scale projects, such as the construction of a new home, or large-scale projects, such as the development of a new city. No matter the size of the project, your ultimate goal will be to ensure that it is completed safely, on time, and within budget.
What does a civil engineer do? Some of the most common tasks that most civil engineers do include:
- designing infrastructure projects using computer-aided design software;
- liaising with clients, architects, and other professionals to discuss the needs of a construction project;
- conducting construction site visits to assess the suitability of a location for a project;
- supervising the construction of infrastructure projects;
- discussing topics such as bid proposals;
- making cost estimates and planning budgets;
- carrying out regular inspections of completed projects to ensure they are up to standard;
- writing reports and delivering presentations to clients, shareholders, and other interested parties.
What Does a Civil Engineer Build?
A civil engineer is a professional who designs and supervises the construction of public and private infrastructure, including transportation system (roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports), dams, water supply and sewerage systems, and buildings. In addition to planning and designing these structures, civil engineers also oversee their construction and maintenance.
Civil engineer also need to consider the environmental impact of their projects, as well as the potential for natural disasters such as earthquakes or floods. As a result, they must have a strong understanding of both the physical and social sciences.
Civil engineers typically work closely with surveying specialists and geotechnical engineering specialists, to make sure that the construction meets all the standards.
Civil Engineer Job Outlook
The job outlook for civil engineers is good. The demand for civil engineering services is expected to grow steadily over the next decade, as infrastructure projects continue to be a priority for governments and businesses around the world.
There will be especially strong demand for civil engineers in developing countries, where economic growth is driving investment in new infrastructure projects. In developed countries, the need to repair and upgrade existing infrastructure will also create demand for civil engineering services and public works.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021 civil engineers earned $88,050 annual median salary.
Civil Engineer – Work Environment
What does a civil engineer do and where? The work environment for civil engineers can be both office-based and field-based. Many civil engineers work in both environments, as the work often requires them to be in communication with other professionals, clients, and contractors. In an office setting, civil engineers may work on site planning projects, construction management, or environmental impact studies. They may also work in a laboratory setting, testing materials and observing the effects of different construction methods.
In a field setting, civil engineers may be involved in surveying land, inspecting construction sites, or overseeing the construction process itself. They may also be called upon to provide expert testimony in court cases involving construction disputes. Civil engineers who work in the private sector may find themselves working on projects that are much larger in scope than those undertaken by government agencies or public utilities.
How to Become a Civil Engineer?
There are many ways to become a civil engineer. The most common route is to earn a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, although some students may choose to pursue a master’s degree or doctorate instead. After earning their degree, civil engineers must then pass the Engineer-in-Training (EIT) exam administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Once they have passed the EIT exam, civil engineers can then apply for their professional engineering (PE) license.
Types of Civil Engineers
There are many different types of civil engineering. What does a civil engineer do after choosing a specialization? The most common areas in civil engineering are:
- Structural engineering deals with the design and construction of structures such as buildings, bridges, dams, tunnels, and so on.
- Geotechnical engineering deals with the assessment of the soil and rocks to determine their suitability for use in construction projects.
- Water resources engineering deals with the development and management of water resources such as rivers, lakes, and groundwater.
- Environmental engineering deals with the protection of the environment from pollution and other degradation.
- Transportation engineering deals with planning, design, and construction of transportation systems such as roads, railways, airports, and so on.
- Project management deals with planning, coordination, and execution of construction projects.
- Construction engineering deals with the actual construction of structures and other facilities.
- Facilities management deals with the maintenance and operation of structures and other facilities.
- Earthquake engineering deals with the assessment of earthquake hazards and the design of structures to resist earthquakes.
- Coastal engineering deals with planning, design, and construction of coastal projects such as seawalls, levees, and so on.
What does a civil engineer do? Now you’ve got all the information needed!