Civil Engineers

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Also known as:
Architectural Engineer, Bridge Engineer, Civil Engineer, Construction Engineer, Facilities Engineer, Geotechnical Engineer, Highway Engineer, Hydrographic Engineer, Railroad Design Consultant, Research Hydraulic Engineer

ABOUT CIVIL ENGINEER CAREERS
Video transcript

Civil engineers design roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, and airports. They combine a knowledge of materials science, engineering, economics, physics, geology, and hydraulics to create the physical infrastructure essential to modern life. Naturally, there are numerous sub-specialties.

Surveying and mapping engineers identify the best sites for construction. Hydraulic and irrigation engineers focus on dams, flood control, wells, and reservoirs. Environmental engineers deal with wastewater products, garbage disposal, and recycling plants. And traffic engineers specialize in designing "people-moving systems," be they underground subways, commuter railroads, or new and improved roads and highways.

A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement. At some universities this is a five-year program. But co-op, junior college, and night-school options are also available.

Becoming a civil engineer is a lot of work. But if you like the idea of being part of big, complex projects that improve people's lives, it could just be the profession for you.

SNAPSHOT
Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, and water and sewage systems.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
MED
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Design energy-efficient or environmentally sound civil structures.

Conduct studies of traffic patterns or environmental conditions to identify engineering problems and assess potential project impact.

Prepare or present public reports on topics such as bid proposals, deeds, environmental impact statements, or property and right-of-way descriptions.

Direct or participate in surveying to lay out installations or establish reference points, grades, or elevations to guide construction.

Estimate quantities and cost of materials, equipment, or labor to determine project feasibility.

Direct engineering activities, ensuring compliance with environmental, safety, or other governmental regulations.

Test soils or materials to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations, concrete, asphalt, or steel.

Identify environmental risks and develop risk management strategies for civil engineering projects.

Plan and design transportation or hydraulic systems or structures, using computer-assisted design or drawing tools.

Compute load and grade requirements, water flow rates, or material stress factors to determine design specifications.

Inspect project sites to monitor progress and ensure conformance to design specifications and safety or sanitation standards.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Building and Construction Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
TOP SKILLS
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Operations Analysis Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Systems Analysis Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.