Civil engineering is a rewarding choice of career for anyone interested in construction and renovation. A civil engineer will typically work with a range of industry professionals and be engaged in planning, designing and engineering a range of public building projects including bridges, stadiums and transportation hubs. Civil engineers have built many of the world’s great modern landmarks.
The following checklist is designed to help you satisfy the requirements for a career in civil engineering.
Civil engineers are expected to be able to review planning considerations, use computer software to analyse data and create blueprints using CAD, assess environmental impact, run risk assessments and manage every stage of the project’s development.
The working day is generally split between office-based work, ensuring a project meets legal requirements including health and safety standards and on-site work liaising with architects, surveyors and contractors.
There are several routes you can take into a career as a civil engineer. The most direct is to apply for a 3-year Bachelor of Engineering or 4-year Masters of Engineering course in civil engineering. You will typically need A-level maths and a science – usually physics but an Access to Higher Education or Level 3 Diploma in Engineering may be accepted.
You can also study part-time for an HNC/HND foundation degree leading to a civil engineering degree if you’re already working in the field – for example, if you’ve been working successfully in civil engineering technician jobs, this would be your particular route to a qualification. There are also degree apprenticeships available that allow you to gain valuable work experience as you study.
Training and Development
As a newly qualified graduate, you will usually start your career in a company training scheme. This will allow you to develop your business skills and technical knowledge. You can also work toward incorporated or chartered status by becoming part of the Institution of Civil Engineers professional body. Incorporated engineers specialise in day-to-day management, whilst chartered engineers have a more strategic role to play. Your predicted salary also increases when you become an incorporated or chartered engineer.
Skills and Talents
First and foremost, a successful civil engineer needs excellent maths, science and IT abilities. You will also need excellent data analysis skills and the communication skills to present design ideas clearly and effectively. You will need to work well within a team of industry professionals to manage projects and bring them in on budget and on time. Finally, you’ll need to be able to understand and work to all relevant legislation. If you’re more comfortable with the planning and design side, civil engineering technician jobs are available on completion of the relevant degree or apprenticeship.
If you can imagine yourself making a huge impact on the way the world runs and are interested in finding solutions to some of its most pressing problems, from clean drinking water to solving the problem of pollution, a civil engineering career may be the one for you.