Civil engineers are tasked to make the environment more amendable for humans while maintaining and improving its integrity. A civil engineer creates plans and designs for construction of various types of structures and may oversee the execution of the plans. Civil engineers are involved in planning and building all manner of infrastructure such as power plants, harbours, bridges, railroads, roadways, airports and more. They also help with large structures such as skyscrapers.
To carry out these tasks, a civil engineer must be able to determine how feasible a project is. This takes quite a bit of computer knowledge and quite a bit of patience as some of the planning is complicated and repetitious. Once the plans are complete, the civil engineer must plan the work and order materials. In addition to these hard skills, civil engineers must have good soft skills (people skills) to work with everyone involved from initial investors to builders. It may be up to the civil engineer to see that the job is completed in a timely and efficient manner.
A civil engineer may be employed by a civil engineering consultant or contractor. Alternately, railways and government agencies (federal, state and local) may employ a civil engineer. After a number of years of experience with a firm or government agency, promotion to a senior engineer position or self-employment is a possible option for advancement.
People interested in becoming civil engineers must have excellent technical and math skills along with good planning and organization skills. Attention to details as well as comprehension of the big picture are necessary.
- Manage and direct staff at the project site.
- Perform engineering duties such as plan, design, oversee the construction, maintenance of buildings, bridges and other structures.
- Research and analyse maps, blueprints, photos, charts and other data to plan projects.
- Gather information to prepare and present reports on project topics.
They must pursue and successfully attain masters of engineering degree in structural or civil engineering. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) will then provide accreditation for the degree.
Alternately, people who wish to become civil engineers can pursue vocational training for a minimum of four years under the supervision of an employer who is accredited by the ICE. There are quite a few accredited employers who will sponsor hopeful civil engineers and provide vocation assignments and placements. This is an excellent hands-on option that provides education, experience and helps the learner gain industry contacts.
The pay package of a civil engineer is in the range of AUD$49,221 – AUD$117,499 and the median pay being AUD$72,862.