Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like bridges, roads, canals, dams, and buildings.
There is a great deal of responsibility involved in becoming a civil engineer and as a result, in order to begin a career in this field it’s generally accepted that you would hold a degree in civil engineering or a related subject.
Alongside your academic degree, you may also need to undertake a certification or licence through your country’s professional body for civil engineers. The Engineering Council UK is the regulatory authority for registration of professional engineers in the United Kingdom.
Skills and Knowledge
In addition to the qualifications mentioned above, employers also look for people with the following skills:
- Excellent problem solving skills – you will come across numerous problems throughout every project – it is important to be able to minimise the impact of these and find a way to resolve the issue.
- Good communication – it is important to be able to communicate with a wide range of people from architects to project managers to construction teams.
- Interest and expertise in maths & dealing with equations – this is a large part of working as a civil engineer so it’s important to like maths as well as understand it!
- Having a “big picture" mentality – being able to see the full scale of the project and analyse all the external factors as well as the immediate, more obvious ones.
- Organisation and keeping to deadlines – in civil engineering time keeping is essential – overrunning can cause budgets to skyrocket and cause disruption to the public.
Typical work activities
- Applying health and safety regulations
- briefing people on the project
- liaising with the other teams (i. e. construction workers, designers, architects etc)
- Make sure that the project is on schedule.
In some fields and firms, entry-level engineers are put to work primarily monitoring construction in the field, serving as the “eyes and ears" of senior design engineers; while in other areas, entry-level engineers perform the more routine tasks of analysis or design and interpretation. Experienced engineers generally do more complex analysis or design work, or management of more complex design projects, of other engineers, or move into specialized consulting, such as forensic engineering.
Salary and benefits
- Starting out your career in civil engineering you can expect a salary of around £26,500
- The average salary in civil engineering is £42,500; this is up 6% on the same period last year.