What is Civil Engineering?
Civil engineering is about solving real world problems through design and construction. Civil engineering is a broad discipline that spans many different areas but as a whole, is a profession dedicated to creating physical manmade structures. From small scale home builds to a skyscraper or bridge, civil engineering helps make sense of how best to design, create and maintain the built-up environment.
It has and always will be, a vital profession for human societies around the world.
Why is Civil Engineering Important?
Civil engineering is steeped in ancient tradition and stems from early human settlers who built out the first cities. This ability to understand how to create shelter and other useful structures was paramount in allowing humans to develop and progress. In more recent years, civil engineering has been at the forefront of innovation in our societies and providing real life solutions to problems and issues that humans face on a daily basis.
Civil engineering tackles problems head on and aims to offer better solutions through design and construction. A clean water and sewage supply system could completely change life in a developing country but requires experts such as civil engineers to help create such a structure. In London, Victorian engineers saved the city from cholera by constructing sewers. This passion for problem solving has been the heartbeat of civil engineering since humans started to settle.
Coastal civil engineering is not just about constructions near the coast, it heavily impacts a country’s flood defences and can be the difference between successfully deflecting potential damage or a town being completely submerged by flood water.
From humanitarian solutions to commercial construction, civil engineering offers a wide range of specific jobs but they all are focused on problem solving and creating solutions for the people in that area.
As human societies change, the needs and requirements of civil engineering will change. With societies so heavily reliant on technology and communication, protecting these infrastructures will be down to civil engineers.
What’s it like to work as a Civil Engineer?
There are many different types of civil engineers. Some engineers adopt more focus on design and consultancy whereby their days are dedicated to creating designs and solutions for clients from an office. Meanwhile, others prefer to be more involved and like to be on-site managing contractors and builders to help bring the vision to life.
Regardless of the sub-discipline of civil engineering, the work will always include using science and maths alongside creative design and ideas to help solve real world problems. It requires someone who can understand the bigger picture but can provide the most detailed focus on a particular issue or area.
Civil engineers will often work alongside a number of other professions so it is likely an average day will include liaising with other professions.
As civil engineers become a vital part of creating, adapting or maintaining a built-up area, they are needed to help develop plans and strategies for the future of a city and town. This may include working within the public sector or in the private sector.
You may even want to set up your own engineering firm after some years of experience.
How to Become a Civil Engineer
Civil engineering does require formal training and education. This is likely to be different around the world, but in the UK, the journey would usually start at university taking an accredited civil engineering course. This means it is supported by the governing body, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).
You can also often take on an apprenticeship and work your way up to higher positions. This is often great for people who want practical experience of a job and learn if it’s a career for them.
Many people look for career changes or don’t know what they want to do when studying at university so in that case, you’d just need to find the best way to become an accredited engineer. This may depend on your personal experience and knowledge.
Once you’ve got some qualifications and education behind you, a civil engineer will usually start working for a firm and start working towards becoming a chartered (CEng), incorporated engineer (IEng) or engineering technician (EngTech).
Civil Engineer Requirements
Once you’ve got the relevant qualifications, there are lots of possible routes to go down with civil engineering. A strong love for maths and problem solving would be a requirement to ensure you’ll enjoy the work you do but other than that, it is a career path that allows you to pick a more specific area that interests you.
If you want to become a certain type of engineer, such as transport or coastal, then spending time learning about that specific industry and the problems they face will help you provide more value and progress quicker.
Civil Engineer Salary
Graduates can expect a salary somewhere around £24,000. This can vary depending on the type of company you are working for. Often larger, international firms will pay higher. Within a few years of experience, this is likely to increase to around £30,000.
Once you become a member of the ICE, you can expect around £50,000 and the average basic salary of a ICE fellow is £81,000.
As a career, it is certainly financially rewarding with lots of opportunities to earn more as you progress.
There are lots of sub-disciplines and specialities within civil engineering. These cover specific needs of society. From environmental engineering to transportation engineering, these sub-disciplines help engineers focus on one particular area.
This also allows civil engineers to become an expert in one area rather than a generalist. This can speed up the journey to become a manager and more senior member of the team.
Trends and Developments in Civil Engineering
The trends and developments in civil engineering are closely linked with our understanding of mathematics and physics. As new technologies and theories allow us to expand our knowledge on these topics, it allows us to push the boundaries in disciplines like civil engineering. It is also closely linked with our knowledge of sub-disciplines, for example, our understanding of the coastal environment will influence coastal engineering.
The advances in big data and computer technology is likely to drive the trends in civil engineering. Being able to utilise this kind of data will make it much easier to understand real world patterns and human behaviours that might influence how a civil engineer approaches a certain design. The ability to share data and information from around the world means civil engineering is likely to become more connected and firms/governments can access specialists from anywhere in the world. This may mean certain engineers who know a topic very well, have the opportunity to work remotely for more projects.
Environmental engineering and the ability to combat climate change and environmental change around the world is also likely to be a continuously important area of engineering. From local flood defences to protecting vulnerable communities against cyclones, engineers are likely to get more involved in environmental issues around the world.
BMR Solutions and Civil Engineering
If you’re looking for a career in civil engineering or if you’re looking for the best civil engineers to grow your business, then BMR Solutions can help.
Get in contact today and speak with one of our experts who can help match the perfect candidate with the perfect employer.