Civil engineering is arguably the oldest engineering discipline. It deals with the built environment and can be dated to the first time someone placed a roof over his or her head or laid a tree trunk across a river to make it easier to get across.
Civil engineering is the broadest of the engineering fields. Civil engineering focuses on the infrastructure of the world which include Water works, Sewers, Dams, Power Plants, Transmission Towers/Lines, Railroads, Highways, Bridges, Tunnels, Irrigation Canals, River Navigation, Shipping Canals, Traffic Control, Mass Transit, Airport Runways, Terminals, Industrial Plant Buildings, Skyscrapers, etc. Among the important subdivisions of the field are construction engineering, irrigation engineering, transportation engineering, soils and foundation engineering, geodetic engineering, hydraulic engineering, and coastal and ocean engineering.
Civil engineers build the world’s infrastructure. In doing so, they quietly shape the history of nations around the world. Most people cannot imagine life without the many contributions of civil engineers to the public’s health, safety and standard of living. Only by exploring civil engineering’s influence in shaping the world we know today, can we creatively envision the progress of our tomorrows.
Civil engineering is an exciting profession because at the end of the day you can see the results of your work, whether this is a completed bridge, a high-rise building, a subway station, or a hydroelectric dam Duties
Civil engineers typically do the following:
- Analyze survey reports, maps, and other data to plan projects
Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors in planning stages and risk analysis
- Compile and submit permit applications to local, state, and federal agencies verifying that projects comply with various regulations
- Perform or oversee soil testing to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations
- Test building materials, such as concrete, asphalt, or steel, for use in particular projects
- Provide cost estimates for materials, equipment, or labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility
- Use design software to plan and design transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures in line with industry and government standards
- Perform or oversee, surveying operations to establish reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction
- Present their findings to the public on topics such as bid proposals, environmental impact statements, or property descriptions
- Manage the repair, maintenance, and replacement of public and private infrastructure
- Many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions ranging from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer. Others work in design, construction, research, and teaching. Civil engineers work with others on projects and may be assisted by civil engineering technicians.
The federal government employs civil engineers to do many of the same things done in private industry, except that the federally employed civil engineers may also inspect projects to be sure that they comply with regulations.
Civil engineers work on complex projects, so they usually specialize in one of several areas.
Construction engineers manage construction projects, ensuring that they are scheduled and built in accordance with the plans and specifications. They are typically responsible for design and safety of temporary structures used during construction.
Geotechnical engineers work to make sure that foundations are solid. They focus on how structures built by civil engineers, such as buildings and tunnels, interact with the earth (including soil and rock). In addition, they design and plan for slopes, retaining walls, and tunnels.
Structural engineers design and assess major projects, such as buildings, bridges, or dams, to ensure their strength and durability.
Transportation engineers plan, design, operate, and maintain everyday systems, such as streets and highways, but they also plan larger projects, such as airports, ports, mass transit systems, and harbors.