Job Profile: Civil Engineer
How much do you know about careers in Construction? To me they would mean building things and working on a building site, but then I also know I’d be wrong – and the Construction guys would kill me! Thankfully, I do have some info to bring you about job roles. So without further ado…
A civil engineer plans, designs and manages construction projects. They work on anything from buildings, dams and pipelines to roads, airports and water supply networks.
Civil engineers are the technical experts behind all the buildings and structures we see around us, so they need to be interested in designing and building things. They can choose to specialise in a particular area, such as structural, transportation, environmental, maritime or geotechnical.
A civil engineer works both in the office and on site. They spend their day:
- Using computer modelling software to analyse data
- Creating blueprints
- Deciding if projects are feasible
- Looking at environmental impact and risk
- Preparing bids
- Managing projects
Graduate civil engineer is usually a title given to civil engineer’s first job out of university. They will have typically completed an undergraduate or master’s degree in civil engineering. As a graduate civil engineer your job will likely be a combination of office and on-site, and common daily tasks can include:
- Assisting with site investigations
- Developing detailed designs
- Assessing the potential risks of specific projects
- Communicating and liaising effectively with colleagues and architects, subcontractors, contracting civil engineers, consultants, co-workers and clients
- Thinking both creatively and logically to resolve design and development problems
- Managing budgets and other project resources
- Managing change, as the client may change his or her mind about the design
- Ensuring relevant parties are notified of changes in the project
- Attending public meetings to discuss projects, especially in a senior role
After perhaps ten years working as a Civil Engineer, you could become a Senior or even a Principal Engineer. These roles normally require Chartership with the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) and are amongst the most senior jobs available in Civil Engineering, and will require you to specialise – which can include areas such as:
- Structural (dams, buildings, offshore platforms and pipelines)
- Transportation (roads, railways, canals and airports)
- Environmental (water supply, drainage and flood barriers)
- Maritime (ports, harbours and sea defenses)
- Geotechnical (mining, earthworks and construction foundations)
- Newly trained civil engineer’s can earn in the region of £20,000 – £40,000
- Trained with experience civil engineer’s can earn in the region of £40,000 – £60,000
- Senior, chartered or master civil engineer’s can earn in the region of £60,000 – £80,000
Salaries typically range depending on location and level of responsibility. Salaries and career options improve with chartered status.
You usually need a three year Bachelor of Engineering degree of four year Masters degree in civil engineering. If you want to become an incorporated or chartered engineer, these qualifications are important. You could also study other engineering related subjects but it may take you longer to fully qualify.
If you already work in the industry as a technician, you could qualify as a civil engineer by studying part time for a BTEC HNC/HND, foundation degree or degree in civil engineering or through a degree apprenticeship.
As a civil engineer, you can also become Chartered. Becoming Chartered means you have proved that you are highly experienced and skilled at doing your job. It is comparable to a bachelor’s degree and is recognised all over the world.
Will there be jobs?
The UK construction industry will need an additional 1,270 civil engineers to meet demand every year from 2016 until 2020, according to the latest Construction Skills Network research (LMI). The majority of this demand will be in Greater London followed equally by East of England, North West and Scotland.
These skills are useful in this job – you might have them already or you can develop them over your career:
- Ability to learn and adapt to changing situations
- Attention to detail
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Following instructions/procedures/completing tasks
- Hand-eye coordination
- Health and safety
- Listening skills
- Measuring skills
- Problem solving
- Self-motivation and ability to work independently
- Spatial awareness
- Using your initiative
- Time management/working to deadlines