Civil Engineer Job Description
Civil engineering is about shaping the world and civil engineers work on some of the biggest and most high profile projects in society. From building new roads, railways, airports, sports stadiums, ports or off-shore oil platforms, a civil engineer will be involved from start to finish on these large scale projects. These projects can usually be multi-million or even multi-billion pound programmes so the pressure is on to make sure they are delivered on time and within budget.
Benefits of Being a Civil Engineer
Being a civil engineer is an exciting career choice. From early on in the career civil engineers are provided responsibility for certain aspects of a project. Furthermore, no two days in this job are the same. One day you could be in the office working on CAD designs then the following day you could be dealing with contractors, physically constructing work or undertaking site surveys. Other benefits include:
- Competitive salaries
- Opportunities for travel
- Benefits packages
- Opportunities for self-employment
- Opportunities to work on a variety of projects and build a portfolio of work
How Do You Get Into Civil Engineering?
Civil engineers would usually enter the industry from University with a degree qualification in Engineering or Civil Engineering. Although there are alternative entry routes through vocational courses, the degree is preferable for anyone who wishes to undertake further professional development later on in their careers.
For further information on entry routes via professional courses, it is worth checking the individual company websites for up to date requirements. Entry requirements for the degree programme and vocational courses may differ between institutions and companies but typical requirements are 5 GCSEs at grade A-C.
Civil Engineer Roles and Responsibilities
Look at all the great structures around you, some civil engineers built these. Through history, there have been some memorable civil engineers in different job sectors.
Thomas Telford, over time he constructed highways, over 1,000 of them and was known as the “colossus of roads”, and, Mary Fergusson was named the first UK woman in civil engineering to create medical x-ray equipment.
No two days are the same for these engineers or any civil engineers. There are certain tasks which civil engineers regularly undertake, which can include:
- Designing structures using CAD and other software
- Computing requirements
- Undertaking feasibility studies for new projects
- Directing maintenance
- Working with a team to develop a project plan and critical path analysis
- Risk assessment and analysing environmental impacts
- Bid preparation for large tenders
- Estimating quantities and costs
- Project Management and overseeing the project build
- Dealing with a wide range of suppliers and construction agents
- Providing technical advice
- Conducting studies and modifying structures
For an excellent overview of some of the different aspects of the civil engineer job role take a look at this video from the American Society of Civil Engineers below
A Civil Engineers Working Environment
The typical work environment of a civil engineer will vary from day to day. Large contracting firms may have headquarters and regional offices where staffs work however much of the civil engineers time will be spent in an outside environment.
The types of project that civil engineers will usually work on include:
- Transport - such as new roads, airports, train lines or waterways
- Structural - projects such as bridges, dams and pipelines
- Maritime programmes - such as ports and sea defences
- Geotechnical projects – such as mines and foundations
- Environmental programmes – such as water supply
With this diverse range of projects, civil engineers will often work on location, being on site to ensure projects are running smoothly.
What Are The Working Hours of a Civil Engineer?
Although most civil engineering job roles may be advertised for a standard 37.5-hour working week from Monday to Friday 9 am until 5:30pm, the reality can often be much different.
Projects often work around the clock and civil engineers may be required to work out of hours at evenings or weekends.
As many projects run to strict deadlines civil engineers may often be required to work extra hours as projects come towards their end, meaning late nights and weekends.
What is the Civil Engineer salary?
Median salaries in the sector on a full-time basis are in the region of £39k per annum, this would equate to a monthly take-home pay in the region of £2467 after tax and national insurance contributions.
A typical graduate starting salary in the field would vary in the region of £23k-£27k per annum. At the top of the pay scales, senior civil engineers with managerial responsibilities can often command salaries in the region of £50k and beyond.
Career Prospects for a Civil Engineer
Experience and the right qualifications can help to achieve the necessary promotions in civil engineering. The Institution of Civil Engineering and Engineering Council can both provide opportunities to gain chartered qualifications. After that further skills in leadership, project management and specialist design can help to progress the career and earnings potential further.
If you are searching for a new career path that offers diversity, creativity, enables you to find solutions and build constructions like the Great Wall of China then civil engineering is for you.