what is a civil engineer?

Civil engineers are professionals who design, build, and maintain infrastructure such as roads, bridges, buildings, airports, and water and sewage systems. In this role, you use your knowledge of mathematics, physics, and materials science to create structures and systems that are safe, efficient, and sustainable, as they will be relied on by many people every day.

As a civil engineer, you have a range of responsibilities. You work as part of a planning and design team to incorporate factors such as location, purpose, and budget. You consider the strength and durability of materials, the environmental impact of construction, and the safety of the people who will use the finished structure. You use computer software to create detailed designs and models. You work closely with other engineers and architects to ensure the project meets all the necessary regulations and standards.

Civil engineering is a challenging and rewarding field that requires a combination of technical knowledge, problem-solving skills, and creativity. If this sounds like something that appeals to you, keep reading to find out what skills and competencies will help you thrive in this profession.

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average salary of a civil engineer

According to Payscale, the average salary of a civil engineer is ₹312,750 per year. This average is central to the overall pay range for civil engineers. At the lower end of the scale, entry-level positions earn around ₹159,000 per year, whereas the highest paying examples in this field can be closer to ₹790,000 per year. The most experienced civil engineers can earn as much as ₹20,00,000. The amount you earn can also be affected by bonuses and commissions.

factors that affect civil engineer's pay

Education and experience are typically the biggest factors affecting your potential earnings as a civil engineer. Higher levels of education—such as a master's degree or PhD—or extensive work experience will usually enable you to command higher salaries. Many employers also offer salary increases for civil engineers who obtain professional certifications.

The industry you work in can have a significant impact on your earning potential, also. For example, civil engineers in the oil and gas sector tend to earn higher salaries than those in the public sector. Your location also plays a role, as civil engineers working in urban areas with a high demand for their skills tend to earn more than those working in rural or less populated areas.

Finally, your specific responsibilities can also affect your salary. In most situations, these will correspond directly to your level of experience.

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types of civil engineer

There are many areas of civil engineering in which you can specialise. Each area has a specific range of responsibilities and goals. Here are some of the most common types of civil engineers:

  • structural engineers: as a structural engineer, you design and analyse the structural components of buildings, bridges, and other construction projects to ensure they are strong, stable, and safe for the people who use them.
  • transportation engineers: in this role, you design and maintain transportation systems, including roads and airports. You consider factors such as traffic flow, safety, and environmental impact when planning and designing these systems.
  • water resource engineers: as a water resource engineer, you design and maintain water and wastewater systems, such as dams, reservoirs, and water treatment plants. You also work to address issues such as water scarcity and pollution.
  • construction engineers: you manage the construction of buildings, roads, and other infrastructure projects. You work with architects, contractors, and other engineers to ensure that projects are completed on time and on budget.
  • environmental engineers: as an environmental engineer, you work to minimise the impact of human activity on the environment. This includes designing and implementing systems to manage waste, reduce pollution, and protect natural resources. Sustainability is an increasingly important aspect of civil engineering.

working as a civil engineer

Working as a civil engineer requires a good command of mathematical principles as they apply to construction, as well as an ability to consider a wide range of variables during the planning phase of a project.


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications for civil engineers include:

  • 12 standard education: becoming a civil engineer requires a degree or diploma, which in turn requires a 10+2 from a recognised institute or college. This should include 50% marks in mathematics, physics, and chemistry/biology.
  • bachelor's degree: a bachelor's degree in civil engineering is a four-year course and should be considered a minimum requirement for entering this profession.
  • additional certifications: civil engineers who decide to specialise in certain areas may choose to pursue additional qualifications related to those specialisations. This step is not essential for becoming a civil engineer but can increase your earning potential.

civil engineer skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a civil engineer include:

  • maths skills: much of your work in this profession relies on advanced mathematical principles. You analyse and perform complex calculations to ensure that the final product is structurally sound.
  • problem-solving skills: a significant part of your job is to find solutions to the many problems that inevitably arise when working on civil engineering projects. You use your problem-solving skills to find the best solutions to issues relating to structural problems, regulatory issues, and a host of other potential matters.
  • decision-making skills: throughout the course of a project, you make many decisions as new issues arise. There are many steps to civil engineering projects, and each step has its own set of decisions to consider.
  • interpersonal skills: your job involves working with a range of people from different professions, and the nature of engineering work means you may work with new people on every project. For this reason, good interpersonal skills are essential in ensuring your projects run smoothly.

FAQs about working as a civil engineer

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a civil engineer.

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