what is a structural engineer?
As a structural engineer, you ensure that your construction projects will be safe and conform to relevant codes and regulations. You work through a range of factors, such as environmental stresses, the weights of the materials and how they impact the design, and even things like the impact of foot traffic on or in the structure. These variables are then accounted for in the final design and material choices.
You work with a range of professionals during the design and construction stages of the project. These include architects, other engineers, and construction workers later on in the project. The range of projects you work on can be vast but is largely determined by your employer's sector and specialities. For example, structural engineers working in the public sector tend to work on infrastructure projects like bridges and roads. On the other hand, structural engineers working for consultancy firms may see more work on buildings and private developments.
As a structural engineer, the safety of many people—thousands or hundreds of thousands in some cases—depends on your work, so your job is a crucially important part of designing and building new structures. It is also important to the success of a project from a financial standpoint, as your knowledge and expertise can often save money on materials.
Does the role of structural engineer sound like something you would enjoy? Keep reading to find out what competencies and qualifications will help you to thrive in this profession.find your next job
average salary of a structural engineer
According to Payscale, the average salary for a structural engineer in India is around ₹490,000 per year. This is over twice the average for an entry-level position, which is around ₹200,000 per year, and half the average salary of a more experienced structural engineer at around ₹10,00,000 per year. However, the salary of a structural engineer in India can be even higher for those with a wealth of experience. Structural engineers with over 20 years of experience can earn as much as ₹20,00,000 per year.
factors that affect structural engineer's pay
As mentioned above, experience is a significant factor in your earning potential. The difference in salary between someone taking an entry-level position and someone with two decades of experience can be as much as ₹18,00,000 per year.
Beyond your experience, the type of projects you work on is a major factor. Structural engineers who work on smaller projects will typically earn less than those who work on larger projects. A significant increase in responsibility is often associated with these earnings. A structural engineer working on a skyscraper will earn more money than one working on a small home. At the same time, many more people's safety will be at risk if the structural engineering work is not good enough.
types of structural engineer
Structural engineering is a single discipline, but there are many ways in which you can specialise within your field. Below are some of the most notable types of structural engineers:
- nautical structural engineer: working in this field, you help create the designs for maritime vessels, such as passenger and cargo vessels. You can also work on static structures like ocean platforms and docks.
- aeronautical structural engineer: in this role, you work on structures designed to withstand the stresses of airspeed and atmospheric pressure. That mostly means aeroplanes, but can also mean some ground-based structures.
- oil and gas structural engineer: as the name suggests, working as this type of structural engineer involves working on structures used for the acquisition, transportation, and storage of gas and oil. The role includes things like gas pipelines and oil rigs.
working as a structural engineer
Your role as a structural engineer involves the problems associated with translating architectural designs into feasible structures. Though you can specialise in a particular field or industry, the basic premise of your role remains the same. Common structural engineer duties and responsibilities are listed below.
duties and responsibilities
The specific duties of a structural engineer include:
- considering environmental hazards: before you can accurately assess the materials needed for a design, you factor in all the relevant environmental details. That includes everything from the force of the wind on the structure to the weight of any precipitation that would settle on it.
- creating technical designs: while the architects working on the project are responsible for the design visually, it is your responsibility to turn those designs into something practical. In some cases, this can just mean recreating the design in a more technical form that the construction teams can use to make the structure. It can also mean making changes to the design if necessary to ensure it is safe and legal.
- evaluating existing buildings: as a structural engineer, there are many reasons you may have to evaluate an existing building, such as in the event of a modification or extension. You may also be contracted to survey a building that is being valued for sale or considered for renovation.
- selecting appropriate building materials: when presented with new architectural designs, you do the necessary calculations and investigate which materials will be best for the task.
As a structural engineer, the majority of your work takes place in an office-based environment using computers and working with blueprints. You occasionally visit construction sites and other relevant locations when investigating a building or site.
who are your colleagues?
The specifics of your role will affect who your typical colleagues are. Structural engineers who create buildings work closely with architects and construction workers. Structural engineers working in aerospace or a nautical setting work with engineers from those fields.
Despite working closely with the construction industry in many cases, structural engineers enjoy a relatively stable schedule. Your hours are likely standard business hours of around 40 hours per week. Overtime is occasionally part of the role, including weekends and evenings. You also travel to work sites as part of your job, which may necessitate some travelling outside of standard business hours.
Structural engineers are in high demand, especially in India, where development throughout the country is on the rise. The job can provide plenty of variety to keep things from becoming stale as you constantly work on new projects. As you gain experience, your earning potential also rises significantly.
advantages of finding a structural engineer job through randstad
Finding your structural engineer job through Randstad provides important advantages such as:
- a wide variety of training and development opportunities
- an experienced contact person to provide help if needed
- a range of opportunities in your area
- get paid on a monthly basis
- temporary and permanent contracts
Want a permanent contract? A temporary job as a structural engineer is often a stepping stone to an attractive permanent job. Every year, thousands of people earn a permanent contract with great employers thanks to a temporary job found through Randstad. What's more, many companies recruit their permanent employees through Randstad too!
education and skills
Some of the academic qualifications for structural engineers include:
- bachelor's degree: to be considered for this role, you need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering or technology in civil engineering. Some employers may accept other related degrees.
- master's degree: once you have your bachelor's, you can pursue a master's degree in structural engineering.
skills and competencies
Some of the qualities of a structural engineer include:
- math and computer skills: you work with large numbers of variables and specialist software to handle them. From working with design software to running simulations for stress testing, your computer skills and aptitude for math are essential.
- problem-solving skills: you are one of the people responsible for bringing an idea into the real world. As such, you will encounter many problems in the process. Your problem-solving ability helps you find the best path through these problems.
- organisational skills: most of your work takes place during a project's planning stage, making organisational skills especially important. Working at the foundational end of a project, any scheduling issues can have drastic knock-on effects going forward.
FAQs about working as a structural engineer
Here are some common questions about working as a structural engineer:
how much does a structural engineer earn in India?
The average structural engineer's salary in India is around ₹490,000 per year. Your actual salary will depend mostly on your experience.
is structural engineering a good career?
Being a structural engineer is a good career for anyone who enjoys the work. The job carries plenty of variety as you work on many projects, and you have plenty of earning potential as you gain experience.
how much do structural engineers charge in India?
Structural engineers typically charge a fee that equates to 0.5% of the structural costs of the project they are working on.
how can I become a structural engineer in India?
If you wish to become a structural engineer in India, you need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a bachelor's in technology in civil or mechanical engineering, followed by a master's degree in structural engineering.
how do I apply for a structural engineer vacancy?
Applying for a structural engineer job is easy: create a Randstad profile and search our job offers for vacancies in your area. Then simply send us your CV and cover letter. Need help with your application? Check out all our job search tips here!