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.

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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.

structural engineer jobs
structural engineer jobs

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.


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:

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