Civil engineers create, improve and protect the environment in which we live. They plan, design and oversee construction and maintenance of building structures and infrastructure, such as roads, railways, airports, bridges, harbours, dams, irrigation projects, power plants, and water and sewerage systems. They also design and build tall buildings and large structures that can withstand all weather conditions.
Generally, civil engineers fall into two types: consulting engineers and contracting engineers. Consultants are responsible for the design work of projects and work predominantly in an office. Contractors then take the designs and implement them during construction. Contractors work on site, managing the construction of the structure.
Key skills for civil engineers
Employers seek graduates who are commercially aware and capable of working well within a team environment. Other key skills include:
- sound mathematical, scientific and IT skills
- the ability to think methodically and to manage projects
- problem-solving skills
- ability to work to deadlines and within budgets
- ability to maintain an overview of entire projects while continuing to attend to detailed technicalities
- excellent verbal and written communication skills
- negotiating, supervisory and leadership skills
- complete knowledge of relevant legislation.
Years of experience