Do you want to design buildings that reach towards the sky? Produce a network of roads, bridges and railways that an entire city of people can depend on? Plan and oversee the implementation a tunnel that runs through a mountain? What Pete wants to know is…do you want be a civil engineer?
Of course you do – and I must commend you for it. You see, you’re already well-ahead the curve. Most people entering college have absolutely no idea about what they’d like to do after graduation. You, on the other hand, have not only found decided you want to become an engineer, but you’ve also chosen a specific field of engineering!
Yes, right now you’re leading the pack, but did you know that just as there are many different types of engineers, there are also many different types of civil engineers? Yep, it’s true. Luckily for you, I’ve been hanging around a university that specializes in engineering my whole life, so I know a thing or two about this civil engineering stuff.
I’m talking about careers like structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, hydraulic engineers, transportation engineers – all of these are branches of the civil engineering tree. So let’s get into it: What can you do with a civil engineering degree?
The most well-known form of civil engineering is structural engineering. When you hear someone say “civil engineering,” this is probably what you’re picturing in your head. Structural engineering is the career where you actually get to see those buildings and bridges you’re constantly doodling on the side of your homework papers come to life. What makes this occupation so special? Well, how many other jobs can you think of where you get to put your mathematic/scientific brilliance on display through the scope of your own artistic form – all for the betterment of the general public?
In a way, geotechnical engineers go hand-in-hand with structural engineers. A geotechnical engineer is someone who dedicates their skills and experience in civil engineering towards maintaining the earth’s physical environment as more structures are built. Basically, these are the guys who come in to survey the site before any construction can be started. In addition to a strong background in engineering, one must possess consistently accurate calculations and analytical skills.
Hydraulic engineering is defined as a sub-division of civil engineering dealing with the movement of liquids, namely water and sewage. Dams, canals, channels, levees – the design, creation and maintaining of all these things falls under the job of a hydraulic engineer.
Last, but not definitely not least (I mean, you interact with it every day) is transportation engineering. Sure, transportation engineers design and maintain roads, railways airfields and naval ports, but that’s not all. A transportation engineer is also constantly tasked with researching new ways to improve traffic control, develop new methods of transportation and find new ways to improve mass transportation.
As you can see, civil engineering is not any one career, but rather a family of jobs all working towards one common goal. No need to be overwhelmed with all the different options out there. After all, you’re just beginning your college career and have a bunch of time to answer the question, “what can you do with a civil engineering degree,” for yourself.
Pete the Panther
Chief Motivating Officer