At SchoolSphero Team
Civil Engineering is a rewarding career option

The importance of a civil engineer's job should never be underestimated. Without them, we wouldn't have the infrastructure that we do to function as a large society.

In this blog post, we'll take a look at exactly what civil engineering is and what civil engineers do.

What is civil engineering?

Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline. It deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and natural built environment. Civil engineers are responsible for some of the most impressive structures in the world. It's a diverse field, with specialties that include environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, and water resources engineering.

Over the millennia since civil engineering was developed, civil engineers have been responsible for countless remarkable feats of engineering, from the Great Wall of China to the Panama Canal.

Today, civil engineering is more important than ever. With the world’s population continuing to grow and urbanization increasing, there is a greater need than ever for efficient and sustainable infrastructure. Civil engineers are at the forefront of this challenge, using their skills to design and build the infrastructure that will support the future.

A birds-eye view of a civil engineer working at a desk containing blueprints and other construction tools..

What do civil engineers do?

Civil engineers are responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure projects and systems. This can include everything from bridges and highways to water treatment plants and sewer systems. Civil engineers must consider many factors when designing a project, such as safety, cost, utility, and aesthetics.

Safety: Civil engineers must ensure that their designs are safe for the public. They must take into account the loads that the structure will be subjected to, such as wind, snow, and earthquakes. The structure must be able to support these loads without collapsing.

Cost: Infrastructure projects can be very expensive. Civil engineers must find ways to minimize costs while still meeting all the other design criteria.

Utility: The infrastructure must be functional and meet the needs of the people using it. For example, a bridge must be able to support the weight of the traffic that will cross it.

Aesthetics: Infrastructure projects can have a significant impact on the appearance of an area. Aesthetics are often an important consideration in the design of bridges and other structures.

They also must take into account the impact of the project on the environment and the surrounding community. 

Civil engineers use a variety of tools to help them in their work. These include computer-aided design (CAD) software, which is used to create models of proposed projects. Civil engineers also use geographic information systems (GIS) to collect and analyze data about the land where a project will be built.

Civil engineering is a demanding profession, but it can also be very rewarding. It provides an opportunity to use your creativity and technical skills to improve the world around us.

5 Types of Civil Engineers

There are many different types of civil engineers, each specializing in a particular area of expertise. Some of the more common types include:

  1. Structural engineers: Structural engineers are responsible for the design and analysis of structures, such as buildings, bridges, and dams.
  2. Geotechnical engineers: Geotechnical engineers study the behavior of earth materials, such as soil and rock. They use this knowledge to design foundations for structures and to help with the construction of tunnels and other underground projects.
  3. Water resources engineers: Water resources engineers work on projects related to water, such as irrigation systems, flood control systems, and drinking water treatment plants.
  4. Environmental engineers: Environmental engineers work on projects that protect the environment, such as sewage treatment plants and solid waste disposal facilities.
  5. Transportation engineers: Transportation engineers are responsible for the planning and design of transportation systems, such as highways and mass transit systems.

Each type of civil engineer has a different set of skills and knowledge. However, all civil engineers share some common core skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, strong communication abilities, and other 21st century skills. These skills are essential for success in any area of civil engineering.

Two civil engineers surveying a construction site.

How to Become a Civil Engineer: 5 Steps to Take

In order to become a civil engineer, you will need to first earn a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from an accredited engineering program.

Step 1: Get a bachelor's degree in civil engineering:

The first step to becoming a civil engineer is to earn a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from an accredited engineering program. There are many different types of engineering programs, but all accredited programs will prepare you for a career as a civil engineer.

Step 2: Complete a civil engineering internship:

While you are completing your engineering degree, you should also consider completing an internship. Internships provide valuable experience that can help you in your career. This is important because many civil engineering jobs require experience.

Step 3: Choose a specialty:

After you have earned your degree, you may want to consider specializing in a particular area of civil engineering. There are many different types of civil engineering jobs, so there is sure to be a job that is a good fit for you.

Step 4: Pass the FE exam:

After you have earned your degree, you will need to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. The FE exam is the first step to becoming a licensed professional engineer (PE).

Step 5: Pass the PE exam:

After you have passed the FE exam, you will need to pass the Professional Engineer (PE) exam. 

Step 5: Earn a master's degree:

While it is not required, many civil engineers choose to earn a master's degree in civil engineering or a related field. A master's degree can give you the advanced knowledge and skills that are needed for some jobs, such as management positions.

There are many different paths that you can take as a civil engineer. You can work in the public sector, private industry, or academia.

Conclusion: Civil Engineering

A job as a civil engineer can be extremely rewarding. It is a career that offers a lot of variety. If you are interested in a career in civil engineering, be sure to research the different types of jobs that are available.

Get a Head Start on Civil Engineering with Sphero

A group of students building prototypes with Sphero Blueprint.

Get a head start on your civil engineering degree with Sphero. We transform the way kids PK–12 learn with a fun, comprehensive approach to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) and computer science.

To find out more about how Sphero can jumpstart your career in civil engineering, contact our team.
At school