Civil engineering, field of engineering sciences related to design, construction and maintenance of buildings, dams, bridges, tunnels, highways and other structures. It makes use of physical laws, mathematical equations and theories of mechanics. Civil Engineers utilize the available resources (expertise, materials, manpower) to complete the project in the given time span keeping in view the time, expenditure, environmental issues and physical hazards of the project. Also known as the mother of all engineering, it is the oldest, broadest, most simple and useful of all engineering sciences.
Geotechnical engineering is required in all aspects of civil engineering, because most projects are supported by the ground. As a geotechnical engineer, one might develop projects below ground, such as tunnels, foundations, and offshore platforms. A Civil Engineer analyzes the properties of soil and rock that support and affect the behavior of these structures. He may evaluate the potential settlements of buildings, the stability of slopes and fills, seepage of ground water and the effects of earthquakes. He investigates the rocks and soils at a project site and determines the best way to support a structure in the ground. He may also take part in the design and construction of dams, embankments, and retaining walls.
As a structural engineer, a civil engineer faces the challenge of designing structures that support their own weight and the loads they carry, resist wind, temperature, earthquake, and many other forces. Bridges, buildings, offshore structures, space platforms, amusement park rides, and many other kinds of projects are included within this exciting discipline. You will develop the appropriate combination of steel, concrete, timber, plastic, and new exotic materials. You will do the planning and design, as well as visit the project site to make sure the work is done properly.
Because the quality of a community is directly related to the quality of its transportation system, a civil engineer role as a transportation engineer will be to move people, goods, and materials safely and efficiently. His challenge will be to find ways to meet the ever-increasing travel needs on land, air, and sea. He will design, construct, and maintain all types of transportation facilities, including highways, railroads, airfields, and ports. An important part of transportation engineering is to upgrade transportation capability by improving traffic control and mass transit systems, and by introducing high-speed trains, people movers, and other new transportation methods.
Water is essential to our lives, and as a water resources engineer, a civil engineer deals with issues concerning the quality and quantity of water. He works to prevent floods, to supply water to cities, industry, and irrigation, to treat wastewater, to protect beaches, or to manage and redirect rivers. He might be involved in the design, construction, or maintenance of hydroelectric power facilities, canals, dams, pipelines, pumping stations, locks, or seaport facilities.
The skills of environmental engineers are becoming increasingly important as we attempt to protect the fragile resources of our planet. Environmental engineers translate physical, chemical, and biological processes into systems to destroy toxic substances, remove pollutants from water, reduce non-hazardous solid waste volumes, eliminate contamination from the air, and develop groundwater supplies. In this field, a civil engineer may be called upon to resolve issues of providing safe drinking water, cleaning up sites contaminated with hazardous materials, disposing of wastewater, and managing solid wastes.
The construction phase of a project represents the first tangible result of design. Using his technical and management skills, a civil engineer will turn designs into reality – on time and within budget. He will apply his knowledge of construction methods and equipment, along with the principles of financing, planning, and managing, to turn the designs of other engineers into successful projects.
As a professional in this area, a civil engineer will be concerned with the entire development of a community. Analyzing a variety of information will help him coordinate projects, such as projecting street patters, identifying park and recreation areas, and determining areas for industrial and residential growth. To ensure your ready access to community, coordination with other authorities may be required to integrate freeways, airports, and other related facilities. Successful coordination of a project will require him to be people-oriented as well as technically knowledgeable.
Civil Engineering requires practical application of science but also requires following attributes in an individual. They are:
A civil engineer is concerned with planning, analysis, design, construction and maintenance of a variety of facilities such as buildings, highways and railways, airports, waterways and canals, dams and power houses, water treatment and waste water disposal systems, environmental quality control, docks and harbors, bridges and tunnels.
A civil engineer is also required to deal with critical problems of today such as disaster mitigation and management, constructing offshore structures for oil production, flood forecasting and flood control, traffic congestion, transportation planning, use of non-conventional energy resources, for example, wind, tides, waves, etc.
The breadth and diversity of the civil engineering profession make it particularly attractive. Computer Aided Design (CAD) and software development for various civil engineering facilities have become integral parts of civil engineering profession.
The employment opportunities are immense for a graduate in civil engineering. They can find jobs in:
Opportunities for civil engineers exist in the public as well as private sectors in large numbers in all branches of design, construction and maintenance and infrastructure development in both India and abroad.
These opportunities are going to stay for next few decades. Scope of civil engineers lies with many developing countries in Middle East, Africa, and Asia where infrastructure development is picking up and Indian engineers are in great demand. Civil Engineers can find job in Government departments, private and public sector industries, research and teaching institutions etc.
Job opportunities for civil engineers are expected to increase as fast as the average for all jobs, although the construction industry is vulnerable to fluctuations in the economy. Civil engineers will always be needed to maintain and repair existing facilities and structures and to construct new ones.
Civil engineers are employed in all the major construction projects carried out by the state or central government, the railways, private construction companies, military, engineering services, consultancy services etc. Civil engineering graduates can also go in for research and take up teaching or they can open their own independent consultancy services.