Everything You Need to Know About Civil Engineering

What is Civil Engineering? A challenging, rewarding, and one of the most in-demand engineering careers that encompass seven major specialized areas of practice.

What is Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of different types of infrastructure such as dams, bridges, water supply systems, transportation systems, governmental buildings to public facilities like bus stops, train stations, and airports.

It’s one of the oldest examples of engineering, dating back to when people started constructing shelters and settlements, such as the pyramids built in Egypt more than 4000 years ago.

What do Civil Engineers do?

Civil engineers plan, construct, and maintain highways, railroads, and airports, to devise systems for the control and efficient flow of traffic.

Also read: 10 Careers You Didn’t Know Existed in Engineering

Other tasks of a civil engineer include providing plants and systems for water supply, sewage, and disposal of refuse. In addition, they plan and build river regulation and flood control projects.

Civil engineers are responsible for measuring and mapping the earth’s surface by designing and supervising the construction of large building projects, tunnels, pipelines, bridges, dams, and coastal structures.

Types of Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is a very extensive branch of engineering and encompasses seven major specialized areas of practice:

  1. Structural engineering
  2. Construction engineering and management
  3. Transportation engineering
  4. Environmental engineering
  5. Hydraulic and water resources engineering
  6. Geotechnical engineering
  7. Geodetic engineering

#1 Structural Engineering

Structural Engineering
Structural Engineering, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

Structural engineering is a broad sub-branch of practice within civil engineering and it is concerned with the design of large buildings, towers, tanks, bridges, dams, and other large structures. Structural engineers design and select appropriate structural components (e.g., columns, beams, and slabs) and systems to provide adequate strength, stability, and durability.

#2 Construction Engineering and Management

Construction Engineering and Management
Construction Engineering and Management, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

The construction industry is one of the most common specializations that most civil engineers work in.  They construct the facilities that architects and engineers design. The main job of construction engineers is to manage and utilize the resources of construction, to build the structure on time envisioned by the designer.

#3 Transportation Engineering

Transportation Engineering
Transportation Engineering, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

Transportation engineering is the application of scientific principles for the design, operation, management, and proper planning of transportation systems. Transportation engineers plan and layout highways, harbors, airports, and mass transportation systems. They plan and design transportation terminals. Moreover, they create and operate systems for the efficient control of vehicular traffic.

#4 Environmental Engineering

Environmental Engineering
Environmental Engineering, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to design and develop solutions to environmental problems as well as improve environmental quality. They design and supervise the operation of freshwater treatment and wastewater treatment plants. Environmental engineers also measure and monitor pollutants on land, lakes, streams of water, and in the air.

#5 Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering

Water Resource Engineering
Water Resource Engineering, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineers are concerned with the flow of water through conduits, ditches, canals, and dams. These engineers use their specialized knowledge of fluid mechanics to plan and design dams, irrigation systems, municipal and urban water tasks, and finally erosion and drainage control systems.

#6 Geotechnical Engineering

Geo-technical Engineering
Geotechnical Engineering, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

Geotechnical engineers are mainly concerned with the behavior of soil and rock. Their task is to analyze the earth’s support systems and design foundations that are capable of transmitting the live and dead loads of structure to the underlying soil. They analyze and design earth walls, highways, and airport pavements.

#7 Geodetic Engineering

Geodetic Engineering
Geodetic Engineering, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

Geodetic engineers are responsible for measuring and mapping the earth’s surface. They can precisely locate property and building lines and survey the location, elevation, and alignment of various engineering projects.

Civil Engineering Salary

According to Payscale, the average salary of a civil engineer is around $66,085 per year and the top 90% of civil engineers earn $98,000 per year. The job satisfaction rate among civil engineers is high, 4 out of each 5 civil engineers are satisfied with their career.

Now, we would like to hear from you. Which specialty of civil engineering do you like the most? Share your thoughts using the comment box below.

Aimal Khan is the founder & CEO of Engineering Passion. He is an engineer and has obtained his bachelor's degree in energy engineering from Kandahar University.