Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings. Civil engineering is the oldest engineering discipline after military engineering, and it was defined to distinguish non-military engineering from military engineering. It is traditionally broken into several sub-disciplines including environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, municipal or urban engineering, water resources engineering, materials engineering, coastal engineering, surveying, and construction engineering. Civil engineering takes place on all levels: in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies.

Civil engineering is the application of physical and scientific principles, and its history is intricately linked to advances in understanding of physics and mathematics throughout history. Because civil engineering is a wide ranging profession, including several separate specialized sub-disciplines, its history is linked to knowledge of structures, materials science, geography, geology, soils, hydrology, environment, mechanics and other fields.

Throughout ancient and medieval history most architectural design and construction was carried out by artisans, such as stonemasons and carpenters, rising to the role of master builder. Knowledge was retained in guilds and seldom supplanted by advances. Structures, roads and infrastructure that existed were repetitive, and increases in scale were incremental.

Career

There is no one typical career path for civil engineers. Most people who graduate with civil engineering degrees start with jobs that require a low level of responsibility, and as the new engineers prove their competence, they are trusted with tasks that have larger consequences and require a higher level of responsibility. However, within each branch of civil engineering career path options vary. In some fields and firms, entry-level engineers are put to work primarily monitoring construction in the field, serving as the "eyes and ears" of senior design engineers; while in other areas, entry-level engineers perform the more routine tasks of analysis or design and interpretation. Experienced engineers generally do more complex analysis or design work, or management of more complex design projects, or management of other engineers, or into specialized consulting, including forensic engineering.

Civil engineers typically apply the principles-:

  • geotechnical engineering
  • structural engineering
  • environmental engineering
  • transportation engineering
  • construction engineering