Civil Engineering is a very challenging, rewarding, and professional line of work. Being one not only sets you apart, but it can launch you into other fields including project management, company ownership, and more.
There are reasons why school puts you through the wringer to become a civil engineer. Becoming one includes; getting your degree, taking and passing the fundamentals of engineering exam, as wells as taking the professional engineering exam after you've been working for two to four years (depends on your individual state requirements), but once you finish the benefits are sky hi.
Let's dive into the top 5 reasons why becoming a civil engineer is an excellent career choice!
To become a civil engineer you need to obtain a 4-year degree. To become a PE (professional engineer), you need have graduated and passed the professional engineering exam administered by the NCEES organization. Obtaining the professional engineering license is the pinnacle of a civil engineer's starting career.
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Yes, every career choice has its challenges. It is simply part of life. But the challenges of civil engineering branch out and require a degree of creativity that most of the public think engineers don't have. They just build stuff we use right? I mean how hard and creative is that?
Well, there are challenges in civil engineering. From designs issues to dealing with the public, agencies, permitting, right-of-way, and working with all kinds of internal and external customers to reach a project's objectives.
Each area requires you to be at the top of your game in communication, in thinking out of the box, and in finding solutions that can provide the best benefit and least cost to whomever your work for or serve.
Take a look at the top 10 most impressive civil engineering projects of all time (by Norwich University, 2014) and tell me that there's not a challenge to be met in this field. Now, you might not work on such magnificent projects and make such a huge name for yourself, but you'll still work on some neat things.
Getting Out of the Office
I think one of the best things about being a civil engineer is the fact that you get to get out in the field. Many civil engineering jobs are a great mix of office and field work. It's nice to get your hands on the project to see what's going on. There's also a HUGE difference from your design in the office to what is really out in the field. Both have to be checked and that makes for an excellent benefit.
You'll still have your fair share of office meetings, presentations, and work that has to be done in the office, but it's nice to get out once in a while, meet with the crews, and get hands on.
You'll have the challenge of fixing things (which is typically why you're out there in the first place), but hey, it's nice to get outside and get some fresh air.
Every project is different so your challenges can be very dynamic. Something that was a problem on the last job will be different on the next. You'll also build relationships with laborers, inspectors, and others that you wouldn't normally see in the office.
Compensation for civil engineering is ranked pretty high, especially for a new college grade. According to U.S. News, the average salary of a civil engineer is right around $82,000 with the 25 percentile being around $64,000 and the 75th percentile being around $104,000. This means that you'll start at a decent salary and end up later in your career as having a great salary. It's not a tech company's salary, but it will provide a great living.
Those that live in larger areas of population report having higher salaries because, well, that's usually where bigger projects are. You can still make a decent amount of money else where. Civil engineers that move into management and even who branch out to own their own companies also do very well.
In terms of a career choice, U.S. News also reports that civil engineering is the 5th best engineering job to have! Pretty sweet!
Prestige and Importance in the Community
Engineers are professionals. They build the infrastructure for communities to function properly. They are vital. Civil engineers touch everything within five major categories; structures, water resources, transportation, construction, and geotechnical. Each of these disciplines helps our communities to run and function normally, efficiently, cleanly, and beautifully.
Each of these disciplines follow codes and standards to ensure that everything is built safe. How many of you even think about strength and serviceability issues when you walk into a 30 story building? When things are build safely and correctly you really hardly think about it. You just expect things to work, but when things go down you really feel the effects. Have a roadway or a bridge go out and you've stopped the flow of thousands of workers.
The importance of civil engineers cannot be overstated. They are a must for a community to function properly and with how fast our populations are growing I don't see any reason for this profession to slow down.
Unleash the Creativity
Let's first eliminate the stigma that all engineers are simply nerds with no creative bone in their body. The truth is that engineers, including civil engineers, are required to be creative.
How else would you solve complicated problems that arise? Do you think there's some status quo on what should replace an old building? No, civil engineers use creativity in developing the needs of the community and meeting the challenges that are placed before them.
Civil engineers combine a strong technical background to what other teams bring in order to develop an amazing design. I personally love working with those that do the labor because they can bring amazing insight and creativity to things you've never thought of. Using that with your technical background and really produce great things.
So, yes, believe it or not civil engineers are creative in their design, their approach, and in solving some of the most complicated problems civilization deals with.
Wrapping it Up
Civil engineering is a highly desirable field to be in. It's not easy, but you can do it. Reaching the achievement of a professional engineer will unlock many doors and give you a very satisfying career. Civil engineering directly impacts the community - what better way to have an influence and impact on humanity. The pay, the prestige, the challenge, and the creativity are all there.
These are my top 5 reasons why civil engineers are awesome.
What do you think? What would you add? Why do you think civil engineers are important? Let me know!