Civil engineering surrounds the world in which we live. Most people take advantage of civil engineering services without giving a second thought about it. The truth is, without it, society would not function as it does.
If you’ve driven on an onramp to a highway and you didn’t fly off, a civil engineer designed that. If you’ve flushed the toilet and ever wondered what happens, yep, civil engineering. If you’ve walked on a bridge, stood in a building, looked at a dam, observed a retaining wall –you guessed it, the result of civil engineering.
You might be asking, “Well that’s great, but seriously, that’s boring stuff!”
If none of those things sounds interesting to you, then let me identify some specifics. Maybe it will change your mind about this career choice, or perhaps you’ll just know a tad more about civil engineering than the rest of the world. Either way, it’s a win for you!
Read on to learn five reasons why civil engineers rock.
Civil Engineers Build Awesome Things
Yes, we’ve touched on a few examples above, but seriously, you get to design amazing things as a civil engineer.
The tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa standing at a towering 2,717 feet. You can see the sunset twice in this building. See it set once on a lower floor and hop in the elevator and check it out at the top. It’s huge!
Civil engineers not only design engineering marvels, but they also design things that are physically built. As a civil engineer, you get to see your designs come to life, from paper or software to the real deal.
It’s very fulfilling knowing you took part in building something tangible that helps society as a whole.
Civil Engineering Salary is Not Too Shabby
To become a civil engineer you need a bachelor’s degree. From there, you can increase your value and your income by earning a master’s degree and, more importantly, your professional engineering (PE) license.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay for a civil engineer in 2016 was $83,540 with the 75th percentile being $104,730.
This places it among the top in engineering fields and is almost double the national average ($48,664) in the United States.
Civil Engineers are Needed
Engineering growth rates go up as the population goes up.
When was the last time you checked the population of the US?
How about the world?
Let’s just say it’s going up.
Civil engineering careers are predicted to grow at a rate of 11% more than the national average. They’ll be needed to design infrastructure for the rising population, and they’ll be required to keep the US’s aging infrastructure working and usable (and hopefully replaced!).
Talk about job security! Society needs civil engineers.
Ok, so all that stuff is cool, but why else do engineers rock?
Civil Engineers Branch Out and Grow
As civil engineers develop their careers, they often branch into various other fields (that pay more I might add). They go into project management managing jobs; they become senior/lead engineers that help younger engineers, blossom into managers, supervisors, directors, vice presidents or pave their way as owners and entrepreneurs.
You see, civil engineering can be just the beginning. You can grow into what you want to be whether that’s staying as a designer, developing as a manager, or venturing out and becoming an entrepreneur.
Pretty sweet if you ask me.
Down and Dirty or Clean and Classy
Civil engineers can be as messy or as clean as they want to be.
What do I mean by that?
Don’t want to get your fingers dirty?
Sure, there’s a spot for you here. Become a design engineer and eventually a Principal Engineer. Stay clean and make a great living doing it!
Ah, you want to be out in the field with the guys, getting dirty and seeing how it all works and runs?
Yes, this is the career for you! Get out in the field as a field supervisor over crews, an engineer on site, or a surveyor. There are plenty of options.
You get to pick. Dress to impress or find a career that allows jeans and a tee shirt (of course you have to wear your safety gear!).
If staying in the office for 8 hours a day makes your skin crawl, then find a field job.
That’s the beauty of it. You’re not stuck - the choice is yours!
Wrapping It Up
There are five major disciplines of civil engineering: geotechnical, construction, water resources/environmental, structural, and transportation. Each branch ensures our society functions and runs smoothly.
As much as I value the list above (which is fantastic), making our world better for our society is probably the biggest reason why you should become one and the reason I did too.
Isaac Oakeson, PE is the owner of www.civilengineeringacademy.com and www.civilpereviewcourse.com. He graduated in civil engineering from the University of Utah and passed the PE in the fall of 2012. Ever since passing, he has tried to help others do the same to reach their goals of becoming a professional civil engineer.