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Demystifying Civil Engineering – The Building Block of a Career full of Great Legacies

By Ms. Shruti Choudhari, Deputy Director, B.L Kashyap & Sons Ltd.

“Scientists dream about doing great things, ENGINEERS do them.”

Civil Engineering is one of the world’s oldest professions. There would not have been awe-inspiring building structures around us, if not for the genius Civil Engineers who put in their hearts to build legacies that stand the test of time. From the structural design of a building, planning or the construction stages, bridge design and infrastructure to water treatment, the work of Civil Engineers has a huge impact on the daily lives of most us, no matter which geographical location.

The skill requirements for any civil engineering job varies widely based on the position. However, every civil engineer should have a strong understanding of industry and government standards, requirements, and guidelines. In addition, civil engineers should have strong analytical thinking, technical writing, and communication skills.

Here is a look through at the requisite skill-sets to become a Civil Engineer worth his weight:

1. Technical Skills – A Civil Engineer should have knowledge of a certain level of Mathematics and Physics that allows for the identification and solving of engineering problems. Calculation of loads on a structure, what kind of structural system a project requires, all falls under the civil engineer’s scope of work. Civil Engineers also need to be skilled in design techniques and working with maps, drawings and models, as well as CAD software. They need to be able to predict any possible future problems and find solutions for them.

2. Project Management – When problems arise, it is common for people involved in the project on all levels to look to the engineer for guidance and resolution. It is important that a Civil Engineer is able to step up to the task and manage a diverse team of professionals whilst maintaining the confidence of clients.

3. Leadership – Civil engineers often manage diverse teams that consist of contractors, architects, construction managers, other engineers, and more. They have to effectively lead and manage each team; making sure projects are completed successfully. Civil Engineers also need to evaluate the work of others and ensure their work is in compliance with within any applicable laws, regulations and standards. They also need to make sure that they work within set budgets and timeframes.

4. Communication Skills – In Civil Engineering, perhaps more so than other Engineering fields, the ability to communicate effectively is a highly sought-after skill. Whether dealing with PMC, Management or a client, Engineers need to be able to clearly communicate ideas and give directions leaving no uncertainty. They must also be able to listen and be open to feedback to arrive at a proper planning and decision making for the project being worked on.

5. Out-of-the-Box thinking – It could be said broadly that the role of Civil Engineers is applying Engineering principles to develop solutions within the built environment. More often than not, this requires a certain level of creativity. Engineers need to be able to innovate and improve on solutions. From finding ways to reduce CO2 emissions, solutions to challenging structures, innovative use of construction materials, prefab systems etc. – creativity is key.

6. Critical Thinking – Civil Engineers often face complex problems and need to find efficient solutions for them. They need to be able to assess the pros and cons of all possible solutions, and they need to be decisive in order to choose the best one. Intelligent decisions need to be made after analyzing all data available to ensure smooth completion of a project.

As is rightly said, “Engineering is the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man.” A career in Civil Engineering is deeply satisfying, yet challenging; and all it takes is the right zeal and vision to excel in this hugely buoyant field, one that is only expected to bloom in times to come.

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