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Civil Engineer

Civil engineers design roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, and airports. They combine a knowledge of materials science, engineering, economics, physics, geology, and hydraulics to create the physical infrastructure essential to modern life. Naturally, there are numerous sub-specialties


Civil Engineer

Also known as:  Architectural Engineer, Bridge Engineer, Civil Engineer, Construction Engineer, Facilities Engineer, Geotechnical Engineer, Highway Engineer, Hydrographic Engineer, Railroad Design Consultant, Research Hydraulic Engineer.

Civil engineers design roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, and airports. They combine a knowledge of materials science, engineering, economics, physics, geology, and hydraulics to create the physical infrastructure essential to modern life. Naturally, there are numerous sub-specialties

Daily Activities / Routine Tasks

1. Direct or participate in surveying to lay out installations or establish reference points, grades, or elevations to guide construction

2. Conduct studies of traffic patterns or environmental conditions to identify engineering problems and assess potential project impact.

3. Prepare or present public reports on topics such as bid proposals, deeds, environmental impact statements, or property and right-of-way descriptions.

4. Test soils or materials to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations, concrete, asphalt, or steel.

5. Plan and design transportation or hydraulic systems and structures, following construction and government standards, using design software and drawing tools.

6. Manage the repair, maintenance, and replacement of public and private infrastructure

7. Analyze survey reports, maps, drawings, blueprints, aerial photography, and other topographical or geologic data to plan projects.

8. Estimate quantities and cost of materials, equipment, or labor to determine project feasibility.

9. Provide technical advice regarding design, construction, or program modifications and structural repairs to industrial and managerial personnel.

10. Compute load and grade requirements, water flow rates, or material stress factors to determine design specifications.

11. Manage and direct staff members and the construction, operations, or maintenance activities at project site.

12. Inspect project sites to monitor progress and ensure conformance to design specifications and safety or sanitation standards.

Many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions ranging from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer. Others work in design, construction, research, and teaching. Civil engineers work with others on projects and may be assisted by civil engineering technicians.

Civil engineers work on complex projects, so they usually specialize in one of several areas.

Construction engineers manage construction projects, ensuring that they are scheduled and built in accordance with the plans and specifications. They are typically responsible for design and safety of temporary structures used during construction.

Geotechnical engineers work to make sure that foundations are solid. They focus on how structures built by civil engineers, such as buildings and tunnels, interact with the earth (including soil and rock). In addition, they design and plan for slopes, retaining walls, and tunnels.

Structural engineers design and assess major projects, such as buildings, bridges, or dams, to ensure their strength and durability.

Transportation engineers plan, design, operate, and maintain everyday systems, such as streets and highways, but they also plan larger projects, such as airports, ports, mass transit systems, and harbors.

Main Activities

Making Decisions and Solving Problems : Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates : Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Getting Information : Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment : Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Interacting With Computers : Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards : Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Analyzing Data or Information : Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information : Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Areas of Knowledge

Engineering and Technology : Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Design : Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Building and Construction : Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

Mathematics : Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

English Language : Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Physics : Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

Transportation : Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.

Administration and Management : Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Key Abilities

Problem Sensitivity : The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Near Vision : The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Oral Expression : The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Written Comprehension : The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Oral Comprehension : The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Inductive Reasoning : The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Mathematical Reasoning : The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

Visualization : The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

Top Skills

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Critical Thinking :Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Mathematics : Using mathematics to solve problems.

Reading Comprehension : Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents

Operations Analysis : Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design

Active Listening : Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Communication Skills :Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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