What is Civil Engineering and How to Become a Civil Engineer
Civil engineering is a diverse and fascinating field that plays a crucial role in shaping the world we live in. From designing and constructing infrastructure to managing complex projects, civil engineers contribute to the development of societies and improve the quality of life for people around the globe. This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive overview of civil engineering, exploring its definition, core disciplines, and the steps involved in becoming a civil engineer.
Understanding Civil Engineering
Civil engineering is a professional discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment. It encompasses a broad range of specialties, including structural engineering, transportation engineering, geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, and water resources engineering. Here’s a closer look at each of these sub-disciplines:
Structural Engineering: Involves the design and analysis of structures like buildings, bridges, and tunnels to ensure their stability and safety.
Transportation Engineering: Focuses on the planning, design, and management of transportation systems, including roads, railways, airports, and ports.
Geotechnical Engineering: Deals with the behaviour and properties of soil and rock materials to provide a foundation for construction projects and mitigate geotechnical hazards.
Environmental Engineering: Addresses environmental issues, such as water and air pollution, waste management, and sustainable development.
Water Resources Engineering: Concerned with the management, utilisation, and protection of water resources, including dams, irrigation systems, and flood control.
BECOMING A CIVIL ENGINEER
If you are interested in pursuing a career in civil engineering, here are the key steps to get started:
Education: The first step to become a civil engineer would be to gain certified qualifications in construction. This involves completing courses with a relevant registered training organisation (RTO). RTO’s have the task of providing vocational education and training services. RTO’s are quite different to your typical organisations. RTO’s are legally recognised by the appropriate regulators which allows them to offer training and qualifications to aspiring students. WorkSafe Victoria, a statutory authority of the Victorian Government and the primary body for managing and enforcing workplace safety, outlines every registered training organisation that you can complete a white card training course with on their website.
The important thing to note about studying courses in building and construction is that there is a distinct hierarchy. Australia follows the Australian Qualifications Framework, which specifies the standards for education in Australia. The framework includes 10 levels, and they are:
- Certificate I
- Certificate II
- Certificate III
- Certificate IV
- Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma
- Masters Degree
- Doctoral Degree
As a civil engineer, there is much room to grow. You could end up going through many stages of the AQF, crafting your knowledge base to push you further in your career.
Education and studies is not the only component of developing knowledge as an aspiring builder. You need to have experience to look back to in order to be a complete professional. The common form of this is completing a construction apprenticeship. In an apprenticeship, you can take part in real world projects where you can put your knowledge to the test in a practical manner. Apprenticeships seek to significantly boost your skills to make you a more well-rounded individual.
You can also learn from the best. By choosing where you work, you can fast track your development by learning from people with extensive experience in building and construction. Understanding how they work and the processes they take will help you to become a better builder. This could include undertaking:
Engineering Work Experience: Seek internships during your undergraduate studies to gain practical experience and apply theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios. Internships are typically offered by engineering firms, construction companies, and government agencies.
Cooperative Education Programs: Some universities offer cooperative education programs where you alternate between semesters of study and paid work experience related to civil engineering. These programs allow you to gain valuable industry experience while completing your degree.
Graduate Development Programs: Many engineering firms in Australia offer graduate development programs. These programs provide structured training and mentoring, allowing you to further develop your skills and knowledge under the guidance of experienced engineers.
Professional Networking: Join Engineering Societies and Organisations: Become a member of professional engineering societies like Engineers Australia and the Civil College to network with industry professionals, attend events, and access job opportunities.
Attend Career Fairs: Participate in engineering career fairs and industry events to meet potential employers, learn about job openings, and connect with professionals in the field.
Obtain your Licence
The following is a process which will enable you to reach the final stages of becoming a civil engineer:
Engineers Australia Membership: Join Engineers Australia as a student member during your studies to access resources, networking opportunities, and career support. Transition to graduate membership upon completion of your degree.
Engineering Experience: Gain at least three years of post-graduate engineering experience, including a minimum of 12 months of supervised work experience, to meet the competency requirements set by Engineers Australia.
Professional Engineer (PE) or Engineering Technologist (EngTech) Certification: Submit a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) or Engineering Technologist (EngTech) application to Engineers Australia. This process involves a comprehensive assessment of your education, experience, and professional competencies. Provide evidence of your engineering projects, responsibilities, and achievements to demonstrate your competence in the field.
Professional Development: Maintain continuous professional development by attending seminars, workshops, and conferences to stay updated on industry advancements and fulfil the ongoing learning requirements set by Engineers Australia.
Continued Professional Development: Stay Updated: Civil engineering is a constantly evolving field, so it’s essential to stay updated with the latest technologies, regulations, and industry practices through continuing education programs, conferences, and professional journals.
Specialise: Consider pursuing advanced certifications or specialised training in a specific area of civil engineering to enhance your expertise and career prospects.
All in all, civil engineering is an exciting and rewarding career choice for those interested in designing and constructing the physical infrastructure that shapes our world. By obtaining the necessary education, gaining practical experience, obtaining licensure, and engaging in continuous professional development, you can embark on a successful journey to become a civil engineer.
Civil engineers play a crucial role in society, contributing to the development and improvement of transportation systems, buildings, water resources, and environmental sustainability. They have the opportunity to work on diverse projects, ranging from designing skyscrapers and bridges to managing the construction of highways and airports.
Throughout your educational journey, it is important to develop a strong foundation in mathematics, physics, and engineering principles. These subjects form the basis of civil engineering and provide the necessary tools to analyze and solve complex problems.
Internships and cooperative education programs are valuable opportunities to gain practical experience and apply classroom knowledge in real-world scenarios. These experiences allow you to work alongside experienced professionals, learn about project management, and develop essential skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, and communication.
Obtaining licensure is a significant milestone in becoming a professional civil engineer.. Licensure not only enhances your credibility but also provides opportunities for career advancement and the ability to take on more significant responsibilities in project management and design.
Continued professional development is essential to stay current with advancements in the field of civil engineering. By attending conferences, workshops, and seminars, you can broaden your knowledge, learn about emerging technologies, and stay updated on industry regulations and standards. Specialising in a specific area of civil engineering, such as structural engineering or environmental engineering, can also open doors to unique career opportunities and higher levels of expertise.
Joining professional organisations offers numerous benefits. These organisations provide platforms for networking with industry professionals, attending industry-specific events, accessing valuable resources, and staying informed about job opportunities and advancements in the field. Building a professional network can lead to collaborations, mentorship opportunities, and exposure to new ideas and perspectives.
Civil engineering is an exciting and dynamic field that requires a combination of technical expertise, practical experience, and a passion for designing and constructing the infrastructure that shapes our society. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can embark on a rewarding career as a civil engineer, contributing to the development and improvement of our built environment. Remember, the path to becoming a civil engineer requires dedication, continuous learning, and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world around us.
If you’re looking for a career that offers competitive pay, job satisfaction, and opportunities for growth, then a building and construction career might be perfect for you. With the high demand for skilled workers in the industry, there will always be opportunities for growth and advancement.
If you are interested in a construction course: enquire now