Interview with a Civil Engineer – Part 2

It is without question very intimidating to have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life, even for those who may have just earned a degree. Last week, I had the chance to sit down with a civil engineer to discuss what this career is like in more depth. If you are still on the fence regarding what you want to study or have just begun your new journey as a university student, and especially if you are leaning towards a career in engineering, you may find his responses to be useful. This is the second part of the interview; the first part can be found here.

What does a typical career path in this field look like?

A lot of times you start with an entry engineering job, as a trainee, junior engineer or field engineer. After you gain some more experience, you can become an assistant engineer, application engineer, and later, a senior engineer. You can also advance to more managerial positions, such as project manager, construction coordinator or safety director, and specialist positions, like an engineering consultant or operations specialist.

What are some of the skills and qualifications that employers often look for in this field?

In terms of the qualifications, you would at the very least need a Bachelor of Civil Engineering, but having a Master’s degree in civil engineering is ideal. Good knowledge and application of construction materials, solid mechanics, geotechnical mechanics, structural mechanics, things like that, are very important too. You’d also need good problem-solving skills and enjoy working with other people, because team work is essential to civil engineering.

Does your job require any lifestyle changes?

It depends on the project and who you work for. Sometimes, not too much, but it may require frequent business trips and sometimes you have to travel very far for long periods of time.

Has your career been what you expected it to be?

Regardless of the job, there are always going to be some things that you wish were different or that you could have done differently or opportunities you feel like you missed, but in the end, I’m not disappointed. I’m happy with where my career has taken me. It’s allowed me to travel, live in and raise my family all over the world.

What is some advice you can offer to engineering students?

The career path is always changing – it looks for creativity, innovation, sustainability. It’s not always an easy one, especially if you’re just starting out, but if you keep to it, you’ll find that it’s also very enriching. Students who can adapt easily and like variety in their day-to-day work life will likely enjoy civil engineering.

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