Civil Engineering (CE) is a career in existence since 4000 BC, where human beings begun changing from a nomadic lifestyle, to construct shelters (Narayanan 2003). Construction, design and maintenance of the structures has been made possible through the study of CE, to share scientific and physical principles. Currently, CE applies physics and mathematical principles in the study of design and construction of roads, bridges, buildings, dams, and canals (Narayanan 2003). The disciplines under the study relate to material science, soil mechanics, hydrology, geography, environment, design, and structures. To be a civil engineer one must pursue a Bachelor of Engineering degree, which takes three to five years for completion varying with the school. The students make a choice on the area of specialization towards the end of the degree after studying general units in mathematics, physics, project design and management and the disciplines previously mentioned. To enroll in a college for the CE degree, one requires excellence in subjects such as Physics, Mathematics, English, Biology, or Chemistry. Other units required, but not necessary are social sciences, any humanities, and institutional options given in different schools such as arts and foreign language. A grade of 2.0 is also required for all the compulsory subjects for enrollment, and a C grade for all the other optional units. The overall credit points required for a direct entry into the course is 180 (Career Cornerstone Center 2013). It is necessary an individual join a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for
Engineering and Technology that ensures the education acquired is marketable.
Therefore, after completing the undergraduate degree, one can either pursue a career in CE or opt to pursue postgraduate studies. Acquisition of the degree in America is the first step towards becoming a professional in CE. After the study, the graduate is required to work for a period of four years, and then undertake two examinations for licensing under the
National council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors. As a student, one acquires the basic skills of CE, and they require practicing the knowledge in the real world to be effective Engineers. During the job experience, the Civil Engineer can acquire working skills and knowledge on how to go about the activities. The experience can be attained through internships, employments, summer jobs, and co-operation assignments. A licensed Civil Engineer can organize, authorize, and propose engineering drawings and plans for public and private works making him marketable (Career Cornerstone Center 2013). A licensed Civil Engineer has the capability of designing and supervising the constructions of earth works, buildings, water supply, sewerage, and bridges. Civil Engineers can assess the environmental hazards of undertaking a certain construction and implement a design that is environmental friendly to achieve the designed purpose. Engineers should consider the cost of construction, and the lifetime of the construction works should be in agreement with the government regulation on designs. CE can implement policies that will protect the nation during times of environmental hazards such as hurricanes and earthquakes.
VIABILITY OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
Civil Engineering is a career not affected with technology advancements because human beings need structures that will facilitate their activities. According to the United States Bureau of Statistics (2013), there are over 278,000 jobs available for the CE professionals in America. It is among careers with the least rates of employment that means it is a promising career in the future. All over the world, there is a high demand for the Civil Engineers for the development of modern construction and renovation of already existing structures. Globalization has facilitated the migration of professionals globally for the facilitation of structural development. A Civil Engineer is among these professionals, and experience in working globally or the knowledge of international work favors the Engineers credentials. They can also compete effectively in the domestic market, introducing an outlook into the international market. There are no extra educational requirements for working internationally; an individual just requires the knowledge of the language and government policies of the country. The forecast on the career projects a growth of 24% between 2008 and 2018 according to the US Department of Labor (2013). Civil Engineering ranks position 26 in the list of the best jobs of 2013 (US Bureau of Labor and Statistics). This is attributed to the increasing population and the need to improve on the available infrastructure, to accommodate the growth. The Civil Engineers will be redesigning the existing structures and constructing new ones that will cater for the increased population. Water and sewerage expansion are also a responsibility of the Civil Engineers, which is an essential part of the human lives making it a daily activity for maintenance.
A marketable Civil Engineer is one who has qualified as a professional Engineer and has experience of more than four years with significant projects executed. The assessment of the Civil Engineer’s salary by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics is at an average of $78,000 per annum. The lowest young Engineer earnings were at an average of $50000, and the highest level of the Engineers at an average of $119000 and above. The estimated starting cost for a Civil Engineer with a Bachelor’s degree is at $52000 (US Bureau of Labor and Statistics 2013). These estimations are for an employee engineer by a firm or the government. Civil Engineers can be employed in the military, private, and public sectors that diversify their option in the career market and provide a good salary. There are professional organizations and associations that provide resources for enhancing civil engineering. These associations promote the interest of the civil engineers by creating a network of professionals that allows sharing of information, experience, and skills. The associations also inform the members of the changes in the civil industry and the emerging trends. This association offer courses with certification, periodicals, conferences, and travelling benefits for its members as a means to facilitate sharing of knowledge. These associations include American Association of Civil Engineers, Institution of Civil Engineers among other minor bodies (Career Cornerstone Center 2013). These associations register students and professionals for membership to enhance their growth in the details about the career.
CHALLENGES FACED IN CIVIL ENGINEERING
The career faces challenges owing to changes in technology that calls for changes in structural designs. Analyzing the case of Dubai, the civil engineers together with the architects have built unique structures that call for other civil engineers in the world to upgrade (Career Cornerstone Center 2013). Other challenges are brought by the changing climates and unpredictable hazards such as earthquakes and hurricanes. The changes affect the structures put-in-place, and it calls for the association of civil engineers, to develop designs and structures that are strong to withstand the impact caused by the climatic changes and the earth movements. A case study of Japan illustrates how the civil engineers handle the challenge of frequent earthquakes by developing houses on rubber foundation, which does not crumble when hit by a tremor. Another challenge experienced is gender biases in the career, where the profession is considered to be a ‘man’s job’ that often leaves out women in the career. Women are forced to prove their knowledge in the career, regardless of the equal opportunity chance in the career, especially in the construction part of civil engineering.
Experience in civil engineering allows the engineer to select an area of specialty to major in making it a promising career of the future. The area that I would prefer to specialize in is the structural engineering and construction. In this area, I would facilitate the study of designs that will be able to support their weights and select the best materials to use in the construction. The reason I am fascinated by this study is the ability to create unique structure that enhances my creativity in designing buildings. Structures will forever need maintenance and renovation, meaning the career will be in demand years to come. The option of structures can be practiced in international countries where I will acquire more knowledge and experience in the career. Technology changes have made the designing part simple, especially with the use of AutoCAD Civil 3D software to improve on the accuracy and presentation of the designs, unlike the previous hand drawn works.
Civil Engineering is a career that will sharpen by skills in structural designs and construction. This skill will ultimately lead to the fulfillment of my passion. As a career, it provides a guarantee of employment in the present future times. The structural and design has a variety of major and minor structural options that include roads, bridges, dams, buildings, and canals. The career will take me four years in college for my skills acquisition. The availability of associations that take students as members will create the opportunity to network with professionals and acquire information that will facilitate my growth in the career. The salary for the civil engineer is also a good package that will facilitate a comfortable life in the future.
Bureau of Labor and Statistics. 2013. Civil Engineers.www.bls.org. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm
Career Cornerstone Center. 2013. Civil Engineering.www.careercornerstone.org. Retrieved from: http://www.careercornerstone.org/civileng/civilemploy.htm
Narayanan, R. 2003.Introduction to Design for Civil Engineers.London: Spon.
Shroff, V., & Shah, L. 2003. Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering.United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.