Everything You Need to Know to Become a Successful Civil Engineer

Civil engineering has many different sectors, each one presenting a range of opportunities for those who want to get involved. You might prefer to work in an office, or you may prefer to do more physical work. Some people decide they’d like to do both. There are lots of different routes you can take into this industry too; usually one to suit all kinds of workers. This post aims to tell you everything you need to know in order to become successful in this industry: 

Civil Engineer’s Role 

A civil engineer’s role can be complex, so it’s important you understand it before you take the steps to become one. This role can be described as the part of engineering that concentrates on public structures; designing, building, and maintaining them. Here are some of the things you may be focusing on as you work: 

  • Airports.
  • Sewage.
  • Tunnels and bridges.
  • Fire stations.
  • Ports and harbours.
  • Mining.
  • Drainage and flood barriers.
  • Railways.
  • Canals. 

And more! As this job requires skill and expertise, you can expect to be paid a higher salary.  Your main responsibilities will be to make sure you are working in a safe way that produces accurate work. You may work as part of a firm, as a consultant, or as a contractor. You’ll probably like to vary your career through the years to keep things interesting, and this will allow you to see where your passion really lies in this industry. It’s probably one of the only roles where you can try to base it around your current interests and be flexible. There are different courses and options available from country to country, so make sure you do your research based on where you’re from to be sure. 

In this role, you’ll work full time; between 35-40 hours per week, and usually on a Mon-Fri basis. However, problems can arise unexpectedly so you need to be prepared to work out of hours in emergencies. You may be expected to travel a lot too, so be prepared to go to different towns, cities, and perhaps different countries. 

The Skills You Need 

To be a civil engineer, you need a set of specific skills to make sure you can do the role to standard. You should be good with numbers, design, and science for a start. You may also find that having a creative way of thinking and the ability to work in a team helps. Written and spoken communication is important too, so you can get across what you are trying to do clearly to those whom it may concern. Here’s a quick list of the skills and qualities you should have: 

  • Teamwork skills.
  • Project management skills.
  • Communication.
  • Decision making.
  • Maths, Science, Computer and Design skills.
  • Creativity. 

If you feel you have these skills, then you have what it takes to train to be a civil engineer. 

Your Education 

Your education needs to be up to scratch for you to become successful in a role like this. You should focus on the following subjects: 

  • Maths.
  • Design.
  • Technology.
  • Physics.
  • Geography. 

Try to participate in any competitions that involve building something too, such as model bridge building competitions. These can be especially helpful when working in a team. Requirements will vary depending on the college or university you wish to attend, so make sure you research them so you can take the right subjects and get the best grades. 

If you’re no longer in education, you may need to take certain adult courses and tests to show that you will cope in a role such as this. 

In the majority of countries, a bachelor’s degree will be required to land a job as a civil engineer. This can take you up to 4 years, depending on where you study. You could even choose to take a civil engineering course outside of your home country to see first hand what’s going on in the industry in other areas. Also consider taking courses outside of your favorite field so you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket; you might find something that you like better by chance. 

Would You Like to Specialise in Something? 

Specialising in something in this industry allows you to work in an area that interests you most. Make sure you’re aware of all of your options so you can select wisely. You might like to specialise in environmental issues, for instance.

Getting an Internship 

While you’re in education, you can give yourself a better chance of being successful by getting an internship. Many companies will have a type of program you can join, so research the type of company you’d like to work for and apply. The experience will be a great help, and it’ll look great on your resume to boot. 


In the US, those who want to become a civil engineer must take some examinations. You’ll need to study for these and revise to make sure you get the desired grades. Just a few of the exams include the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, and the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. This may vary from country to country, so again, make sure you research for your own specific country or the place you plan on qualifying. 

Joining a Professional Organisation 

Once you’ve a qualified civil engineer, you should join a professional organisation assigned to your country. This will help you to keep up to date with news in the industry, as well as give you the opportunity to network. You can also attend seminars and learn new things. In the US, the organisation you would join is the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

Your Income 

As a civil engineering graduate, you could earn between $20,000 and $30,000 per year. As you get more experienced, you can earn more. You could be earning over $100,000 per year in the most experienced role. Just bear in mind that these figures are just a guideline to help you. 

Now you can begin your training and get on your way to becoming a successful civil engineer. Best wishes!Lưu