What is Civil Engineering?
Civil engineering is the design, resourcing, construction, maintenance, and development of the essential facilities of the modern world. Civil engineers are responsible for the infrastructure that makes our society run smoothly. From roads and rail, to schools and skyscrapers, civil engineers literally construct the world around us.
Civil engineering generally involves specialisation within a specific industry or field. The rail, water, construction, and aviation industries all rely heavily on civil engineers, as do many other sectors.
A core aspect of civil engineering involves responding to the challenges of modern living. Civil engineers examine the processes that facilitate the development of infrastructure and look for ways to improve it.
Both structural design and resource design form aspects of civil engineering. Civil engineers are deeply concerned with the structural integrity of their builds, while designing efficient systems to manage critical resources can also fall under their scope.
Civil engineering involves a mix of analytical and creative skills. Both work in tandem to support the inspection of designs for flaws and facilitate creative ways to fix and improve plans. You’ll also need strong communication skills, as civil engineers are regularly called on to present their ideas to working groups.
Project management forms a significant part of the work many civil engineers do. Some choose to be involved from the planning phase, right through to the completion of construction. Civil engineering can then involve managing teams of individuals, all working together to ensure infrastructure is designed and delivered efficiently and safely.
The maintenance of this vital infrastructure is also important for civil engineers. Roads, buildings, bridges and indeed most constructions require regular checks, to ensure they continue to remain safe and fit for purpose. Civil engineers rely on well-honed attention to detail to inspect and identify issues when called upon.
Civil engineering increasingly intersects with environmental engineering. As the world attempts to become more sustainable, many are looking to civil engineers to provide solutions to make key infrastructure more environmentally friendly.
What does a civil engineer do?
Civil engineers are expert problem solvers. When they aren’t solving issues that have occurred, they’re examining designs to anticipate new problems before they even happen.
Civil engineers are passionate about ensuring everyone has access to important infrastructure. As such, many specialise in a particular area they feel an affinity for.
A civil engineer may work in construction. Here, civil engineers consider how best to design and construct buildings. They take into consideration a variety of factors, including ease of use, safety, aesthetics, and environmental impact. Others work to help homeowners overcome prior defects, and design solutions so that these do not cause further problems in the future.
Working within the railway industry, a civil engineer designs processes to ensure people and resources get to where they need to be safely and as quickly as possible. These civil engineers balance the logistics of multiple routes, railway crossings, and station facilities to make this vital method of transport easy to use every day of the week.
Civil engineers are constantly juggling competing demands. They require skills in prioritisation and management to ensure the right factors are given the appropriate weight of consideration. One such area in which this is vital is the growing field of environmental engineering. Working as a civil engineer within this field, you will have to juggle the competing elements of cost, time, resourcing, and sustainability. Decision-making is key, and you’ll find yourself making hundreds every day.
If you find yourself drawn to essential services, you may take on an opportunity working as a civil engineer within the energy industry. Every day will be different as you apply your understandings of physics to ensure the provision of power to the nation. You’ll design fail-safe backups and efficient systems to keep everything running smoothly.
Civil engineers need to be able to respond quickly when problems occur. Those who work as civil engineers within the mining sector could see themselves take the lead when solutions are needed urgently. With options to work across a variety of locations, this field is often for those seeking adventure.
What jobs are there in civil engineering?
Civil engineers are involved in all major infrastructure and resource industries. These include road, rail, public transportation, construction, water and waste treatment, electricity provision, mining, and many others.
As a civil engineer, you may find yourself working for private corporations, multinational organisations or state and federal government departments.
A major in Civil Engineering with the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) from JCU could see you land a role like:
- Civil engineer
- Environmental engineer
- Mining engineer
- Design engineer
- Construction engineer
- Water resource engineer
- Waste management engineer
- Consultant specialist
- Project manager
- Maintenance engineer
- Bridge designer.
Why study Civil Engineering at JCU?
When you study a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) majoring in Civil Engineering at JCU, you’ll be receiving an education that integrates industry knowledge into coursework, meaning you’ll be ready to hit the ground running once you graduate.
JCU’s Civil Engineering program empowers you to respond to the challenges of tomorrow, today by going beyond teaching the fundamental knowledge and skills of the field. JCU’s expert lecturers encourage students to balance design with environmental impact. At JCU, a focus on building community engagement and creating designs that are responsive to feedback from those it will most deeply impact is central to your learning.
You’ll have the opportunity to consider how civil engineering can innovate within our unique environment. JCU civil engineering students receive considerable hands-on learning opportunities from industry leaders including AECOM, GHD, Queensland Rail, City and regional councils, Main Roads, Lendlease and BMD.
The Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), with a major in Civil Engineering also gives you scope to focus on your passion. Your Honours year will involve creating a personal project and thesis, where you’ll put your theoretical knowledge to the test in a practical scenario.
Help to build the future with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) from JCU. Explore your major and elective options further.