Career options for Civil Engineers - Skills and Job Oppurtunities

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If you are a student of civil engineering you might have heard a lot about your field. But as the sources have increased, the volume of information has also increased which may make you a bit confused about what to choose and what to let go. If you are wondering about your career choice and what options are available for civil engineering field, then your worry stops here. In this guide, you will find most of your answers that you have been searching for long enough along with careers directions which will help you choose a path which suits you best.

In this career guide, you will find the basic foundations of what civil engineering is all about; where you should begin (the first steps which will help you design your career path); how to get placed by on campus or off campus interviews; how would you know which company suits you best; the best companies to work for in civil engineering; skill sets needed to achieve excellence in your career; how much honorarium you can expect from a job in civil engineering field when you are just starting out; and last but not least the higher education opportunities available for civil engineers.

How do we define Civil Engineering?

For students who have already passed out from civil engineering, this section may seem irrelevant. But the reason we added this section is to give a career brief about civil engineering so that you can most succinctly connect your career choice with the rest of the sections. And this section is also useful for students who have just opted for civil engineering course but have a bit apprehensive about how their career will unfold.

Civil Engineering is a field of builders. So, if you are among those who love to create, build, make and pursue big projects, civil engineering is for you. This is one of the traditional fields of engineering which teaches students about the construction and design of bridges, tunnels, roads, airports, docks, railroads, power supply systems, dams, harbours, water supply-sewage systems.

If you are planning to pursue your career in civil engineering, you have multiple options. Because, top-class civil engineers can choose areas like construction engineering, hydraulic and irrigation engineering, geo-technical engineering, public work engineering, transportation engineering and environmental engineering. The basic thing for you to understand is that you would to be in a profession of building homes and other related projects that help a large number of people ease up their daily journey of life.

Where to start your career?

As you are aspiring to become builders of future hope of public or the beneficiaries who would be using your services, you need to be very detail oriented and thorough. The remarkable ability to be meticulous and understand how project works will help you immensely in learning the core factors of civil engineering.

Start with the renowned civil engineers who have built stuffs. Read magazines on engineering application and how critical problems can be solved. As civil engineers you need to work both on the site and in the office. And almost daily you need to handle laborers and office staffs and moreover clients who would be asking you different questions. To be efficient at that you need to meet every person from every walks of life and try to decipher how they think.

Another critical factor in civil engineering is the ability to handle contingencies. Almost daily you may go out of your budget or else you need to work under several constraints like limited number of workers, average cost of the project, limited working capital for the operations, very limited time to complete a portion of the big project you or your company have undertaken and so on and so forth. Thus, you need to make a practice of making a back-up plan for everything that you undertake now on. It will help you build confidence over time and when the time of crisis will come in actual job, then you will be able to handle it very effectively.

How to get recruited during Campus or off Campus Recruitment?

To get well placed during on-campus interview you need to keep in mind what your potential employers are trying to search for in a possible employee when they are scrolling through the series of application. Make a list of five things you feel the companies are looking for and then start preparing.

First thing you need to prepare for is your general knowledge in civil engineering. If you foundations are strong enough and you can connect one concept with another in your mind, then the half of the battle is already won.

Next you should consider preparing for aptitude, mathematics, physics and design structures. The employers may ask you to prepare a design at a later stage of the interview to see how efficient you are in drawing a big project without any outside help. It all boils down to how you think and how you can connect the dots of all your learning.

By any means if you are not able to get placed in on-campus (which is rare if you follow the above steps), then you can go out and apply in the companies you want to work for. In that case you have a choice to apply for certain positions you are interested in. Always remember that it always helps to know more than the every other person. Read, learn, apply and express. There is nothing you cannot achieve if you are willing and motivated.

Job profile of Civil Engineer

In later section, we will discuss about the top companies you can work for, but an entry in top companies won’t ensure that you would be able to achieve a bright career. What will make you tick is choosing the right specialization in civil engineering.

Now, you have two options – contracting civil engineer and consultant civil engineer. You can choose to work whichever suits you best. In contracting engineering, you need to be both at office and on site. This is typically hard as you need to manage both, peers at office and labourers at on site. But in consultant civil engineering, you need to be mostly in office and you would advise your clients and other engineers for proper execution of project.

Other than the above classification, there are also structural civil engineers who design oil-rigs, office blocks or car-parking slots to ensure that the structures are being defined well before the actual construction begins. There are also options for water management engineers who take care of the water sewage systems and highway engineers who get the roads, highway done in time and they generally work for offering convenience to general public.

From the above options, if you have to choose one, don’t just decide by logic. Just go about every section and try to match where you feel most passionate. And then see whether you have those skills required to succeed or not. For example, if you choose structural engineering, then you should be well versed in drawing. If you have a general knack for drawing, you can design well by few years of practice.

Top Companies which offer jobs for Civil Engineers

There are lot of top-notch companies where civil engineers can work and grow multi-fold. The top ten companies in the world where best civil engineers most prefer to work are –

  • Mace Limited
  • Morgan Sindall
  • Kier
  • Skanska
  • Mott MacDonald
  • Amey
  • Costain
  • Galliford Try
  • Laing O’Rourke
  • AECOM Ltd.

But if you are wondering about the top civil engineering companies in India, then the following list will help you.

  • GMR
  • Hindustan Motors Limited
  • GVK
  • Jindal Steel
  • Simplex Infrastructures
  • SOMA
  • Mahindra & Mahindra
  • Tata Steel
  • Martin Burn Ltd.
  • Toyo Engineering

Skill sets required for getting jobs in Civil Engineering

The basic skills which are required for cracking civil engineering jobs are few in numbers, but if one can master these skills, then the future potential are amazing. It all starts off taking care of the foundational knowledge you need to have about your civil engineering subjects.

  • Are you good in solving critical problems?
  • Are you prudent enough about the slight change in the design you need to make in order to minimize the cost and maximize the benefit of the client?
  • Even if you are not an employee, right now, along with the foundational knowledge you need to hone your thinking skill about diverse situations.

Next is the ability to design. How good you are? If you feel you are good enough can you present a rough draft of the design within an hour of asking? If so, then you would face no problems in cracking interviews, but if not then you need to practice designing and thinking through about several designs and how you can make them tick. In simple term, you need to keep everything under your sleeve before even trying to get any civil engineering jobs.

The final skill which is of utter importance is the ability to manage crisis. Under varied constraints and emergency situation, you need to be sagacious enough to make decisions and keep up the work. It needs an emotional detachment from the outcome and needs an unbiased concentration on the work in hand. If you can master the above skills, the future is glorious for you as a civil engineer.


In India, the salary range of a fresher in civil engineering field is around US$ 5000 to $10,000 per annum. But in foreign countries like USA, UK, the salary structure is far more attractive. The salary structure is around US$50,000 to $65,000 per annum.

Higher education opportunities

For civil engineers after B.Tech or B.E., she can pursue master degree and get an edge over others. But knowledge is only potential power. The application of knowledge is power. Thus engineers who work in engineering firms are more powerful and can handle diverse situations than their counterparts who have chosen to pursue further studies.

But you can anyway learn and apply if you are willing. You can also pursue Master of Science from top universities in the world like MIT, Harvard, Wharton, Stanford but you need to be exceptionally well in order to get into those top-class universities. Because only the creams students of the world get a chance to study there! Other than that you can also opt for 2-tier or 3-tier foreign universities for furthering your education in civil engineering.