What is civil engineering? an introduction

Saad Iqbal | 🗓️Modified: January 11, 2014 | ⏳Read Time: 8 min | 👁Post Views: 143
Before going to the actual subject or theoretical background of the topic; let me explain why this question is mostly asked? Basically, we as humans have a natural quest for knowledge; we observe different phenomena around us and try to investigate the scientific cause behind it. This question is result of that quest, We all live in houses and we all uses road, infrastructures, utilities etc, and then we try to think how they are build and who actually design and plan these sorts of products.

If you are a novice this would be your actual state of mind; so let us explore what civil engineering actually is; 
What is Civil Engineering?


Let us start by defining in so-called official words what civil engineering is? 
“Civil Engineering is the utilization of concepts and laws of engineering, in developing, designing and maintaining the modern infrastructure, utilities and environment for the betterment of human beings”
I hope this definition serves the purpose but let me elaborate it;

Civil Engineering! a branch of engineering

Because we can see that always we use the world “Civil Engineering” so it is obvious that civil engineering is a branch of engineering. Engineering is utilization of laws and principles of sciences like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer sciences, Geology etc. in developing and designing various things. So we can say that scientists think about what is present in the world, or what is happening in the world, while engineers build or design what is not present in the world.
So in conclusion we can say that engineers start their work, where scientists ended.

What Civil Engineering does?

A simple answer to this question would be. Do you live in a house, yes we all do, houses, apartments, farm houses, guest houses etc, we while living in house uses water for cleaning purpose, for drinking purpose, civil engineers do every bit of it, from the slab you see on your roof, to the fixtures you see in your toilet. They design the proper slope for the drainage, they make the heavy stones of concrete span a significant amount of space over your room, they design how the load of furniture, humans, books etc transferred from slab to beam, from beam to column and then from column to the ground or soil by the help of foundation and footing. 
But that’s not all; you leave your house you step on the road, civil engineers design the mix of that road, its alignment, its width, shoulders, curb stones, foot path, the drainage gutters you see, the diameter of the pipes, the discharge calculation, the storm sewer, you see the rain water running over the road or pavement and roofs and going in a systematic manner to the domestic sewer or storm sewer, civil engineers do all of this. 
You drive the car on the road, you see the bridges, parks, water supply over head tanks all of these things are being tackled and handed by civil engineers, and civil engineers uses the concept of civil engineering. 
After reading above paragraphs you must say that “Oh! Yeah! Its very vast”, yes you are right, it has bundles of disciplines and bundles of laws and regulations. 
Civil Engineers also design the airports, the runways, their terminal buildings, the railways system, harbor and off shore construction. 
Just count it and the night will be over.

Subjects of Civil Engineering

What civil engineers study, Civil engineers study the most technical and practical subjects among all other engineering. The electrical engineers play with current defined by flow of charges, but they can’t see it whole of their lives, computer engineers, software engineers, telecom engineers they all just play with things not actually there. You might uses Windows in a house you might design its width depth etc. you might move it a bit up and down in building design and you might touch it feel it. But the windows you use on your laptops, PC you can’t do those things actually with it.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t have significance or impact on humans, they for surely are doing for the betterment of human beings. 
Civil Engineering as a Branch of Engineering
But Civil Engineering has its own charm, its own interesting problems, have its own interesting games.
Now back to the curriculum of civil engineering, the following are some of the subjects we study as a civil engineer;
  •           Strength of Materials
  •           Engineering Mechanics
  •           Civil Engineering Drawing
  •           Hydrology and Water Resource Management
  •           Theory of Structures
  •           Design of Steel Structures
  •           Design of Structures
  •           Hydraulics
  •           Transportation Engineering
  •           Reinforced Cement Concrete
  •           Properties of Concrete
  •           Civil Engineering Practices
  •           Fluid Mechanics
  •           Irrigation Engineering
  •           Computer Applications in civil engineering
  •           Construction, Planning and Mangement
  •           Environmental Engineering
  •           Foundation Engineering
  •           Geometry, Mathematics and Statics
  •           Earthquake engineering
  •           Geology and Geotechnical engineering
  •           Soil Mechanics
This whole list of subjects includes the most common subjects being taught in various institutions around the world. The name or pattern of the subject might vary from country to country and from institution to institution. 
What we civil engineers study in each of these subjects will be discussed in few coming posts so stay tuned. 

How to become a civil engineer?

You must now be asking this question after reading the above inspirational post; But let me be very clear in this respect, to become civil engineer is not as easy as it might look to you. There are a lot of challenges not just in the field but in academic level as well. You have a lot of labs and survey camps; you might have to do manual drawing by standing for hours on the drawing desk, you might have to play with dusty aggregates, hot black asphalt, heavy samples of concrete cubes and cylinders.
This is the basic reason why girls are reluctant to select civil engineering as their field of interest, but now the time has changed we see many civil engineering ladies in the field as project managers, design engineers.
What civil Engineers do? – just for Fun 😛
From the academic point of view; you have to select pre-engineering after your matriculation or you have to select subjects like Physics, Mathematics and chemistry as your majors in O levels and A levels. 
After this you must have to appear in your local engineering college / university entry exam or some other 3rd party exam which that college or university is taking as a criteria. 
You must have to get sufficient marks enough for you to beat the competition that might be there in renowned university or college. 
At the end you must have to be very passionate and very pumped up throughout your life, you must have to strong in your senses, physically and mentally. You must have strong tension absorber, you must know how to handle or manage various categories of people or various calibers. 

About the Degree

In the starting level Civil engineering in many countries is a 4 year Undergraduate programs along with Master program in any of the sub-disciplines that might extend up to 2 years, that might further go up to the Doctorate and Post-Doctorate depending upon what you really want in your career.
In most of the countries throughout the world 4 years of Undergraduate program is sufficient for you to earn a handsome livelihood, and can even make you the head of various departments in governmental and private sectors.
Experience in civil engineering is very important, all the jobs or posts need a fair amount of experience starting from minimum of 5 years which can go up to 30 years as well. 
Recognition of your civil engineering degree is very important from some genuine engineering councils of your country or you might have to pass a Professional Engineer (PE) exam to ensure the true worth your degree.

What people think about civil engineering?

This portion of the post is meant for civil engineers out there to speak about what civil engineering really is for them?. You can also participate in this campaign by liking our facebook page http://facebook.com/iamcivilengineerdotcomor you might comment there or you can also contact us or comment below under this post.
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 Civil Engineering is a very interesting and healthy earning profession, if you as a student has decided to select this as your profession; than let me tel you that you have decided to change your life; a very positive decision and a very healthy sign for you.
Just remain dedicated to your goal and you will achieve what you want to achieve in your life.
If you have any question you have a lot of options just speak out.

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