Are there job opportunities in civil engineering? Are you looking for a civil engineering career or a civil engineering job? Is there a difference between these? Well, when you enjoy your work and excel and contribute to civil engineering then you can say that you have a career. Now how do you achieve that. Many things should fall in place for that to happen. And you decide most of it. Its in your hands to make a successful career in civil engineering. It’s how early you plan, how early you identify the gaps in skills, how better you skill yourself and your attitude that will decide your career.
Most civil engineering graduates are trying to follow a conventional path when it comes to career. Wait till graduation without thinking or planning or even knowing about the industry. After graduation hoping to grab a job in some structural design firms or a government job or a site engineering role. Most of the time with out any additional planning during studies, they hope someone will recommend or some training center will place. That’s not the way to plan.
Many more opportunities are waiting for you if you plan well before your job hunt.
You will have to know the below mentioned points to have a successful career. Some of it and some of you can find it as a fresher, some of you evolve through your experience and find your correct path. However, as a fresher, you should do your best to identify these key points. If you can’t find it yourself, seek help from a mentor.
Know your interest & skillset – What area in civil engineering excites you? This decides a lot. You may not be aware of all of the opportunities available. That’s why it is so important to be in touch with seniors, peers and experts in the industry. You reached this blog now and you can read and know the various opportunities available. A senior and mentor can help you out much more in identifying your interest and skillset.
Know your weakness and gaps in education – if you are a fresher, you need a mentor & internship to even realize you have a gap. If you are still a student, look out to meet a mentor and do an internship in the right way, right now.
Know the demand in the industry – You should be reading the latest trends in the industry
Know what others are doing – You need to be in a larger community of people similar to you.
I have listed down a few areas where young civil engineers can focus to find the right civil engineering job and a career.
Structural Design Companies
Structural engineering is a field where we learn about the structural behavior and structural design of various structures like buildings, bridges, tunnels, flyovers, and many more. This field demands basic concepts and software skills alike.
As we know Many multinational companies and local structural offices recruit new engineers. If your basics are strong and have good software knowledge like ETABS you can get a job in these design firms. It will be better if you do an internship or training before a job that surely ensure confidence in your work. Good command over the design and analysis and high practical common sense will make a real success in this field. Basic software like AutoCAD, STAAD Pro, ETABS, BIM, Revit, and MS Excel are an added advantage for this job hunt. Good technical knowledge and IS codes interpretation & knowledge of other relevant international codes will be an added advantage. After gaining surplus experience, you can be an entrepreneur by becoming a licensed engineer.
Skill set needed in larger corporates and MNC firms:
These companies do a variety of outsourced works. You will have to research on the kind of the works they do and develop your skillset. Some of the MNCs outsourcing works from their abroad offices are listed below. Most of the works are UK, US and middle east based. Graduates in civil engineering and post graduates have equal opportunities. All these companies advocate gender equality and provides equal opportunities to everybody.
ATKINS – One of the earliest GDC in India. Now have offices in Bangalore and Delhi. They have divisions ranging from buildings, rails, highways, water & environment to Aero space engineering. Job opportunities includes structural design, structural detailing, co-ordination and delivery management in these sectors. Many software like ETABS, SAFE, STAAD, ROBOT, Revit, MicroStation, Tekla are used in different departments. I was fortunate to work in the buildings and rails station design team in Atkins for several years.
ARCADIS – This is another major MNC having operations in India and Bangalore in particular. Arcadis also have a big presence as much as Atkins and have departments ranging from Water and Environment, Bridges to infrastructure development.
There are many more similar firms operating from India. Some of them are AECOM, Balfour Beatty, WSP and Jacobs and Mott MacDonald. Since metro rail works are going on in most major cities in India, there are also many firms like Systra doing these major infrastructure works.
Take a look at another blog I have on the skills needed.
Local Structural Design consultants
There are many more mid-sized to large organizations focusing mostly on building design sector.
Some of them are Innotech, Design Tree, Sterling, Potential. Most of these firms focus on building structures. I also have a small sized consulting practice in the name Design Dimensions where we give part time opportunities to civilera students who demonstrate excellent skills during the training programs that civilera offers.
Top Developers & Builders , PMC firms & Contractors
Many leading builder firms are having an inhouse structural design team. Firms like Total Environment do have an excellent internal team that manages the design of the group. Shoba Developers also do have an internal team. Some of the builders like Brigade do have co-ordination roles for civil & structural engineers. Starting to work in such firms will give you opportunities to learn from project meetings and co -ordination meetings and slowly move to a complete design firm from the experience you gain. The site inspection and other skills that you can get from these firms are important as many of it you wont get in a conventional consulting firm.
Similar to these roles and more, Project management companies present a handful of opportunities for young civil engineering professionals. The role varies from project planning to overseeing the contractors work at site. You will need excellent communication skills and knowledge in tools like Primavera or MS Projects. You will also be responsible to co-ordinate the design development and this role present you an opportunity to understand a bit of each discipline.
Same way you will have opportunities as site engineers in a contracting firm. The role is not limited to site engineering. It covers quantification, mobilizing materials and resources. Handling day to day operations and processes in a contracting firm.
BIM Related career
BIM or Building information modelling is a very sought out field in the current scenario. BIM is not just smart but it also let you work remotely and is the need of the hour. Co-ordination is easy and abortive work is reduced by using BIM tools like Revit. It suits the current remote working most consultants prefers.
Tools like Revit that helps achieve BIM has a lot of career options especially in large corporates. I have written about this in another blog here
Many Architectural firms also may have a small team for structural design or co-ordination of the projects. One can get enough starting experience here and then move to larger specialized firms. Also, you will have opportunities to learn basics of planning. Estimation and quantification of materials are also generally the scope of a civil engineer in an architectural firm. In addition to this, site inspections give you opportunities to master detailing.
Precast technology is gaining popularity in India and the number of specialists is less. It is good to focus on understanding precast early in the career and master it. By the time you are experienced and an expert, there would be great opportunities to do business in this area.
Katerra is a major firm in precast structures and have a lot of opportunities for civil & structural engineers. They have an excellent factory in Krishnagiri and cater to the needs in India.
PT Slabs Design
Post Tensioning is generally a specialist job. Large span IT buildings and commercial spaces needs thin slabs and beams to ensure adequate floor heights. This demand has resulted in the popularity of PT slabs in Indian cities like Bangalore. PT slabs are not commonly done by general consultants and it is dealt by specialist consultants.
BBR is a firm in to design of PT slabs in Bangalore
Curtain wall systems/facades.
Any modern building has a façade that makes it aesthetically pleasing. There are various kinds of curtain wall systems and all these are popular in India. This field is again a specialist job and is usually a design and build item. There are many companies in this field.
There is also specialist building envelop consultants like Permasteelisa group where you can find career designing building envelopes.
Mechanical design companies, Aerospace design firms and similar
Quest is a major GDC for global firms like GE. They are primarily a mechanical company but then there are opportunities for civil engineers in auxiliary system design and on various mechanical structures.GE has standardized most of its work and some times it can be a process-oriented work than technical. There will be a good learning on international practices on standardization and process in addition to learning the latest tools in the industry. Working in such large corporates opens up many different career options later.
Refurbishment & NDT
There are many companies like Civil Aid Techno clinic / Bureau Veritas who focus on nondestructive testing and refurbishment. This is a very specialized area. Many clients prefer to refurbish existing buildings than to build new as it is cheaper to do that. Also, many large structures like stadium and railway stations needs periodic maintenance and testing and refurbishment to ensure that the structure remains safe and functional. These roles are challenging and needs good technical and co-ordination skills.
Many are focusing on getting a permanent job with the preparation for Government jobs. If one can acquire a good GATE score, you can apply for public sector companies like BEL, GAIL, IOCL, SAIL, Oil Indian Limited, Power Grid, Mecon Limited, FEDO and many more. otherwise, you can focus on staff selection commission, state government exams, or Indian engineering services. A good focus and thorough preparation of the subjects will help to get into this career path.
Research and Teaching
If you are a person with a high interest in going through articles and researching new ideas and organizing them to a proper document, you can opt for a research-oriented job. Many of the countries are welcoming very good researchers for innovative research. If you are passionate about sharing your knowledge and interested in making a new generation aware of the importance of your field, you can start your career as a mentor or a teacher, nowadays we lack good teacher who can influence a student. Other than normal colleges, there are many training firms like civilera who provide opportunities to youngsters for course content creation and blogs. Many of my students also have joined colleges abroad as teachers especially in Middle East and UK.
Software development Jobs
Analysis and Design companies like CSI, Bentley and Autodesk needs engineers to research on application software development. If you have good technical skills in civil and additional software programming language, you will have good opportunities in research and development. Also, Autodesk and similar firms are working on BIM workflows. Most of these need open APIs and will need to connect various other civil engineering apps and software. So, some one who has excellent product testing skills and ability to test workflows can do well in such roles.
Infrastructure industries have varied scope in future expansion creating thousands of vacancies. Lot of cities in India are seeing metro rails and airports being planned. It includes earthwork, tunneling, and bridges, cut-out, and backfills, roads and railways, drainage design, utility design, erosion control, etc. Software knowledge in SAP, CSI BRIDGE, Autodesk Structural Bridge Design, RISA, MIDAS Civil. etc. may be an added advantage in bridge engineering jobs. Knowledge of understanding of the basic analysis and design principles of bridges should be there for a bridge engineer position. knowledge of various IRC Codes, RDSO, and other codes may be an added advantage.
Offshore Structural Engineer
The offshore structural engineer should be responsible for reviewing the offshore structure, the structure being built in a marine environment. This includes the design and analysis of complex structures. Knowledge in the analysis design of modules structures using SACS software (offshore structural analysis and design software) is an added advantage. A strong understanding of finite element analysis and structural mechanics and dynamics will help you to get along with this career easily.
Forensic Structural Engineer
We are so familiar with word forensics. Yes, it is related to the investigation of a crime. But in our field, it is the investigation of reasons for a failure. Why the failure occurred, how it occurred, when it occurred during the construction phase or service phase, etc. should be analyzed and should make intelligent predictions and resolutions. In India, even though some high established companies are hiring for this position opportunities are very low. However, it is an emerging field and quite interesting, challenging and well paid too.
Steel design and truss design fields
Mastering Steel design, connection design and detailing have many career opportunities. Most of the students pay less attention to the steel design. Many detailing and modeling firms require good designers, modelers, and detailers. Tekla is a sought-out BIM tool in the steel design and detailing sector. It will be a good option to get trained in Tekla if you are interested to get into the steel industry. Many outsourcing job opportunities also waits for experts. Many firms are hiring truss detailers and designers. Mainly knowledge of timber structures and truss analysis is the primary requirement. software like MITEK sapphire, Eagle, Risa 2D truss analysis is used in this field. Freshers can gain experience in specialist roles in these jobs and later start outsourcing these works directly.
PEB- Pre-Engineered Buildings are popular in India for Industrial structures. There are various PEB firms in India where a fresher can get opportunities in design & build. Many roles may be techno-commercial where you do a bit of all-in-one role – Analysis and design of PEB structures, site inspections, client management, project management and so on.
Affiliates & Marketing
Specialists’ roles always need some technical expertise. If you are one who are not really technically inclined but have essential computer and marketing skills, then you can be affiliates of product companies. Many companies like Autodesk sell their products through affiliates and with an affiliate commission. You can find such affiliation with varied industries like lift manufacturers, façade suppliers, precast vendors and so on.
There are many construction chemicals and water proofing compound manufacturers who will want a civil engineer to take care of the techno - commercial role.
As a fresher, it may be a bit difficult to start a venture unless you can invest. However, you can try to join such firms and perform a marketing role, learn the industry and then switch to more suitable roles or start your own similar venture as you gain experience.
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There are different fields in civil engineering and there are various opportunities. If you are not finding a suitable job, the most important thing to do is to introspect. Most of the time, the issue may be with a lack of skillset to the applied job than lack of opportunities. You need to identify your interest, then prepare a career plan. Then work towards achieving your dream role it in a systematic and organized manner. Employers looks at your resourcefulness and attitude in addition to skillset. Work towards all of these aspects and you are likely to achieve your dream. Good luck if you are looking for a job in civil engineering.