“Engineers: solving problems you didn’t know you had in ways you don’t understand.”
Civil Engineering is arguably one of the worlds oldest professions. From bridge design to water treatment, the work of Civil Engineers has a daily impact on the lives of most people in the world. We can therefore see how important it is for Civil Engineers to possess certain qualities and skills. Here are the 5 most important:
1. Technical Skills. A good Civil Engineer should have a level of Mathematics and Physics that allows for the identification and solving of engineering problems. Lets put it this way, if a Structural Engineer wasn’t able to accurately work out how much weight is being distributed throughout a bridge, I for one wouldn’t like to be driving anywhere near that bridge.
Civil Engineers also need to be skilled in design techniques and working with maps, drawings and models, as well as CAD software. They need to be able to predict any possible future problems and find solutions for them.
2. Project Management. When problems arise, it is common for people involved in the project on all levels to look to the engineer for guidance and resolution. It is important that a Civil Engineer is able to step up to the task and manage a diverse team of professionals whilst maintaining the confidence of clients.
Civil Engineers also need to evaluate the work of others and ensure their work is in compliance with within any applicable laws, regulations and standards. They also need to make sure that they work within set budgets and time-frames.
3. Communication Skills. In Civil Engineering – perhaps more so than other Engineering fields – the ability to communicate effectively is a highly sought after skill. Whether dealing with Management or a client, Engineers need to be able to clearly communicate ideas and give direction leaving no ambiguity. They must also be able to listen and benefit from the ideas of others in the team.
4. Creativity. It could be said broadly that the role of Civil Engineers is applying Engineering principles to develop solutions within the built environment. More often than not, this requires a certain level of creativity. Engineers need to be able to innovate and improve on solutions. From finding ways to reduce CO2 emissions or making a trampoline bridge, creativity is key.
5. Critical Thinking. Civil Engineers often face complex problems and need to find efficient solutions for them. They need to be able to assess the pros and cons of all possible solutions, and they need to be decisive in order to choose the best one.
Civil Engineers generally require a very broad skill set and this list is in no way exhaustive but these 5 were what I saw to be the most important skills for a Civil Engineer.