Civil en­gi­neer­ing has evolved from its tra­di­tional con­cept into a ca­reer with im­mense growth and scope to as­pire

India Today - - CIVIL - By Mar­cia Ro­drigues

Man is known to have three ba­sic re­quire­ments: food, shel­ter and cloth­ing. Of the three, two are gov­erned by civil engineers and as long as mankind ex­ists, the need for civil engineers will re­main. This pro­fes­sion has evolved and mul­ti­plied sev­eral folds. The tra­di­tional thought that civil en­gi­neer­ing is all about con­struc­tion does not ex­ist. It also in­volves rais­ing good in­fra­struc­ture with not just brick and ce­ment but pro­vid­ing good ameni­ties such as electricity, water and more. Dr. D. Kasthuri, dean, SSN Col­lege of En­gi­neer­ing, Chen­nai, says, “Civil en­gi­neer­ing has sev­eral branches, of which struc­tural en­gi­neer­ing, mod­ern meth­ods of civil con­struc­tion, foun­da­tion en­gi­neer­ing, water re­sources en­gi­neer­ing, en­vi­ron­men­tal en­gi­neer­ing, earth­quake en­gi­neer­ing, re­mote sens­ing and trans­porta­tion en­gi­neer­ing are com­mon among stu­dents in In­dia.”

A pro­fes­sion that came into be­ing with the be­gin­ning of civ­i­liza­tion now in­volves much be­yond. D. N. Singh, civil en­gi­neer and pro­fes­sor says, “Civil En­gi­neer­ing in­volves di­rectly deal­ing with the prob­lems of so­ci­ety and find­ing so­lu­tions to them. One has to be good in his sub­jects but apart from that must also have a per­spec­tive of the so­cioe­co­nomic norms in so­ci­ety.” The roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of a civil en­gi­neer have changed to­day which has broad­ened its scope. Singh adds that a civil en­gi­neer, with­out com­pro­mis­ing on his as­sign­ment has to en­sure that he does not make way for chaos and also en­sure mea­sures to curb car­bon foot­print. Singh says, “An en­gi­neer needs to be in con­stant flow with his work. It is not a white col­lar job but de­mands one’s pres­ence on the field at all times, stay­ing en­gaged in his work and lead­ing his team to com­plete the as­sign­ment fur­nished with qual­ity.”

An en­gi­neer’s day is al­ways tight and may in­volve project plan­ning to data col­lec­tion, sur­vey­ing, de­sign­ing and cost es­ti­mat­ing. “A civil en­gi­neer mostly works out­side the in­te­ri­ors of his of­fice. Only de­sign­ing and es­ti­mat­ing costs are done in­doors,” says Kasthuri. An elab­o­rate amount of lab­o­ra­tory re­search is also re­quired in ev­ery branch of civil en­gi­neer­ing. With new ma­te­ri­als and meth­ods be­ing in­vented con­tin­u­ously, a civil en­gi­neer needs to be at par with his con­tem­po­raries. The work in­volves phys­i­cal labour and while men­tor­ing his team, he may also have to be con­scious about the money be­ing spent on the project. Thus, it can be sum­marised as a pro­fes­sion which de­mands not just time and at­ten­tion but phys­i­cal labour and men­tal at­ten­tion.

As a pro­fes­sor, Kasthuri says, “The ad­vent of multi­na­tion­als in In­dia has in­creased the need for civil engineers.” The mar­ket has in­creas­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for pro­fes­sion­als, yet, one needs to be good in or­der to prove his worth. Singh adds, “There is no dearth of money in this sec­tor but most or­gan­i­sa­tions are seek­ing qual­ity pro­fes­sion­als who work with ex­per­tise and skill. Money should never be one’s ap­proach to­wards es­tab­lish­ing a ca­reer, learn­ing and prov­ing your skills should re­main a pri­or­ity.” In this pro­fes­sion, one may have to work hard but there is scope for one to achieve mile­stones through it.

HE­MANT CHAWLA / www. in­di­a­to­day­im­ages. com

A civil en­gi­neer as­sist­ing at a project site and keep­ing a tab on the ma­te­rial be­ing used.

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