LICENSE TO BUILD
Civil engineering has evolved from its traditional concept into a career with immense growth and scope to aspire
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.
A civil engineer assisting at a project site and keeping a tab on the material being used.