Civil Engineer

Job Description:

Civil engineers design, manage, and maintain construction projects.

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will do:

You could work in these areas of engineering:

  • structural (dams, buildings, offshore platforms and pipelines)
  • transportation (roads, railways, canals and airports)
  • environmental (water supply networks, drainage and flood barriers)
  • maritime (ports, harbours and sea defences)
  • geotechnical (mining, earthworks and construction foundations)

You’ll be:

  • planning with the client
  • analysing surveys, testing and mapping data using computer modelling software
  • creating blueprints using computer aided design (CAD)
  • judging if projects are worth doing by looking at costs, time and labour
  • checking risks and the effects on the environment
  • preparing bids for tenders, and reporting to clients and government agencies
  • managing and checking progress at each stage
  • making sure sites follow health and safety rules


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of building and construction

As well as:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • complex problem-solving skills (creative skills)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Civil Engineer, you’ll need a solid foundation in mathematics and science, along with a range of other skills. While there are no specific subjects required, the following subjects and skills can be beneficial for preparing for a career in Civil Engineering:

  1. Mathematics (Maths): A strong foundation in mathematics is crucial for civil engineering, as it forms the basis for many engineering calculations and problem-solving tasks. Aim for a high level of proficiency in Mathematics.
  2. Science Subjects: Physics and Chemistry provide essential knowledge about physical principles, materials, and chemical processes relevant to civil engineering. These subjects are particularly important if you plan to specialize in specific areas of civil engineering.
  3. Design and Technology (DT): Courses related to design and technology can introduce you to engineering principles, materials, and manufacturing processes. Understanding design concepts is valuable for civil engineering projects.
  4. English Language: Effective communication skills, both written and verbal, are essential for documenting engineering plans, writing reports, and collaborating with colleagues and clients.
  5. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Proficiency in using computers, software, and engineering-related applications is valuable in modern civil engineering practice.
  6. Geography (Optional): Geography can provide insights into environmental and geographical factors that may be relevant to civil engineering projects, such as site selection and environmental impact assessments.
  7. Environmental Science (Optional): While not typically available, courses in environmental science can provide a deeper understanding of environmental issues and sustainable engineering practices.

Post School

You’ll usually need an engineering degree (BEng) or a Master’s degree (MEng) in civil engineering.

You could start as a technician and study part-time for an HND or foundation degree, leading to a degree in civil engineering.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may work evenings and weekends.

You’ll spend time in an office and on project sites.

Career Path & Progression:

With incorporated or chartered engineer status, you could move into senior project management roles. You could also specialise in a particular engineering field, work in research or become a consultant. You could work overseas with British consulting firms, and for oil and mining companies.

You could also work for international development and disaster relief agencies.