New, Amateur Civil Engineer!
Current time: 04-15-2021, 02:58 AM
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Author: rtyler
Last Post: arpeggio
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New, Amateur Civil Engineer!
Hey guys. My name is Ross, I'm 22 years old and just recently started getting a big liking for civil engineering. My uncle came back from Dubai and the pictures are one of the things that just set me off. My whole life I have loved architecture and what not. So after years of working to figure out what I want to do in life I'm headed on that track. Currently enrolled in community college to finish out two years of classes, then I want to transfer to a CSU with a good Civil Engineering Program. ( I live in California. )

I'm wondering if anyone has any background into what it will be like in the whole. I understand the coursework loads and all the hard times I will have but I mean can anyone tell me the real experience of being a civil engineer? Anything to really spark my interest, something you have done or seen that has really made you love being an engineer?

I will be looking forward to hanging around these forums...

Thanks all!
[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to rtyler for this post:
  • ska51
Ok, Mr. Ross. First of all, if you are getting into engineering make sure it is not for money. If you want money become a lawyer, a politician or a surgeon. If you are getting into engineering, make sure you love it as you would love someone who you are willing to marry.

Second, choose which field you want to specialize on, specially if you are already 22. You will have a hard time if you decide to switch half way at the age of 27 after you are done. It will take you at least 4 years to finish if you are starting from scratch.

Your fields of choice (in general): general civil, field engineer, structural, management, hydrology, environmental. If you decide to specialize with a Master's afterwards: structural (subdivided into concrete, wood, steel, masonry), construction materials science, forensics, MBA, transportation.

As for my personal experience: I started being a field supervisor for a precast concrete plant. There I supervised Double T's concrete pours, precast erections (including 3 story apartment buildings and a convention center). After that I was a field supervisor for a subway, several miles long. Then I worked for a civil site design/development firm. Following this I became a senior project manager for the International Design winning award for year 2010, 3-40 story buildings united at selected floors. During my Master's I designed concrete mixes high in microfines, while doing structural design for buildings part time. Currently, I am a structural designer for an international company that designs marine platforms.

So as you can see, the structural engineer training will allow you to be versatile, but you have to enjoy it. Finally, I would recommend you do an internship in a civil engineering firm/contractor, even if it is volunteering, so that you can get exposure to it before you get into this career choice.

Best of lucks with your choices. Regards, MDMH
[-] The following 7 users say Thank You to mdmh10 for this post:
  • shaqee, rendel_©, 3fan, rezart, udhay, ska51, deadlord
Hi, i would recommend you to watch The Great Course Video: Understanding World's Greatest Structures. Really it's to understand the physics we usually ignored in our study. Hope after watching this you will appreciate how those past great engineers/founding father think when they design the structure and of course how you would start to design one of your own later in real situation. I think it will help you a lot to imagine what the civil engineering class will look like especially for structural engineering.


When I was a brand new engineer, I had a non-paid small job (favor) for someone. They asked me to design a one floor public building, as it was an easy task and I was a new excited engineer; I did it. I sat down and drew everything and gave it to them. About a month later, they built it and when I entered the one floor building that I was drawing one month earlier, It was like I was walking inside of my computer and the walls and doors and windows, everything was exactly where I've put them. I cannot describe the excitement I felt that day, even though It was a very small structure and what I did was more of an architect's work. I was very glad to be a civil engineer.

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