How to Start a Career in Civil Engineering

In India, the vast majority (about 98%) of all engineering bachelor’s degrees are awarded in a specific field (discipline) of engineering. Thus, it is important to have a specific engineering discipline(s) in mind when evaluating engineering colleges (and many colleges will ask (or require) that you specify a particular discipline when you apply for admissions, although there is usually some flexibility granted students to transfer from one discipline to another, typically after the first year of studies).

Based on the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded annually, the engineering majors offered at colleges and universities can be roughly divided into one of four size-based categories:

  • The “Big Four” Disciplines: Civil, Computer, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering, which together collectively account for approximately two-thirds (67%) of all engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded annually.
  • The “Medium Four” Disciplines: Aerospace, Biomedical, Chemical, and Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering, which collectively account for approximately 20% of all engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded annually.
  • The “Smaller Ten” Disciplines: Agricultural, Architectural, Engineering Management, Engineering Physics/Engineering Science, Environmental, General Engineering Studies, Materials, Mining, Nuclear, and Petroleum Engineering, which collectively account for less than 10% of all engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded annually.
  • The Specialty Disciplines: A variety of specialty disciplines offered (such as Ocean Engineering) that collectively account for less than 5% of all engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded annually.

In this article we will be talking about civil engineering, one of the big four disciplines.

Civil engineering is one of the oldest branches of engineering as it is being used since time immemorial in building houses, palaces, canals, dams, highways, stadia etc. This branch of engineering has the broadest and the most visible applications in daily life.

Courses for Civil Engineering:

  • Diploma Course

            Eligibility Criteria: Class 10

             Duration: 3 years

  • BTech/BE Course

            Eligibility Criteria: 10+2 with PCM (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics)

            Duration: 4 years

  • ME/MTech Course

            Eligibility Criteria: BTech/BE Course

            Duration: 2 years

Those interested in higher studies and research can apply for a doctoral program. Higher studies are generally pursued in primary areas of specialization.

Primary Areas of Specialization:

  1.  Construction Management (combining engineering and management skills to complete construction projects designed by other engineers and architects).
  2. Environmental Engineering
  3. Geotechnical Engineering (analysis of soils and rock in support of engineering projects/applications - building foundations, earthen structures, underground facilities, dams, tunnels, roads, etc)
  4. Structural Engineering (design of all types of stationary structures - buildings, bridges, dams, etc.)
  5. Surveying (measure/map the earth’s surface in support of engineering design and construction projects and for legal purposes - locating property lines, etc.)
  6. Transportation Engineering (design of all types of transportation facilities/systems – streets/highways, airports, railroads, other mass transit, harbors/ports, etc.)
  7. Water Resources Engineering (control and use of water, focusing on flood control, irrigation, raw water supply, and hydroelectric power applications)

Job Profiles for Civil Engineers:

  • Professor and Teachers
  • Researcher
  • Chief Engineer
  • Senior Engineer
  • Project Manager
  • Supervisory Engineer

Associated Professional Society: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) (

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