What do you learn under civil engineering

The civil engineer

Tasks | Career prospects | Salary | Current jobs

The job as a civil engineer is
  • is very versatile
  • is very common
  • is technically very interesting
  • has a great responsibility
  • is well paid
Duties as a civil engineer
  • Construction planning
  • Structural analysis
  • Material selection
  • Further development of already existing business areas
  • Construction management
Annual salary:
35.000 € – 60.000 €

Depending on

  • work experience
  • Qualifications
  • Length of service with the company
  • specialization

Do you know your way around construction sites and love the smell of fresh concrete? But you want to have a decent salary and like to do math? Then the civil engineer could be the right job for you. Here you can find out exactly what the individual tasks of the Civil engineer are what responsibility he has to bear and what you can earn in the job.

In addition, we will tell you where you can acquire the right qualifications. The job prospects are very good: The saying “There is always construction” still applies today! With a civil engineer degree in your pocket, you can also tackle many other professions.

Table of Contents

Frequently asked questions about the civil engineer

What does a civil engineer do?

= A civil engineer calculates the statics of a construction and takes care of the efficient implementation of a construction project.

Current vacancies as a civil engineer

Civil engineer: definition

The civil engineer is the academic title that everyone must have who wants to do major calculations for buildings and structures. There are some similarities to being an architect. While architects are mainly concerned with the appearance, functionality and effect of a building, the civil engineer is responsible for calculating, calculating and planning. Civil engineers are by no means “couch potatoes”: Their presence on the construction site is often required and is part of the civil engineer’s area of ​​responsibility.

A civil engineer therefore often forms a team with an architect. Roughly speaking, the architect always has the finished construction in mind: Aesthetics, functionality, harmony in the environment and long-term usability are the architectural approaches.

The civil engineer, on the other hand, focuses on the building's development process. He takes care of everything that has to be calculated, calculated and planned. As a result, he is usually much more often on the construction site and close to the craftsmen. The tasks of the civil engineer go far beyond calculating the statics of a building. Depending on the type of building, numerous other factors must also be calculated. These include, for example, sustainability or energy efficiency.

But factors such as the size of the construction project, the context in which the building is being erected and the wishes of the client also play a major role in the everyday work of a civil engineer.
Ultimately, the civil engineer is also responsible for site management and safety on the construction site. For larger projects, he is therefore often permanently on site in order to keep an eye on construction progress.

As a civil engineer you can specialize in different areas. A distinction is made, for example, between building construction and civil engineering. In structural engineering, you specialize in buildings that are erected above the ground, for example residential buildings, shopping centers or administrative buildings - statics is a particularly important topic here. In contrast to this, civil engineering is based on the construction of structures under or directly on the earth. This includes the supply and disposal infrastructure as well as the road network.

Two disciplines can be defined in which you can work as a civil engineer:

Orientation civil engineerCompany orientedEmployee-oriented
ExplanationThe civil engineer calculates the building so that it is statically stable and secure over the planned period of use.The civil engineer has to have a very good command of the subject. Human lives and millions of dollars depend on his calculations.
tasksCalculation, calculation, material selection, site management, securityKnowledge of statics, materials science, business administration, construction processes, safety requirements

Civil engineer: requirements

The civil engineer is a very exciting job. But it also comes with an enormous responsibility. Construction errors cost your company very dearly and often cannot be repaired. That is why you have to be extremely sure of everything you do.

Before you apply to be a civil engineer, consider whether the following statements apply to you:

I have a great sense of responsibility.
I can perform complex calculations reliably and correctly.
I'm interested in building materials and construction in general.
I can get along well with people from different backgrounds.
I can assert myself against employees, suppliers and superiors.
I am interested in the technical progress in construction and always keep myself up to date.
I accept long working days or several weeks of external assignments.

Your skills

The above questions are intended to give you a rough idea of ​​what a civil engineer can expect. Above all, do not underestimate the required willingness to conflict. As a civil engineer, it is sometimes not easy to assert yourself against construction workers, architects and entrepreneurs. Especially when it comes to safety, you can't compromise: every accident on the construction site can ultimately fall back on you! The civil engineer has an enormous responsibility. You have to be able to wear them.

The following previous experience can help you very well in this job:

  • Training as a construction worker and several years of practical experience
  • Training as a draftsman
  • Training as a construction technician
  • Laborers on construction sites, even while they were still at school
  • Very good knowledge of mathematics and physics
  • Teamwork, membership in a club (communication skills)
  • Study of civil engineering

Civil engineer: apprenticeship & studies

You will become a civil engineer through a relevant degree in which you acquire this title.

Here we have put together some universities and technical colleges where you can study for the professional goal of "civil engineering":

You can upgrade any successful BA degree with an additional degree to become a master’s. This is not absolutely necessary for the job. You may have to change your place of study to do this.

In the civil engineer apprenticeship you will learn:

  • Surveying
  • Construction chemistry and building physics
  • Building construction and statics
  • Construction mechanics
  • Building informatics

After acquiring these basics, you will specialize in your desired area after 3 semesters. It can be:

  • Building construction
  • Civil engineering
  • Redevelopment
  • Hydraulic engineering and coastal engineering
  • Sustainable Building

However, this is only a very small selection of possible specialties. There is now a very wide selection.

Current vacancies & jobs

Civil engineer: entry

There are usually three options for entering a particular occupation:

Graduate (studies / training)

It is ideal if you can start studying civil engineering with previous knowledge. That is why the engineer can definitely serve as a good long-term goal, even if you initially only have a secondary school diploma. You can get a job if you already have a BA degree three years after graduating from high school.

If you have learned the construction industry "from scratch", then you always have an advantage. Therefore: As a trained bricklayer or shutterer, you can work up to a civil engineer if you have the interest and the "bite" to do so. Depending on how old you are, you should first be able to learn to orientate yourself on construction sites. A vacation job as a construction assistant is ideal for this.

Here you get to know the construction processes, know everyday life on the construction site and learn a lot about safety. Because construction sites are dynamic and sometimes dangerous workplaces, that's in their nature. If you only got in contact with construction during your studies, then use the semester break for auxiliary jobs. This gives you the opportunity to get to know the core of your studies practically.

Math and physics have to suit you. It is of no use if you are interested in construction but fail at the rule of three. When calculating and calculating the statics, there is little room for error or compromise. In the best case scenario, you will only waste money with your miscalculations, in the worst case scenario something will collapse and you will endanger human life.

A civil engineer degree is an absolute must for this job. A lateral entry is not possible. The very least that you have to bring with you in order to be able to cover a comparable area of ​​responsibility as a civil engineer is the construction technician or the master. However, both degrees only cover some of the options that you have as a civil engineer.

Helpful soft skills as a civil engineer

There is a lot of activity on construction sites. In-house employees and external companies often romp here in a confined space. That does not remain free of conflict. As a civil engineer, you therefore need a robust nature. You come into contact with employees and superiors with a wide variety of backgrounds and levels of knowledge and must be able to work constructively with them.

  • Negotiation confidence & assertiveness
  • Social skills
  • Resilience
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Self-motivation
  • Entrepreneurial competence
  • Precise way of working
  • creativity
  • Organizational skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Good knowledge of English (with international orientation)

Civil engineer: industries & areas

Civil engineers are not only needed to build power plants and high-rise buildings. Practically every construction project needs someone who calculates it in advance down to the tenth place behind the decimal point. That makes your work area very wide.

However, a special additional qualification is required for many special areas. As a finished civil engineer, you always get easy access to it. This is especially true if you already have a lot of experience. Civil engineers are needed in the following areas:

Concrete renovation and repair

As a freshly qualified civil engineer from the university of applied sciences, you can expect a starting salary of 40,000 euros per year. However, this increases very quickly with your experience. If you are diligent and reliable, this salary can increase quickly. Since you as a civil engineer also have many opportunities for self-employment, there is practically no upper limit to the salary, for example if you have your own construction business or structural engineering office at some point. However, if you have this goal, you should say goodbye to the 35-hour week.

Career prospects& Career opportunities

further education

Lifelong learning is part of the job as a civil engineer. New technologies are constantly being developed or new laws come out that you should know about. To give two examples:

  • For decades, styrofoam was THE standard insulation material used in houses. However, this plastic-based insulation material has been under discussion since the fire in the Grenfell Tower in London. A ban is not entirely ruled out, so that there may be a lot of dismantling and reconstruction work to be done here.
  • 3D printing is emerging as a medium-term revolution in construction. The machines, which are still in the prototype stage, can already erect walls or small houses in no time using the spraying process. A great deal will happen in this area in the near future. As a civil engineer, you have to keep an eye on these developments.

Promotion opportunities & career prospects

Your worth and your salary as a civil engineer grows with your experience. The more successful projects you can show, the more people will trust you in the next project. This gradually turns you from a self-executing engineer to a team leader who has to look after a group of specialists.

From there, things can go on and on within a company. If you want to get to the top, an additional qualification as a business economist is helpful. In the combination of civil engineer and business economist, you can make it into the management of a construction company.

Current jobs as civil engineer

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