Civil Engineering is one of the oldest and probably most popular branches of engineering. While we may not realize it, the roots of civil engineering were laid during ancient times, when a man decided to build a shelter to put a roof on his head in order to build a safe environment for living. The definition of civil engineering flows from this concept and involves the study, design, development, construction and maintenance of build environments for human beings. The common misconception among people regarding civil engineers is that they only supervise workers at construction sites; however the scope of civil engineering as a subject is very vast.
Scope of Civil Engineering
Going by the definition of civil engineering, the subject can be defined as the study, design, development and maintenance of the built environment. When we talk about build environments in the context of civil engineering, it involves both the natural environment and build environment.
- Natural Environment: Natural environment, as the name suggests includes everything that naturally appears on the surface of the earth. For instance, rivers, oceans, soil, and other habitat are all part of the natural environment.
- Build Environment: Build environment refers to manmade structures and artifacts that are created to make human lives better. These include dams, bridges, and buildings to water supply networks, aqueducts, parks and many more.
The main job of a civil engineer is to try and find a balance between these two environments in order to construct manmade structures that make human lives better, easier and more comfortable without hampering the natural ecology of the earth as well as ensuring economic feasibility and catering to the general needs of the human society.
Going by the above understanding, civil engineering has a vast scope of applications in addition to the core construction field. Any industry that is involved in the creation of sustainable infrastructure like oil and energy, chemicals, transportation, power, environmental and marine, need the help of civil engineers to create safe build environments.
Topics covered in the Civil Engineering Syllabus:
The general curriculum followed by civil engineering academic programmes deals with following topics and sub-domains.
- Engineering geology
- Geometrical drawing
- Civil engineering lab
- Basic electrical engineering
- Machine drawing
- Transportation planning
- Soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering
- Building materials and building construction
- Surveying and building construction
- Structure analysis
- Engineering chemistry
- Design and detailing of steel structures
- Electrical and electronics lab
- Fluid mechanics
- Business communication and technical report writing
In recent past, the field of civil engineering has undergone drastic changes with development and introduction of new and innovative fields and sub-domains. This has lead to the expansion of the specialization fields that are available to civil engineers at both undergraduate and postgraduate level programmes. The popular civil engineering specialization options available to students include:
- Geotechnical engineering
- Materials engineering
- Transportation engineering
- Infrastructure engineering
- Surveying, urban planning
- Water resources engineering
- Coastal engineering
- Environmental engineering
- Structural engineering
Civil Engineering v Architecture
One of the most common and confusing aspects about civil engineering is its comparison with architecture. Students are most often confused about either joining a B.Tech Civil Engineering programme or a B.Arch programme as both the courses deal with infrastructure development field and have many common topics and sub-domains as pointed out in the above section.
While Civil Engineering and Architecture may look and sound similar, they are two completely different fields. For the most part, they both work in collaboration to develop excellent infrastructural facilities. To simply understand the distinction between these two, we have to look at the job profiles handled by them.
- Architects: Architects primarily are involved in designing aspects of an infrastructure project. In other words, they are the ones who decide how the building will look after completion of the construction. They are in charge of deciding the shape, appearances, aesthetics, floor plans, layouts and other details.
- Civil Engineers: Civil engineers, on the other hand, are the one who decide about the practicality of the proposed design. They are the ones in charge of deciding the structural safety, integrity, strength of the building along with deciding the construction materials and changes in proposed designed to meet these parameters.
Eligibility for Civil Engineering Programmes
Students interested in joining civil engineering programmes can do so through any of the below-mentioned modes:
- After Class 10: Students interested in joining the civil engineering field after completion of their class 10th study can join a three-year diploma course in this subject. The Civil engineering diploma courses are aimed at teaching the practical aspects of construction and infrastructure management to students enabling them to get entry level position like junior civil engineers in construction companies.
- Undergraduate level: Students interested in taking up Civil Engineering at the undergraduate level can join B.Tech / B.E programme in civil engineering. The general academic qualifying criteria for B.Tech civil engineering programme is of 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as compulsory subjects. The majority of reputed institutes offering B.Tech in Civil engineering courses, shortlist candidates for admission the basis of national or state level entrance tests like JEE Main/JEE Advanced/ BITSAT.
- Postgraduate level: Students interested in higher studies in this field can opt for M.E/M.Tech in civil engineering offered by different institutes including IITs and NITs. The minimum qualification for M.Tech civil engineering is of a bachelor’s degree in the same domain. Many institutes grant admissions on the basis of GATE score.
Some technical institutes are also known to offer 5-year integrated M.Tech in civil engineering programme.
Career Prospects for Civil Engineers
Civil Engineers have traditionally been one of the most well-respected career choices available to students from engineering background. However, due to the recent Information Technology boom and expansion of software industry, the domain of civil engineering has been sidelined. However, the civil engineering sector has bounced back strongly to cater to the rising needs of development of credible and sustainable infrastructure in both public as well as private sector.
- Public Sector: Traditionally, civil engineers have found employment in public sector enterprises, which needs expansive development of public infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, public buildings, irrigation and other similar projects.
- Private Sector: However, recently the private sector has started offering more number of jobs to civil engineers compared to the public sector; thanks to the growing real estate sector. Apart from this, many private agencies have started working as consultants for government agencies to undertake public sector work as well; this has again led to the expansion of job opportunities in this field.
- International Market: According to many reports, the international market has been experiencing a severe shortage of civil engineering especially in developed countries. So, civil engineering can also be an ideal choice for students who are looking for rewarding career choices aboard.
If we go by the current trends, the field of civil engineering is going to see exponential development in coming years, with over 50,000 new jobs being offered in this sector every year. Even the central government has announced a recent push for the development of public infrastructural facilities across the country with an initial investment of Rs 50,000 crore.
Pay Package for Civil Engineers
Civil Engineers are one of the well-paid professionals from engineering backgrounds. In addition to the on-going real estate boom, the recent policy measures announced by the government have led to an increase in the demand for civil engineers across the country. Lack of credible candidates to fill these vacancies has resulted in a significant hike in the pay packages being offered to civil engineers in India.
- Diploma Holder: A civil engineering diploma holder will be offer entry-level position as a junior engineer with pay package in the range of Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000 per month.
- Civil Engineering Graduate: Candidates holding B.Tech in civil engineering degree joining infrastructure sector as fresher will be offered anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 per month.
- Experienced Civil Engineers: Experienced civil engineers, who possess 3-4 year of significant work experience of planning and executing infrastructural projects can expect a package of Rs 30,000 to 50,000 per month.
When it comes to pay packages, the private sector is known to be a better paymaster compared to the public sector; but it does suffer from frequent layoffs and recessions.
Top Civil Engineering Institutes
Top Civil Engineering Institutes that offer both undergraduate and postgraduate level academic programmes are:
- IITs – different locations
- NITs – different locations
- Loyola-ICAM College of Engineering and Technology (LICET)
- Sree Sastha Institute of Engineering & Technology
- Symbiosis Institute of Technology, Pune
- College of Engineering, Pune
- PSG College of Engineering
- Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology