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Insights What are the building blocks of a civil engineering career?

Civil engineering is a varied and exciting career choice. In recent years, the application of big data and technology on infrastructure projects has been transformative and has enabled engineering to be more creative and daring. Demand for civil engineers has hit an all-time high, particularly in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia with the rise of mega projects, such as Qiddiya, and much of this demand is due to the need to build more sustainably.

AtkinsRéalis is a global engineering, procurement and construction business, servicing industries such as infrastructure, water, and clean power. We base our core Business Strategy around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and earlier this year, we announced our commitment to Net Zero Carbon in ‘Our vision for engineering a sustainable society'. Our sustainability strategy and career opportunities entice civil engineers with curious minds to join us, and our portfolio of clients and projects encourages them to stay. Keep reading to find out how you can build a career in civil engineering at AtkinsRéalis.

image of a hand altering blueprint designs

What does a civil engineer do?

Civil engineers are responsible for designing and managing construction projects, including bridges, buildings, transport links, and sports stadiums. The world is reliant upon civil engineers to deliver some of the most important infrastructure that enables connectivity and global transportation, making a tangible difference to people’s lives. As a Senior Civil Engineer within the infrastructure sector, for example, you can expect to be responsible for producing infrastructure design packages, being the client contact for technical and design matters, and maintaining and developing client relationships, amongst other tasks; every day is different.

At AtkinsRéalis, our engineers are focused on improving efficiencies, driving sustainability and utilising cutting edge technologies to deliver safe and sustainable solutions, all whilst managing client expectations and stakeholder relationships.

How to become a civil engineer

Civil engineers typically have a good grasp of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM subjects) and to be successful in your career, it’s also useful to have problem-solving, data analysis, critical thinking, and communication skills. If you are in the early stages of choosing your career, it can be worthwhile attending a job fair and speaking to a professional in the industry, or alternatively obtaining work experience with an internship to find out if you enjoy it.

Once you’ve decided on a civil engineering career, there is more than one route to achieving your goal. You can gain experience on the job by starting as an Assistant Civil Engineer like Rose. She is working on a project using modern methods of construction and manages the design of housing products, and assists with keeping track of progress, spend and resource to ensure deadlines are met.

Alternatively, many professionals choose to undertake a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in civil engineering which provides subject-specific skills, including the ability to design and build bridges, and to plan the construction of highways to prevent flooding. A civil engineering degree takes around four years and generally includes work experience during your studies to gain insights into the planning and execution of engineering practices. Once you’ve completed your degree, you can apply for graduate development roles as a graduate civil engineer level, which provides a good platform to build upon.

Where can a civil engineering career take you?

Civil engineering careers are prosperous, fulfilling and can lead to a variety of opportunities. Following on from a graduate role, for example, the functional career path tends to be Site Engineer, Section Engineer, Project Engineer, Principal Engineer, Lead Engineer, Engineering Director and Group Technical Director. However, there are alternative routes from all these steps if you want to focus on a particular discipline, for example, Design, Operations or Project Management.

In recent years, global transportation trends have evolved with the increasing population and the ever-growing climate emergency. As a result, we are seeing sustainability in design edge up the priority list in civil engineering. As a discipline, civil engineering is reliant upon innovation, technology, and creative minds in order to ensure green practices are built into a project right from the design phase. Civil engineering jobs are therefore high in demand and your career might take you in exciting directions you may not have expected.

Build your future in civil engineering

We’re proud to have some of the most resourceful and innovative designers and engineers in the industry, who embed sustainability into design and utilise our route map to achieve our Net Zero Carbon goals. If you’ve got a creative mindset, you’re looking to build a successful career in civil engineering, and you’re keen to help us on our journey to Net Zero, we’d like to hear from you. At AtkinsRéalis, we believe the success of our teams depends, amongst other things, on a diversity of experience, so we also consider professionals seeking a career change and actively seek ways to encourage diversity and inclusion within civil engineering.

Start building for your future and browse our civil engineering jobs today.