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What Are the Different Types of Civil Engineer Jobs?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 11 March 2014
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Civil engineering is one of the most important jobs in the development of a functioning society. This profession covers a wide swath of planning and building, so there are civil engineer jobs in many fields. People who hold jobs in this field can have one of many roles, such as planning entire cities, building bridges, solving traffic nightmares or creating hydroelectricity.

One of the most popular civil engineer jobs is that of a city planner. This form of urban planning requires a great deal of foresight, because engineers must consider how best to design the layout of roads, neighborhoods, sidewalks, water systems, power lines and more in order to have a smoothly functioning place for people to live. These engineers need to take in physical factors such as terrain and various demographic data to plan a community properly.

A structural engineer can have one of the most stressful of all jobs in civil engineering, because failure to do excellent work can result in lost lives. This type of civil engineer focuses on building bridges and tunnels, so understanding physics and mathematics is crucial for planning how best to carve out a tunnel or span a wide river. This job also provides many rewards, because creating these structures helps travelers safely cross terrain that would be much more difficult without those structures.

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A traffic engineer frequently is hired by governmental transportation boards or by city governments. These types of civil engineer jobs look at a traffic situation, taking into account roads, exits, highways, the number of vehicles traveling all times of the day and those vehicles' destinations. From this data, traffic engineers attempt to find ways to clear congestion or avoid it in the future, often by building alternate roads or adding lanes.

Water resources engineering has become popular with the rise of environmental concerns around the world. These experts in fluid dynamics utilize water in many ways. Some of these jobs focus on harnessing the power of rushing rivers in order to create hydroelectricity. Some engineers, though, look at a community's water supply and attempt to find ways to conserve it or even purify it for consumption.

Environmental engineers are one of the most overlooked groups of all of the civil engineer jobs. People with these jobs frequently deal with cleaning up and properly disposing of environmental waste. Whether determining ways to clean rivers or inventing underground storage facilities for toxic materials, these people consider chemical and environmental sciences when working on designs.

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Discuss this Article

pleonasm
Post 3

Urban planning is particularly difficult because there are so many factors to take into account.

Most of the time what is good for the individual, or at least what the individual prefers is not what's good for the group as a whole.

Like everyone wanting a backyard, but also to be close to the city center. This is why so many cities sprawl all over the place, making public transport a nightmare.

It would be better if people understood that you have to trade space for convenience sometimes.

It's a shame because cities often grow up on fertile land, since it attracts settlers and industry. So, when the city gets big, it takes over the fertile land, which is a waste.

Mor
Post 2

We often joke about traffic engineers and how they could build little short cuts into their own systems. Or ways of taking revenge on people they don't like.

Like at those red lights that only allow a couple of people onto the highway at a time. I know they are supposed to stop you from gumming up the traffic flow and causing a jam. People riding too close to those in front of them is the main cause of traffic jams.

But if you were the engineer that designed the system, you could make yourself a little remote control that would turn the light green for you, and turn it red for people you don't like.

I know they probably don't do it but it is fun to joke about it!

pastanaga
Post 1

I knew a guy who worked in a civil engineering firm in New Zealand. He didn't have a civil engineering job, he worked as an IT consultant or something like that.

But he was there after the first earthquake hit Christchurch, the one that didn't claim any lives and that was a good time for them. They had been involved in a lot of the planning for many of the buildings and it was wonderful that no one had been hurt and the damage was not what it could have been.

My friend left the job soon after that, so I don't know what it was like when the second earthquake hit.

It must be dreadful knowing that people had died in a building you helped design.

I mean, I think most of the buildings were as good as to be expected in an area with no history of earthquakes, but it would still be very difficult to live with.

You'd have to remind yourself that it could have been much worse.

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