Plan man

Scope unlimited: Be it infrastructure, tourism, or any sector of development, civil engineers play a crucial role

The lowdown

Civil engineering is about the design and planning, construction, supervision, quality control and maintenance of physical structures, such as buildings, roads, bridges, dams, canals, sea ports, power plants and airports. Specialisations include structure, transportation, geo-technical and geo-environmental, and water resources engineering. Employers include municipal bodies, the defence forces, National Highway Authority of India, government development arms like the DDA and Noida Authority, BHEL, Larsen & Toubro, etc. The Union Public Service Commission holds the Indian Engineering Services exam for the Indian Railway Service of Engineers, Central Engineering Service, and other services. Today, in the world at large and in any sector such as  infrastructure, services and tourism, the basics have to be provided by civil engineers — roads, bridges, ports, power plants, dams, fertiliser plants, nuclear plants, schools. There is tremendous scope for those of you planning to make a career in this field

A day in the life of a civil engineer:
9am: Reach office. Work on designs and projects on the computer using software such as AutoCAD, STAAD and ANSYS
10am: Examine the draughtsman’s drawings, based on the engineer’s design of columns for an upcoming project. Make changes, finalise it and send it to the site
11am: Look at the diary for the projects in the works. Shoot off mails to the mechanical and electrical departments for inputs
12.30pm: Go through inputs received from various departments for other projects. If any clarification is required, fire an email back
1.30pm - 2pm: Lunch
2pm: Go through emails and correspondence from customers asking for clarifications and commenting on my drawings
5pm: Summarise the entire work — prepare a report and see if any follow-up is required. Call the travel desk to check on my air tickets for a district in Jharkhand where some technical problem has cropped up
6pm: Done for the day
The schedule of a site engineer would be different, involving supervision and people and material management

The payoff
In general, a fresh civil engineer can make Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 a month. Someone with 15-20 years’ experience can earn Rs. 75,000 to Rs. 1 lakh a month. In the government sector, for example, the CPWD director general earns Rs. 80,000 a month

* Spatial thinking — ability to visualise a design 
* Quantitative skills 
* Quick decision-making skills
* People-orientation
* Physical stamina

Getting there
Take up science with maths at Class 12. After this you may go for a BE/BTech degree in civil engineering or a diploma. Admission to degree programmes is usually through a competitive test. Diploma-holders have the option of upgrading to the bachelor’s level through the Associate Membership of the Institution of Engineers

Institutes and URLs
* Indian Institutes of Technology, Delhi, Bombay, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Roorkee and Bhubaneswar
* Institute of Technology, Varanasi
* Delhi Technological University, New Delhi
* Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani

Pros and cons
* You might get to work on prestigious projects
* Good compensation
* For the hard work involved, you won’t be recognised outside your domain
* You’ll be hauled up if a structure (building, bridge, road, etc) has a problem
* Hectic work schedule

Quality civil engineers are in great demand, both in domestic and international arena. One must be hard working and capable of working in a team. Physical fitness also counts -- AK Gupta, head, department of civil engineering, Delhi Technological University


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