Career Satisfaction

For this career, by 17 people, from 10 (best) to 1 (worst).

Avg. rating: 8   

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Inside Civil Engineer Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you


Biggest Surprises

"Writing Skill Are Very Important...
I was most surprised at the amount of written reports that are required for my profession. I did not expect to have to do so many" (Civil Engineer; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, male
School: Studied Civil Engineering at NJIT in New Jersey; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Being Consistent Is One Of The Best Things An Engineer Can Be...
Getting to travel all over the world, working with a dredging company, working on the water and building islands is pretty awesome." (Project Manager; 2014)

Career: , currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Civil Engineering at Texas A&M in Texas; completed Master degree in 2004

"Management An Important Part Of Daily Activities...
I am surprised that I barely use the coursework done while acquiring my degree in the real world. The amount of management involved in my job." (Project Engineer; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, male
School: Studied Civil Engineering at Georgia Institute Of Technology in Georgia; completed Bachelor degree in 2007

"Do They Make High-Heeled Steel Toe Safety Shoes...
I really don't like engineering although I am very good at it. I do like organizing and I am very good when it comes to logic and problem solving so I succeed in my job, however, I would rather be shopping for shoes!" (Civil Engineer; 2014)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in Connecticut, female
School: Studied Business Administration at BayPath College in Massachusetts; completed Master degree in 2008

"Wide Range Of Available Jobs...
I was most surprised how many different fields were available for just one engineering degree. If you really like the technical math aspect, you can definitely find a job in that field. If you're more like me, and you like the hands on more than the doing math, there are engineering jobs for that too." (Engineer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Civil Engineering at Southern Methodist University in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"School Prepares You For The Real World...
I was surprised about how much college prepared me for the job I have. Also getting involved in the world of engineering to network." (Civil Engineer; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Civil Engineering at Us Santa Barbara in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Work Duties...
I was surprised that most of the design work has already been done before, in one way or another. It's more like detective work to find what's appropriate to use. Also there are positions in the field, not just desk jobs." (Civil Engineer; 2014)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Civil Engineering at Villanova University in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 1993

"Behind The Scenes Of University Research...
The biggest surprise to being an academic research technician is getting to see what goes on behind the scenes at universities. A lot of the work that you do with universities are government-funded projects, and you can really stay up to date on what the government is prioritizing in terms of research. The trade-offs between what is important and how government funding controls research topics is astounding." (Research Technician; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied Civil Engineering at Georgia Institute Of Technology in Georgia; completed Master degree in 2012

"Projects Are Diverse In Nature...
I was surprised at the amount of variety of work there is. I have designed everything from a park, to roads to wastewater treatment plants. There are always new challenges everyday. It is also a very social job, you need to be able to interact with clients, other engineering disciplines and regulatory agencies." (Civil Engineer; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Forest Engineering at SUNY ESF in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 1997

"I was surprised how much different schooling was from the job I have and how hard it was to find a job. College was a challenge for me the entire time and I was doubting my career choice because of how hard I found it. Once I finally found a job though I was glad that my job was challenging but not as difficult as school had been for me." (Civil Engineer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, male
School: Studied Civil Engineering at University Of Missouri in Missouri; completed Master degree in 2011

"I was surprised that I would have to find functional solutions to problems that I didn't have the numbers for. That's something I didn't have to deal with and it wasn't covered thoroughly in college." (Chief Engineer; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, female
School: Studied Civil Engineering at Texas A & M in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"Hours Can Be Irregular...
I found it very helpful when I decided to follow methods of other experienced engineers but also involved my own methods I learned in college. Always be open to new concrete finishing techniques, you will be able to apply the "technology" part to your work when you do so. I was surprised to find out in my first paving project that one must have to be very flexible and have a flexible time slot because some projects can be at night or very early in the mornings." (Concrete Finisher; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, male
School: Studied Civil Engineering at Georgia Southern University in Georgia; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"I was surprised that it takes so much out of my life. Also I found it surprising that my schooling isn't really as helpful as hands on experience for my career." (Engineer; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Civil Engineering at University Of Illinois At Chicago in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Civil Engineer: "The best parts of my job include working on different projects which makes it interesting. I am always learning new things on every job. Its extremely enjoyable to see what you design get constructed. Working with others to solve problem. The worst parts include interacting with persons who often oppose a project. Trying to get a project through the state and town permitting process which can be time consuming and laborious. Dealing with problems that arise during construction." (2011)

Engineer: "Being able to interact with a wide variety of people as well as gaining an understanding of how everyday things work is one of the best things about my career. I get to be a part of building various structures that will last for many years and provide service to many. One of the worst things about my career are the hours required to be effective. My day starts at 7 am and usually I am not home until after 7pm. I also have to work many Saturdays during the summer time." (2011)

Senior Civil Engineer: "I appreciate the flexibility in the hours I work, as long as I have my 80 for the two week pay period I can pretty much adjust my schedule as needed. The worst part of my job is that I have to travel overseas at least once a month." (2011)

Transportation Planner: "The best part of my job is that I truly feel I am doing something to improve people's lives. It is satisfying to see a transportation project I worked on being built and making life better for others, and to tell people I worked on that. The worst part is that my job is dealing with the politics among elected officials. The larger good of the region doesn't always prevail when it's confronted by the clout of special interests." (2010)

Career Background

Civil Engineer

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Detail Oriented...
If you want to be an engineer, it's best to be a very detail oriented person. Small details can affect your work greatly." (Civil Engineer; 2014)

"Communication Is Key...
If you want to be successful as a research technician, or post doctorate research professional at a university, you really need to know how to communicate well. Expect working at odd hours and up until deadlines that are continuously being pushed back. Be flexible! You have to know how to connect with your peers and work with them effectively, because everything you do will be part of a team." (Research Technician; 2014)

"Learn From My Mistake...
I would suggest fully researching what you would like to do in the end with your degree. I would also say that finding an internship will be enormously instrumental in helping you succeed in the industry." (Civil Engineer; 2014)

"Tips For Advancement...
Be willing to travel, and have a positive attitude, learn from the senior guys." (Project Manager; 2014)

"Pay Attention In All Of Your Classes...
if you want to be a successful engineer make sure to pay attention to all of your classes not just the career specific ones. the writing and presentation classes are just as helpful and the engineering classes." (Civil Engineer; 2014)

"Engineering Helps People...
Engineering is fun and self fulfilling." (Civil Engineer; 2014)

"Lifelong Satisfaction...
Only enter into engineering if you have a genuine interest. The undergrad work is very challenging. Choose civil engineering if you want to be out of the office working outdoors." (Project Engineer; 2013)

"Get Good Grades And Experience...
If you want to be successful in engineering, not only should you focus on your grades, but also try to get as many internships, as early as you possibly can. Internships show that you have experience, and it makes employers a lot more interested." (Engineer; 2013)

"Many Paths In Civil Engineering...
There are many different branches of civil engineering (structural, transportation, geotechnical, environmental. Speak to as many people as possible in the field to determine what branch is best for you. Take advantage of co-op programs and internships to get a variety of civil engineering jobs. This will help your resume and give you a better idea of different civil engineering job opportunities. Make sure you have a good working knowledge of the computer programs used (AutoCAD, Excel, Word), they are a great asset to have when looking for a job." (Civil Engineer; 2011)

"Math Skills Required...
A strong background in math and structural design would be very beneficial. You constantly need to rely on Trigonometry and Geometry in your daily activities and a good structural understanding is extremely beneficial when dealing with steel and concrete. Get as much experience as you can in the field before trying to move up to managerial positions. It is extremely important to understand how to do things before you can direct others to do them. Use your resources and more experienced workers to build on your knowledge base." (Engineer; 2011)

"Rewarding Beyond Pay...
I think civil engineering is a great career, you get to be inside the office and do things outdoors too. It's very rewarding to see your designs actual get constructed and put to use. The job I have now is rewarding because the radars are installed to help with Air Traffic Safety. I would recommend this career to anyone who enjoys math. You have to work hard in college but once you get through those 4 or 5 years the careers can be rewarding." (Senior Civil Engineer; 2011)

"Develop Communication Skills Too...
Try to gain some experience through an internship which basically gives you on-the-job training, even if you have to do it for free. An internship teaches you the political and environmental processes that have to be followed before a project can be completed. Develop your presentation and technical writing skills, since anything you do to improve the general welfare of the public must be communicated well. Good presentation skills are important in working with neighborhoods and elected officials to clearly explain a proposed transportation project. Good technical writing skills are important because most of your work needs to be documented for public review." (Transportation Planner; 2010)