Is Civil Engineering Hard: Skills Needed, Benefits, Job Outlook & More

If you asked someone what they think of the field of civil engineering, most people would probably say that it’s a hard major to get into. And chances are, they’d be right. 

Some people seem to think that the job is challenging because you need to know science, math, and geometry to become a civil engineer. 

Some say civil engineering isn’t as easy as it looks because it involves many different aspects of construction, from design to management. 

So is civil engineering hard? Or are people assigning too high of a difficulty rating based on personal experiences or misconceptions?

Read on to find out.

What Does Civil Engineering Entail?

Civil engineers use their skills and knowledge to build roads, bridges, dams, cities, and other structures. 

They work with architects to ensure these projects’ plans are perfect before building anything. 

It involves understanding complex systems to identify problems and craft solutions that meet customer requirements within budget constraints. 

Civil engineering can be quite hard but it’s also gratifying when a project comes out well. 

Without civil engineers, we won’t have our beautiful parks, airports, and stadiums so that we can enjoy nature or have a place to gather for events like concerts or sports matches.

SEE: Learn more about blue-collar business ideas

What are the Benefits of Becoming a Civil Engineer?

1. Civil engineering is a fascinating and lucrative profession

Civil engineering is one of the most fascinating and lucrative professions out there. 

It’s a growing industry with many opportunities for people willing to learn about it and work hard. Additionally, the pay for civil engineers is decent.

There are many different types of civil engineers, but all of them use their knowledge and skills to build things or improve the quality of life for others. 

They often have to think outside the box to solve complex problems, which makes their career very exciting.

SEE: Learn more about problem-solving skills

2. Civil engineering jobs are in high demand

There are many reasons why people choose to become civil engineers. 

Perhaps one of the most important is that civil engineering jobs are in high demand right now, so there is plenty of opportunity for those who want it. 

Civil engineers help create and maintain buildings, roads, bridges, and other structures—whatever need. 

In addition to earning an excellent income, those who become skilled in this profession often enjoy highly favorable working conditions and significant job security. 

SEE: Explore the most marketable degrees you can get online

3. Civil engineers work on a variety of projects

Civil engineers work on various projects with a wide range of benefits. Some examples include infrastructure, environmental remediation, and even the design of new buildings. 

As civil engineers, you are constantly working to improve the quality of life for everyone. 

They play an important role in creating sustainable communities and improving living conditions by solving problems before they become systemic issues. 

The opportunity for career growth is very high as the field of civil engineering continues updating its expertise with new technologies every day.

SEE: Why Is Physics So Hard & How Can You Get Better At It?

4. A civil engineer’s skillset can be easily transitioned to other careers 

A civil engineer’s skillset is easily transitional to different careers. 

Whether you’re looking for a new challenge or just want to broaden your horizons, there are plenty of opportunities for you to explore. A civil engineer’s skillset can easily be transitioned to other careers. 

For example, an engineer specializing in construction management or transportation planning could quickly enter the private sector as a consultant or land developer.

SEE: Understand what a transferrable skill means

5. Civil engineers can choose to be entrepreneurs

There are many benefits associated with being a civil engineer that can help turn your entrepreneurial dreams into reality. 

Civil engineers can identify and solve problems quickly, which is why so many of them become entrepreneurs. 

In addition to those intrinsic skills, experience working in large organizations also teaches you valuable lessons about project management and managing teams. 

You might not think of it this way at first, but founding or joining a startup may be what you need to sharpen your problem-solving abilities even further.

SEE: Discover entrepreneurial skills

How Do You Get Into the Field of Civil Engineering?

Two civil engineers working on a project - lmshero

To get started in civil engineering, you need three things: an interest in the subject, good math skills (for dealing with structural analysis), and a bachelor’s degree. 

A 4-year degree in civil engineering or a related field will give you a head start in gain­ing employment options. 

However, community colleges or vocational schools can also provide basic training programs. Start by finding a qualified program that matches your needs. 

From there, continue your schooling by taking courses that will further develop your skills as a civil engineer. 

Finally, complete an internship or professional development course to prove that you’re ready for the workforce.

SEE: Find out what is considered undergraduate

Why Do People Think Civil Engineering is Hard?

Civil engineering is indeed hard. But that just makes it more interesting and exciting. 

There are three main reasons why people think civil engineering is hard.

First, traditional civil engineering textbooks often concentrate on theoretical mathematics and physics without providing much practical experience in those areas. 

Additionally, many of the technologies used in 21st-century civil engineering require advanced knowledge in computer science, statistics, and other scientific disciplines. 

And finally, some view civil engineering as a complex field with numerous challenges that do not easily lend themselves to being quantified. 

All these factors can make it difficult for learners to assume that civil engineering is hard. Nonetheless, with perseverance, they will eventually be able to overcome these obstacles.

SEE: Explore profitable careers for applied mathematics graduates

What Skills Do You Need to Become Successful as a Civil Engineer?

To be a successful civil engineer, you need skills in many areas. You need to have strong math and science skills, too. 

And of course, you will need to have strong analytical skills and the ability to think critically

You will also need good problem-solving abilities and the ability to find solutions to complex problems. But there are other important skills that will help you stand out from the competition. 

You must be able to communicate clearly with your clients. And last but not least, you’ll want to have time management skills–or else your projects may never get completed on time.

What is the Job Outlook for Civil Engineers?

The job outlook for civil engineers is very positive right now. Many new construction projects are starting, and their service demand is high. 

According to the BLS, there are 24,200 civil engineering openings per year over the next ten years. Civil engineers will have many opportunities to make a good living in the coming years.

The median annual salary for civil engineers is about $88,000. If you have an MSc or PhD in Civil Engineering from an accredited university, you can expect to earn pretty high salaries.

Many volunteer opportunities are also available, leading to valuable networking contacts. 

SEE: Find out if it’s worth getting a PhD

Top Success Tips for Civil Engineering Students

Here are five simple success tips for civil engineering students:

  1. Always be ready to ask questions. No one knows everything, and that includes your professors. Ask them questions in class, in the lecture hall—you never know when you might learn something new.
  2. Quality research will prepare you for your professional career and make learning fun.
  3. Stay organized: always check deadlines carefully – do not let yourself fall behind due to a lack of organization skills.
  4. To be a successful civil engineer, you need to have strong math skills and an understanding of physics. 
  5. You must also know how to use computers and design software such as AutoCAD. But the most important thing is creativity.

SEE: Discover practical strategies to develop your math skills

FAQs

Do you need a degree to become a civil engineer?

Yes, for someone to be a civil engineer, they must first have either a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science from an accredited school.

Is a civil engineering degree worth it?

Yes. Civil engineering graduates are in high demand and can find promising careers in the field.

Is civil engineering hard for an average student?

The average student might find civil engineering hard due to the amount of math and science required.

Final Thoughts 

Despite the difficulty of civil engineering, it’s an important and necessary profession that can make a significant difference in the world. 

Civil engineers must have strong problem-solving skills and an awareness of natural and man-made structures. 

They need to be able to think outside the box, take the initiative, and be resourceful when approaching complex challenges. 

While civil engineering may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the field has a rich history and is full of opportunities to make a difference. 

Dedication and hard work can make anyone an expert in this field. Lastly, engineers require a lot of industry experience to be at the top of their game. 

For more information about what this experience means, read the article that discusses industry experience.

Thanks for reading.