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Civil and Environmental Engineering

What is Civil and Environmental Engineering?

Civil and Environmental Engineering is considered to be the oldest engineering field. Civil and Environmental Engineering includes the planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of the infrastructure that surrounds us and is the underpinning of our society. Our infrastructure includes roads, airports, railroads, buildings, bridges, water and wastewater treatment plants, sewers, drainage, flood control, water supply, landfills, and many other facilities. Most everything civil and environmental engineers do affects our daily lives in many ways.

When you get up in the morning and take a shower and brush your teeth, the water comes from a water treatment plant through a network of pipes, designed by civil and environmental engineers. The dirty water leaves your house through a sewer and ends up at a wastewater treatment plant designed by civil and environmental engineers where it is treated and released to a nearby stream or river. When you go off to school or work, the roads you drive on and bridges you might cross were designed by civil and environmental engineers. The inlet drains along the curbs and gutters which carry away rainfall were designed by civil and environmental engineers. The structure or skeleton of the building you attend classes in or work in was designed by a civil and environmental engineer, as well as its foundation. Even the electricity you use was brought to you over transmission lines, whose towers were designed by civil and environmental engineers. The garbage you carried out to the trash can is transported to a sanitary landfill, which was designed by a civil and environmental engineer. There are many more such examples of how civil and environmental engineering is involved in our daily lives.

Civil and Environmental Engineering sub-fields

Civil and Environmental Engineering is typically divided into sub-fields, although most projects involve several of these sub-fields. Civil and environmental engineering sub-fields include;

What does it take to be a Civil and Environmental Engineer?

In general, engineers are people who enjoy the challenge of solving problems, who like to do things rather than just talk about them. They want to be part of the solution and enjoy working with people as part of a team. For starters, an aptitude for math and science is helpful, but just as important is an ability to work with other people, to speak and write well, and to demonstrate leadership skills. Civil and Environmental engineers work in teams with other engineers, technicians, and office staff. They may also work with economists, social scientists, geologists, biologists, chemists, and many other professionals. Civil and Environmental engineers work with the general public to a much greater degree than any other type of engineer. Many projects are publicly funded, and require public input, such as meetings and hearings. This means the engineer must learn to clearly communicate technical information to clients and the general public, learn to think on their feet, and keep their cool under pressure.

Where do Civil and Environmental Engineers work?

In general, engineers are people who enjoy the challenge of solving problems, who like to do things rather than just talk about them. They want to be part of the solution and enjoy working with people as part of a team. For starters, an aptitude for math and science is helpful, but just as important is an ability to work with other people, to speak and write well, and to demonstrate leadership skills. Civil and Environmental engineers work in teams with other engineers, technicians, and office staff. They may also work with economists, social scientists, geologists, biologists, chemists, and many other professionals. Civil and Environmental engineers work with the general public to a much greater degree than any other type of engineer. Many projects are publicly funded, and require public input, such as meetings and hearings. This means the engineer must learn to clearly communicate technical information to clients and the general public, learn to think on their feet, and keep their cool under pressure.

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