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Thread: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

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    Smile I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Hi All,

    I'm a civil engineer of 7 years. I have a combined civil engineering and commerce degree from UNSW.
    My field is in infrastructure, mostly road and rail projects.

    I have walked through the same journey you walked through.
    Going through high school, and uni. Trying to figure out life, career choice, etc.
    You can ask me anything you want to know from which subjects to choose in high school, what eng uni life is like, the civil engineering profession itself.

    If you are thinking about civil engineering as a profession and career. Then don't hesitate to ask me.
    Hopefully I can give a clearer picture of what you can expect.

    I am kinda new in forum so apologies if I trespass my boundaries.
    I will try to answer your questions as promptly as I can, but I do have other commitments and maybe tired after a hard day slog at work.

    Kind Regards,
    Enghero
    Amundies and whenisnow like this.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Civil or Surveying in terms of job prospects?

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by blah21 View Post
    Civil or Surveying in terms of job prospects?
    Civil engineering is quite diverse. There's always a demand for civil engineering as it involves anything with civilization.
    Buildings, bridges, roads, rails, drainage system, sewer, dams.
    If you're not building them, you're maintaining them.

    Surveying itself is also on demand. There is a shortage of surveyors. We can't seem to get enough of them.
    In terms of progression, I am not sure what a surveyor can progress to. If you're good, you can have your own surveying business, as it is more like a trade.
    There was a project early this year where I asked if a surveyor can support my job, and he said his resources was booked out for the next 3-4 months and he can only slot me in then.
    In terms of the future, there is going to be a big disruption for surveying especially with how technology is evolving really quickly. There are already myriad of evolving surveying technology out there. LiDAR, Point cloud to name a few. But I suspect it just means that surveyors tools are changed from a tripod to more advanced equipment.

    Whereas civil engineering, you can choose from being a contractor, or designer/consultant or project manager.
    Most of civil engineers go into management. Or you can focus on your technical skills and become a subject matter expert like say bridge expert or tunnel expert, etc.
    In regards to the future, engineers still have to make an engineering judgement and decision. This is not something that can be replaced by an AI or computer. Some things just can't be decided by an algorithm.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Welcome to the forum
    Since you have experienced civil engineering for 7 years, I was wondering what are your dislikes/ likes of civil engineering. also, I'm curious as to why civil appealed to you as there is a vast range of engineering options to choose from. Currently, I'm deciding between civil and space engineering

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    What's your salary

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    I'm looking to do the exact same dual degree as you did at UNSW. What are the main advantages of having the Commerce degree as opposed to only the Engineering degree?

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by FellowStudent View Post
    Welcome to the forum
    Since you have experienced civil engineering for 7 years, I was wondering what are your dislikes/ likes of civil engineering. also, I'm curious as to why civil appealed to you as there is a vast range of engineering options to choose from. Currently, I'm deciding between civil and space engineering
    My likes for Civil Engineering is that the field itself is quite diverse. You can choose from geotech, structural, water. You can choose from bridges, buildings, dams, coastal protection, roads, rails, etc. From an altruistic point of view, your project can benefit lots of people.
    Civil appealed to me because my father was a structural engineer. Statistically speaking, most engineers become engineers because they know someone who is an engineer. I was deciding between naval engineering and civil engineering, because I also like ships.
    But then I chose Civil as I didn't want to be away from my family and friends at the time. (Only 1 uni in Tasmania offered the naval engineering course)

    Space engineering is a new frontier. And Australia did open up a new space agency. However space engineering is not only shooting rockets to the space. You will still need bases, telecommunication, satellite dishes, comms array, etc. So all field of engineering would also thrive, electronics, telecomms, electrical, etc.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Queenroot View Post
    What's your salary
    Upwards low-mid $100k base, but I have got work life balance
    Last edited by enghero; 9 Aug 2018 at 8:46 PM.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxd12 View Post
    I'm looking to do the exact same dual degree as you did at UNSW. What are the main advantages of having the Commerce degree as opposed to only the Engineering degree?
    Apologies, but I will be absolutely honest:
    - Commerce girls. Not many female students do engineering back in my days. Though now is probably improved? I don't know. You can probably go their interdepartmental social event. That's how I met my missus.

    Back to business:
    Adv: Depending on your stream for commerce, you will learn how a company is structured, profit/loss for accounting. and I did Finance which is more for banking, learn how a company is valued, etc.

    Disadv: Speaking from my experience. The commerce knowledge is useful to value a project cost and benefit. But not to the extent that you need to do the extra 1.5 years at university and the extra debt. I have only paid off my HECS debt this year. After 7 years... You can pick up this kind of knowledge from any books of Dymocks or Book Depository for $20 bucks if you want to know more.

    My advice is choose one profession and stick with it.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    What do you think the most important skill to learn/develop while at uni to be a successful civil engineer?

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by enghero View Post
    Upwards low-mid $100k base, but I have got work life balance
    What was your graduate salary

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by enghero View Post
    Upwards low-mid $100k base, but I have got work life balance
    What was your graduate salary

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by -s- View Post
    What do you think the most important skill to learn/develop while at uni to be a successful civil engineer?
    The most important skill to learn/develop while you're at uni is communication.
    I can't stress this enough.
    Most of the time, by the time you're at uni, you're already got good foundation for problem solving, say maths problem. You also have a good grasp of logical thinking and understanding concepts, which is related to anything science related, physics, chemistry, etc.

    However, in the real world. Problem solving is not as easy as the problem given to you on a piece of paper, in tut sheets or exam papers.
    Most of the time, in real world. You have to find the problem first.
    You need to ask the right questions, by all means don't be afraid of asking dumb questions because eventually you'll hit the right questions. Similarly for solution, there are more senior people than you, you can ask them from their experience, how to solve the problem, etc.
    Now when you get good at this, the project will run smoothly. I kid you not.

    It's like a game of chinese whispers. If the end person has only 20% of what the original person said, then you are not managing the job well.

    I have worked with some of the smartest engineer, but when their communication skill is poor. It's hard to understand what the problem of the project is. So please work on your communication skill. In engineering, there would be lots of jargon. But you will need to simplify concept to everyday english where everyone can understand. Because you're not communicating just between engineers, you will need to communicate with tradesperson, residents, environmental specialist, biologist, whoever.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Queenroot View Post
    What was your graduate salary
    My starting graduate salary 7 years ago was $66,000.
    If adjusted for inflation of 2.5% every year. In 2018 it will be equivalent to $78,000

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Hi,

    Im interested in studying Computer science next year and although your in the civil engineering field, whats the most important advice would you like to give me, in terms of what I must do at UNI to be ahead of other graduates in some way? like for example: the things employers are really looking for.

    I am just asking as you may have some idea although your not doing computer science, as comp sci is considered engineering in some way.


    Thank You.
    Last edited by cherryboi; 10 Aug 2018 at 8:26 PM.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by cherryboi View Post
    Hi,

    Im interested in studying Computer science next year and although your in the civil engineering field, whats the most important advice would you like to give me, in terms of what I must do at UNI to be ahead of other graduates in some way? like for example: the things employers are really looking for.

    I am just asking as you may have some idea although your not doing computer science, as comp sci is considered engineering in some way.


    Thank You.
    In order to be ahead of other graduates, you need to have something that other graduates don't have.
    My answer is experience. Don't wait until you graduate to get a job.

    If you already started working in your field, then you're pretty lucky and already ahead of your peers.
    If you're not yet working, then volunteer in a company. Find internship/cadetship, etc. Start work early.
    It will pay off in the future.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Thank you for your reply enghero, i really appreciate it.

    I also have a few more questions which may sound silly, but Im curious to know.

    1. As a student is it important to update things over the years such as linkedin profiles for prospective employers. Did you do this?

    2. Is social media important in anyway for a job. Is there any importance of social media in the workplace or for opportunities? Im inactive on facebook.

    3. Is there any real advantages of going to UNSW rather than UTS?
    Last edited by cherryboi; 10 Aug 2018 at 9:56 PM.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by cherryboi View Post
    Thank you for your reply enghero, i really appreciate it.

    I also have a few more questions which may sound silly, but Im curious to know.

    1. As a student is it important to update things over the years such as linkedin profiles for prospective employers. Did you do this?

    2. Is social media important in anyway for a job. Is there any importance of social media in the workplace or for opportunities? Im inactive on facebook.

    3. Is there any real advantages of going to UNSW rather than UTS?
    Hi Cherryboi,

    1. Back when I was a student Linkedin was not around. Though I do understand that the times have moved on and social media is very important now.
    I think with your linkedin, put information in this preference starting from highest relevance to lowest relevance:
    Start with your aspiration make it brief, what your interest related to comp sci, what projects you've worked on, etc.
    And if you play team sport, other extra curricular activities/volunteering ,etc. Then you can list your part time job. So the focus is whats relevant to your comp sci and get progressively irrelevant
    And of course, review this information every 6 months and update it as you get newer experience, involvement, etc.

    2. Social media is important these days. I ensure that my Linkedin profile is up to date. These days I get the odd 1 or 2 recruiter contacting me out of the blue to see if I'm interested to go for a job. I even got two interviews out of it. Facebook is not so much, no HR person/recruiter want to see your party pictures last weekend where you got wasted. With social media, the rule of thumb is what you show to others is how they will perceive you.

    3. People say that UNSW is theory/knowledge heavy whilst UTS have better relationship with the industry. A recruiter told my colleague that they don't really look at the university degree. More weighting on experience. The only advantage of going to UNSW is that it's close to Coogee beach. Nice to go for a swim between classes. It has a nice campus, lots of greens, it has more of a university feels to it.
    Last edited by enghero; 11 Aug 2018 at 12:35 AM.

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    Question Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Whats the dropout rate generally for civil and other engineerings/comp sci at UNSW?

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by blah21 View Post
    Whats the dropout rate generally for civil and other engineerings/comp sci at UNSW?
    Not sure, you might have to look at other sources to find out.
    I heard that in the US, the drop out rate is about 60%, 40% won't even pass first year. They also say that Engineering is one of the more demanding courses compared to others.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    do you actually like your job?

    have you had a job prior to your current one that you did not like? what made you stay for as long as you did?

    how did you apply for jobs? interning, networking, seek.com, knew someone?
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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    have you used your degree much since you started working?
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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squar3root View Post
    do you actually like your job?

    have you had a job prior to your current one that you did not like? what made you stay for as long as you did?

    how did you apply for jobs? interning, networking, seek.com, knew someone?
    I actually do like my job. I had a fascination for trains since I was small, so to be working in the rail civil industry is a blessing for me.

    If your question is if I had a different full time job than in Civil Engineering, then the answer is no. I worked the odd casual part-time job when I was at university, but that's about it.
    But within Civil Engineering, I have jumped to different roles in Project Management and Construction. I count that I jumped role at least 4 times now.
    My jump also varies from rail and road. That's because it is easier and some hard technical skills are transferable between the two, such as geotech, structural, drainage, etc.
    When I was a graduate engineer, I was rotated every 6 months for 3 years. The longest I've stayed in a position outside the graduate position is 20 months. Why I stayed in Civil Engineering for 7 years, well because I'm good at it. Once you finish a simple job, they give you a more complex job. It's a neverending cycle and you get better and better. Plus I have no other desire like to go to Masterchef or something.

    For all the roles, I applied for the jobs, went to the interview and got it. Of course I have applied to dozen other roles where I didn't even get an interview. My stats is about 10% success rate in my application. So the moral of the story is to never give up.
    I have a friend who got a job from networking, he was part of a soccer team and he played tennis with his teammate dad who owned a small engineering firm. He got a full-time job that way, and he wasn't academically inclined. So networking is actually a big component in getting a job.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squar3root View Post
    have you used your degree much since you started working?
    If you become a designer, you would use 100% of your degree. Though as a civil engineer, they will specialise to structural or geotech or water. So 100% utilisation in one stream and maybe 20% in other streams (just because you have basic knowledge you learnt at uni).

    I have used about 30% of my degree.
    Using the basic principles from structures, geotech and water.
    This low percentage, I feel is due to just how the University syllabus is structured by academics. Hence it is more academically inclined.
    Hence I always preach that for you young engineers to get a job as soon as possible and don't wait until you graduate.

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    Re: I'm a civil engineer. Ask me anything you want to know about Civil Eng.

    I know that this was a long time ago, but what subjects did you do for the HSC?

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