Civil and Structural Engineering

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There are lots of starting points for choosing a career and using your subject is just one of them. You are not restricted to the career ideas below and you may wish to consider additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.

Remember too that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject and so your options are much broader than the examples given below.

Firstly, have a think about what ‘using your subject’ means to you and what you’re really looking for. Do you want to apply your subject-specific knowledge or skills to the real world? Or maybe you want to continue to practice and develop these skills? Maybe it’s a broader interest in your subject that you want to keep alive by working in a relevant type of organisation?

Using your subject can help provide you with some focus for your career research, but the broader your interests the more career options you will have open to you. Use our resources below to stimulate your thinking.

Generating career ideas with Civil and Structural Engineering

Using the resources below you can start to create your own list of career ideas to research

  • Look at what alumni from your department have done using the DLHE data we collect and through the University of Sheffield alumni page on LinkedIn.
  • Search for and contact alumni in your subject through our Graduate case studies database.
  • Browse the career ideas for Civil and Structural Engineering graduates on Prospects and TargetJobs but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Brainstorm ideas and do some initial investigation to find out about research, organisations, start ups, government bodies and freelancers connected to your subject. Our Information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start.

Some career ideas for Civil and Structural Engineering graduates

Consulting civil engineer

Consultant civil engineers are involved at the design stage of construction projects for the built and natural environment, which can include buildings, airports, rail, highways or waste management systems. You would be required to run feasibility studies and plan budgets and resources, liaising with contractors to supervise projects and ensure they run on time and to budget.

The role is largely office based, though you may carry out site visits to check on progress with the client. Employers may include construction, rail and utility companies, as well as local authorities and government departments.

Contracting civil engineer

Contracting civil engineers work with the plans of a consultant to manage teams and organise resources on a construction site. You would require problem solving and leadership skills to oversee the supply of materials, taking overall responsibility for the construction process.

You may be involved in the construction process for building, airports, rail, highways or waste management systems, among others. The role varies considerably from that of a consultant and it important to demonstrate your motivation and suitability for the role of a contractor when applying to organisations.

Structural engineer

Structural engineers are involved in the design and construction of structures such as buildings and bridges to ensure they are safe and can maintain their structure, withstanding the natural environment. They may also be required to evaluate existing structures to assess how they prone they are to rotation or collapse.

Most structural engineers are office based, where the work would involve calculating stress loads and choosing materials for construction, providing drawings and specifications to be supplied to contractors.

Alternatively, if working as a contractor, you would have a more practical on site role, supervising once designs are complete. Employers can include engineering consultancies, contractors, government and local government agencies and utility companies.

Water engineer

Water engineers use their technical knowledge to specialise in water-based projects, such as the provision of clean drinking water, treatment and disposal of waste water and sewage and the prevention of water damage, for example flooding in urban areas.

This may involve analysis of technical data, design using computer modelling systems, and building structures or repairing existing systems, such as reservoirs and sea walls.

Building control surveyor

Building control surveyors ensure that new buildings adhere to safety, accessibility and sustainability regulations. You would be required to have a firm knowledge of relevant legislation to be able to advise building surveyors and construction workers on issues relating to design and safety.

You may also be required to supervise projects, write progress reports and approve demolition of dangerous or disused buildings. Although largely office based, regular site visits are common, as well as travel for meetings with local authorities and regulatory bodies.

Procurement

If you want to apply your understanding of engineering processes, equipment and components within a more commercial role, then procurement may be an option to consider. This can involve purchasing and supply of components or services from second and third tier suppliers, negotiating contracts and quality guidelines.

This role requires communication, negotiation and persuasion skills, numeracy and the ability to build and maintain strong client/customer relationships.

Supply chain management

Similar to procurement, this requires an understanding of engineering components and processes but involves the planning, design, supply, monitoring and logistics of getting components and services of the right quality to the right place at the right time within budget.

This requires exceptional time management, planning, problem solving and commercial awareness.

Finance

Away from technical roles, you can apply your numeracy, business awareness and analytical skills to a more commercial role in finance.

This could vary from investment management and banking to financial management or accounting roles.

Business analyst

This role may suit you if you enjoy evaluating and analysing data, creating solutions and communicating with a variety of people. As a business analyst, you'll work with an organisation to understand their products, services and the industry sector they operate within.

You’ll identify their future needs and challenges and help them to plan for the future and manage change in line with their company goals often in relation to information and software systems.

Teacher

If you have enjoyed the aspects of your course such as physics, maths, technology, and are energised by sharing your love of the subject with others and thinking of new and engaging ways of presenting your knowledge, you might enjoy teaching as a career.

Obviously depending on the level of teaching, experience of and an ability to establish rapport with the relevant age group would also be a prerequisite as would good leadership and time management skills.

Subject specific resources