Civil Engineer

In this career guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about civil engineering as a career, from roles and responsibilities, to work environment and roadmap to becoming a Civil Engineer.

Who's a Civil Engineer?

Have you ever been amazed by the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Opera House? These incredible landmarks were made by a special kind of engineer called the Civil Engineer! Civil engineering is like the superhero of engineering because it’s the foundation for all other types of engineering. For example, before you can have electrical engineers working in a power plant, you need civil engineers to build the plant itself. 

As a civil engineer, you get to build amazing things like skyscrapers, bridges, roads, and even those cool flyovers. You’re also a key player in constructing important projects like dams, canals, and reservoirs.

Imagine a brand-new flyover is going to be built in your city. Civil engineers, along with site and construction engineers, work together to design the structure, build it according to rules and standards, and make sure it’s safe and suitable for the area it’s in.

Civil engineering may seem slow and detailed, but it’s all worth it because you’re making life better for the people in your town or city. Your creations will make their lives easier, and that’s pretty awesome!

What will you do?

Analysing the area

You need to make sure the construction place and its surrounding area are perfect to begin the work. 

For example, you will visit the place or site before the work starts so you can design the structure accordingly.

Testing soils and raw materials

You will need to test the raw materials that are needed to build the structure. 

For example, when making a road, you need to make sure the quality of the road is strong enough. If it’s a building, you need to check that the steel and cement are good. You will also test the ground to be sure it can hold the structure.

Designing the structure

After analysing the site or area where the structure will be built, you will design the structure. 

For instance, if you are building a skyscraper, you need to decide how many floors the skyscraper will have. You will also have to consider building ‘economic’ designs based on the budget for your project.

Providing cost estimates

You need to set a budget for the structure that is going to be built. Your budget will need to be ideal for bringing the maximum output from minimum investment. 

For instance, you will decide how much money needs to be paid to the workers.

Offering guidance

You have to direct and guide workers during the construction process. 

For example, say a worker is using the wrong kind of cement. It is up to you to guide them on using the right one.

Where will you work?

On site

Unlike other jobs, this one requires you to be out and about. You will have to travel to the site where the project is under construction. You will have to monitor the purchase of raw materials and progress of the project. You will also travel to meet architects and suppliers and discuss the designs and material requirements. Your work hours can vary and you may sometimes need to work overtime or weekends to meet project deadlines. You will also have work-related gear, such as a hard hat to protect your head at construction sites. You will work at a highly noisy, even dangerous construction site.


Your indoors work will involve meetings to discuss the progress of the project, and presentations to the various stakeholders. Here, you will typically follow a standard schedule. However, in case of any deadlines, you may need to put in some extra time.

How do you get there?

This stream won’t help you make an entry into this field.

This stream won’t help you make an entry into this field.

STEP 1: Class XI-XII/Junior College

Go to high school or junior college and take up Physics, Chemistry and Maths as your core subjects. Make sure you study well and get good scores as they will matter when you are applying for a college. Pro tip: Take up online and offline courses in Embedded systems, Networking, Design Implementation, Parallel Hardware, Microchips and many more so you can get a feel of the career before you start your graduation course.

STEP 2: Entrance Exams

Depending on the college you want to go to, there are several exams you can prepare for. The main ones include IIT JEE, MH-CET and AIEEE for NITs, IITs, and other government colleges. There are also several exams conducted by individual private colleges which offer this course.

STEP 3: Graduate Degree

You can opt for a B.Tech in Civil Engineering. Alternatively, you can opt for a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Hardware and Networking (B. Sc or BCA) or Computer Engineering (B. Tech) from any reputed college. The duration of these courses is 4 years. 

STEP 4: Internship

Gain practical knowledge about this career through an internship with any institute or company. This field is based on practical experience and ideas. An internship will help you form opinions and brainstorm properly. It can also lead to job offers.

STEP 6: Postgraduate Degree

A relevant degree helps you climb the career ladder and get a better pay. You can pursue a two-year post-graduation course in Civil/Construction/Site Engineering. On completion, you will achieve a Masters in Science (M.Sc) or Masters in Technology (M.Tech).

What skills would you need?

Communication Skills

You will need to explain complex engineering concepts to clients, team members, and government officials. Clear communication ensures everyone understands the project's goals and progress.

Mathematical Skills

A strong understanding of mathematical and physical principles is important for designing structures, analysing data, and solving complex engineering problems.

Time Management

Projects have deadlines and budgets. Good time management will help you complete tasks on schedule, keeping the project smooth.

Team Collaboration

Civil engineering projects involve diverse teams of professionals. Being a good team player is important for coordinating efforts and achieving project goals.


Civil engineers encounter unexpected challenges during projects. Your problem-solving skills help you find creative and efficient solutions, keeping the project on track.


Construction sites and project requirements can change from time to time. Your ability to adapt to these changes will ensure project success and client satisfaction.

Mathematical Skills

A strong understanding of mathematical and physical principles is important for designing structures, analysing data, and solving complex engineering problems.

Technical Skills:

A good knowledge about using computer-aided design (CAD) software allows you to create detailed construction plans and models efficiently, helping in accurate and precise project design.

Project Management

Imagine you're the captain of a team. You need to know how to manage your team's time and money, and make sure everyone is doing their part to finish a project on time.

How do you make it to the top ranks?

  • promotion-1
  • promotion-2
  • promotion-3
  • promotion-4
  • promotion-6
  • promotion-3
  • promotion-7


As an intern, you’ll assist experienced engineers and learn the basics. Your tasks may include site visits, data collection, and simple design work under supervision.

Junior Engineer

As a junior engineer, you’ll take on more responsibilities, such as helping with project design, conducting inspections, and working with the project team under the guidance of your senior engineers.

Project Engineer

In this role, your job will be to look after certain parts of the project. You will make sure the plans are followed, tasks are finished, and everyone works together. You will also talk to the clients and the contractors.

Senior Engineer

As a senior engineer, you’ll lead project teams. You will guide others, check important designs, and solve tricky engineering problems. You will also be involved in the decision-making and quality control process.

Project Manager

Project managers take charge of entire projects. They make plans, decide how much money and time the project needs, and make sure everyone works well together. Their job is to make sure the project gets done smoothly.

Department Head/Division Director

At this stage, you will start leading a group in the engineering company. You will make the big plans for the group, watch over many projects, and guide teams of engineers and experts to get things done the right way.

Chief Engineer/VP of Engineering

Chief Engineers or VPs of Engineering are like the big bosses in the engineering world. They make all the important decisions for the company, plan for the long-term future, and make sure everything runs smoothly in the engineering department. They’re the ones who make sure all the big projects happen just right.

Pursuing your career locally VS abroad

Studying civil engineering in India offers several benefits. The cost of education for a Bachelor’s degree typically ranges from INR 2,00,000 to INR 10,00,000, making it a more affordable option. The duration of the course is typically four years, and you have access to renowned institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), and various state and private universities. To get into these colleges, you can take entrance exams like JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) for IITs and NITs, COMEDK for colleges in Karnataka, and state-specific exams like MHT-CET in Maharashtra and WBJEE in West Bengal.

Job prospects for civil engineers with an Indian degree are promising, with significant demand in India’s growing construction and infrastructure sectors.

Studying civil engineering in another country can be a great adventure, but it can also be more expensive, usually costing between INR 20,00,000 to INR 50,00,000, depending on where you go. In some countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, it might take four years to finish your Bachelor’s, which is a bit longer than in India. Famous universities like MIT, Stanford, Cambridge, and ETH Zurich are well-known for their engineering programs.

To study abroad, you might need to do well in exams like the SAT (in the US) and show that you’re good at English by taking tests like IELTS or TOEFL. Some universities might also want you to take the GRE exam. With a degree from overseas, you can work all around the world, especially in places with advanced construction projects. But you’ll need to think about things like visas, work permits, and extra requirements to get into the country and start your job.

So, when choosing to study civil engineering, think about what you want for your career, your budget, and whether you want to work internationally.

How much would you get paid?

The exact number will depend on where you’re working, your education, skill-set and work experience. But we can give you a general idea. 

What are your career options?

Structural Engineer

As a structural engineer, you’ll focus on designing and analysing structures like buildings and bridges. A keen eye for detail and a knack for problem-solving are essential in this specialisation. For example, you might work on designing a skyscraper’s framework to make it safe and sturdy.


Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers work to protect the environment through projects related to water management, waste disposal, and pollution control. This specialisation requires a strong commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly solutions. For instance, you could be involved in creating systems to purify water or manage waste in a more eco-conscious way.

Geotechnical Engineer

Geotechnical engineers delve into the Earth’s properties to assess how they affect construction projects. An interest in soil mechanics and geological factors is vital for success. You might find yourself analysing soil conditions for a new highway construction project.

Water Resources Engineer

Water resources engineers focus on managing water-related projects, such as dams, irrigation systems, and flood control. An understanding of hydrology and fluid mechanics is important. You could be tasked with designing a dam to store water for a region’s agriculture needs.

Construction Manager

This specialisation involves overseeing the entire construction process, including planning, budgeting, and coordination. Here, strong leadership and organisational skills are a must. For example, you might lead a team to ensure a large commercial building project stays on schedule and within budget.


Think you know everything there is to know about this career?

Take the quiz to test your knowledge and find out how #CareerReady you are!



1. How do you become a Civil Engineer?

2. How do you make it to the top ranks as a Civil Engineer?

3. What are some career options for a Civil Engineer?

4. What are the responsibilities of a Civil Engineer?

5. What are the typical roles of a Civil Engineer?

6. What does a Civil Engineer do?

7. What skills does a Civil Engineer need?

8. What soft skills do you need to become a civil engineer?

9. Where does a Civil Engineer typically work?


You got 1out of10right!

Think you know everything there is to know about this career? Take the quiz to test your knowledge and find out how #CareerReady you are!

Retake Quiz

You’ve only scratched the surface.

Unlock the full Mentoria Solution to get helpful updates on your chosen industry!