Introduction

This chapter talks about engineering and the different disciplines that exist within it. It tells us about the work of engineers and the ways in which they help society through their efforts. This informative chapter helps us get an overview of the engineering industry. This article was published in The Hindu on 20th August, 2012.

Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is one of the oldest streams of engineering. It involves the design, construction and management of infrastructure, highways, railways, airports, harbours, bridges, tunnels, water supply, etc. Every major project has a contribution from a civil engineer.

The role of the civil engineer is continuously changing. Earlier, engineers would just focus their efforts on production of site plans, making drawings and giving them to contractors. Nowadays, development of landscape requires thoughtful planning, and an understanding of regulations.

Permit requirements are more strict and more numerous, and schedules and budgets are tight. Civil engineers today stay with the clients and guide them through the approval and construction process while offering strategy, advice and their experience.

Civil engineers take on varied roles and responsibilities. Environmental civil engineers focus on development of design and construction in harmony with nature with the focus on environmental issues. Structural engineers are responsible for design of buildings, offshore oil platforms etc.

Construction Managers and Quantity Surveying

Highway engineers are responsible for design of traffic flow planning, roadway geometry design etc. Construction engineers plan and coordinate construction projection and have job titles such as constructor, construction superintendent, general superintendent, project engineer etc.

Construction managers evaluate and determine appropriate construction methods and the most budget-friendly plan and schedule. The managers regularly review engineering and architectural drawings and specifications to check progress and see that it matches with plans and schedules. 

Students should undergo practical industry experience through internships and cooperative education programmes for work experience in the industry. Quantity surveying is also very important. Technical skills in estimating, costing and specification and good knowledge of various procurement routes, tendering procedure and contracting essentials make quantity surveyors an essential part of the construction industry.

Job opportunities exist in design offices, consulting firms, government departments such as municipalities, environmental agencies, and contracting firms.

Conclusion

Engineering is a very important aspect of society since it has helped us literally build the nation. Engineers create houses, railways, roads and more and contribute to the well-being and progress of the country as a whole.