Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Aspiring For An Engineering Degree, Then Be Ready For Civil Engineering!!

Civil Engineering is the key to many of the issues affecting our lives today. Civil engineers solve problems, design, build and maintain our living and working spaces. You might design a new stadium, work on a local by-pass or railway line, assess a damaged structure, provide immediate and safe drinking water, or manage a multi-million construction project. Amongst all branches of engineering, the application of civil engineering is the broadest and the most visible. Demand for civil engineers is rising around the globe due to extensive implementation of various constructional and infrastructural projects.

In fact, the entire infrastructural framework of a modern nation is the creation of civil engineers. Civil engineering is about the design and planning, construction, supervision, quality control and maintenance of physical structures, such as buildings, roads, bridges, dams, canals, sea ports, power plants and airports. Their role is central to ensuring the safe, timely and well-resourced completion of projects in many areas, including highway construction, waste management, coastal development and geotechnical engineering. Consulting civil engineers liaise with clients to plan, manage, design and supervise the construction of projects.

World recognizes a country as developed or otherwise on the investment done by the country in infrastructure development and gauged by the consumption of cement and steel alone. The demands for civil infrastructure in a developed and developing world are always on the rise. In a report on Global Infrastructure development by Center for Strategic and International Studies, it has been clearly stated that one billion people live more than two kilometers away from all-weather roads making it difficult or impossible for many to reach doctors, schools or markets, making Infrastructure development a large global need. China, The United States, Japan and other developed nations have launched Infrastructure Investment Institutions to support builders to complement global infrastructure deficit. For developing country like India, Infrastructure has also been a major sector that propels overall development of the country’s economy. The Secretariat for Infrastructure in the Planning Commission is involved in initiating policies that would ensure time-bound creation of world class infrastructure in the country. The major focus of this section has been on power, bridges, dams, roads and smart infrastructure development. Figure 1 shows the annual average as percentage of GDP spending on Infrastructure by various countries.

(Source: Report on Global Infrastructure development, CSIS)

Government of India has also unfolded its dream through a document released by NITI Ayog focusing on above stated areas and nation is looking forward to Civil Engineers to lead the way. The total investment in the area of Infrastructure by Government and allied organizations keep growing in each budget as seen in Figure 2.

Thus Indian scenario is no different and trend is similar to the to that of developed countries World History also shows that the scope of Civil Engineering is ever increasing and there were small time disruptions due to Economy or other technologies creating hysteria in the marketplace. As long as society is looking for comfortable living there is no dearth of scope neither for projects nor for employment in this branch. When Government is spending 50% of its resources on the developmental sustainable activities serviced by Civil Engineers and no demand for civil Engineering sound ridiculous isn’t it?. Most of the successful managers are from the civil engineering background and are better managers leading the team of engineers belonging all streams. The Government report is self-explanatory and an indicator for an aspirant of engineering education pointing market trend. 

India has the second largest urban population in the world and by 2050; around 50% of India’s population i.e., 814 million is expected to live in urban areas. Given this scenario, the present infrastructure and amenities in cities and towns are not adequate to address the expanding urbanization process. With time, the infrastructure sector has become the biggest focus area of the Government of India. The Government has launched Rs 103 trillion infrastructure projects and projects worth Rs 1.70 trillion in transport infrastructure for accelerating highways construction. The Government has taken up several active initiatives to enhance public transport system including the Bus Rapid Transit Systems (BRTS) approved for 11 cities under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The transportation system under this scheme will be equipped with Intelligent Transport System (ITS) and Metro Rail Projects. The Sagarmala Programme under the Ministry of Shipping is another flagship programme to promote port-led development in the country by exploiting India's 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and its strategic location on key international maritime trade routes. 

Under Union Budget 2019-20, Rs 4,41,704.8 crore (US$ 63.20 billion) was allocated to the sector. The Smart Cities Mission launched on 25th June 2016, is a major urban renewal program launched by the Government under Ministry of Urban Development to develop and upgrade living conditions and infrastructure in selected 100 cities all over the country. Also, to aid the mission, central government has promised Rs. 48,000 crores over five years i.e. on an average Rs. 100 crore per city per year. Matching the center’s contribution, an equal amount will also be spent by the State government as well. Apart from this Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Project aims to transform urban living conditions through infrastructure upgradation in 500 selected cities and towns in India. To people’s amazement the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) targets to achieve 100 per cent scientific management of municipal solid waste in 4041 statutory towns/ cities in the country by 2021. Further Schemes like Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) or Housing for All by 2022 brings opportunity for Civil Engineering graduates to contribute in promoting slum rehabilitation and affordable housing for weaker section of the society by their acquired skill sets. These moves not only aims to provide quality living to society but also to stimulate job prospectus for Civil Engineers. In the days to come Civil Engineering is the winner as it is a part of the system developing society and others are complementary to running the system. It is this confidence among Civil Engineers that is driving them and make them builders, Entrepreneurs and Consultants and not to depend on anybody for employment as there is always exist opportunity for them. The Success rate among peers is an indicator and Civil Engineering as a profession always thrived in corporate or in individual run organizations making a mark on society. By continuously developing and upgrading the services and facilities of the public, it not only gives the Engineer a sense of responsibility towards humanity but brings forth a sense of satisfaction that the work carried out by the Civil Engineer contributes significantly to the wellbeing of the society.

People do ask about the challenges that are on the horizon for the profession. But to answer them, there are no challenges as such, and one should see them as opportunities to leverage as cendible skill set and dare. Civil engineers can also work at national, state and municipal levels of the government. They can also start their own business. Opportunities abound in varying aspects of engineering like Bioengineering, Coastal Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Structural Engineering, Transportation Engineering, Water Resources Engineering and other emerging thrust areas like GIS and Remote Sensing technologies. The most popular industries for getting employed are construction, engineering design, residential construction, heavy civil construction. In India, things are looking up in the infrastructure sector. There is also great employment prospects for civil engineers in government and public sectors like the railways, municipal bodies, the Defense Forces, National Highway Authority of India, government development authorities like the DDA and government housing authority, PSU’s like RITES, BHEL, NBCC, IRS etc.., and Corporates like L&T, AFCONS, GAMANS, RAHEJA and many more posing no limit for Civil Engineers.

Engineers working for mega structures are already impressed by the spirit of innovation that has been brought about in the industry. With the advent of new technologies in the discipline, Civil Engineers are going to ride on the crest of the unstoppable wave that is digitalization. The showcased new products and solutions, these state of the art technologies provide to the community of Civil Engineers, does not limit to GNSS surveying, 3D Modelling and printing, GIS, Building information modelling (BIM), Artificial Intelligence but much more. BIM which is mostly associated with design and preconstruction, benefits every phase of the project life-cycle by allowing projects to be built virtually before they are constructed physically, eliminating many of the inefficiencies and problems that arise during the construction process. Use of 3D printing or additive manufacturing at construction sites aides in reduction of costs and waste, faster construction speed, reduction of accidents, complex architectural shapes, and more. Construction giants have realized the potential of 3D technologies to create new and innovative projects futuristically. The breakneck pace of innovation has become more vibrant by leveraging virtual and augmented reality technologies in and out for any successful construction projects. AR helps architects and engineers to place a 3D model of the proposed design on an existing space, providing an augmented view of the overall architectural plan to the client. The virtual model of what a project will look like upon completion helps clients and potential prospects visualize architectural plans better. Not only this, AR and VR in construction promises a complete and comprehensive understanding of the Project.

As brought out in this article, Civil Engineering as the right choice to all those who are aspiring to become Engineers. Civil Engineering offers an excellent opportunity in current scenario and the trends suggest longest known discipline of Engineering will keep growing and go on providing education and opportunity to serve society. This engineering branch playing a vital role, bears the responsibility to combat pollution and climate change globally.

Prof. H B Raghavendra
The NorthCap University


1. [Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs] (Last visited on 24-03-2020)
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5. Choudhary, Lokesh. (2019), “Civil Engineering: A paradigm Shift”,

CSIS. (2019), “Global Infrastructure development”.

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