Answers by Colista Freeman
One of the great things about civil engineering is that there is a huge variety of jobs you can do! If you prefer to work in an office, stick with planning and design – there is typically very little outside work. Sometimes you will need to visit a project site, but most of the time there’s no need to get dirty – it’s mostly observation. As far as driving, I find that I often work with a team of people, and we can travel together to meetings or project site visits. That’s usually the only type of driving involved in the planning and design phase of a project. You should be able to easily work as a civil engineer without needing to drive a vehicle! Good luck!
Many civil engineers are able to work without traveling extensively. It simply depends on your employer and the type of engineering work you do. Working on the construction side of civil engineering will often require more travel, since work occurs on the project site. The project planning and development side is typically done in an office setting, and often requires less travel.
I would suggest researching engineering companies you’re interested in. You should also talk to other engineers to find out how much they travel. I would highly recommend seeking internships with engineering firms while you are in school, which will allow you to see many different options available to civil engineers.
While there are many civil engineers who devote an enormous amount of time to their work, there are many others who seek to strike more of a balance between work and home. If you want to take the more balanced approach, the key is to find an employer who encourages employees to put their families first. Participate in internships and talk to engineers to find out which employer is the right fit for you and your goals. I’m a wife and mother of two little boys, and I work for a fantastic engineering firm that lets me be an engineer AND a mom. I can take time off whenever my kids are sick without feeling guilty. I can also bring my children to the office if I have no other childcare available. They allow me to work from home when I need to do so, and my hours are flexible. A few years ago, I even decided I needed to cut back a little on my work hours to spend more time with my children, and they’ve been very supportive of me. Family-friendly engineering firms are out there.
You are not the only person in engineering who has struggled with core classes! Each student has trouble understanding material from time-to-time ????????? I certainly did. Before changing your career path, try meeting with your professor, getting a tutor, or studying with others in your class. Also, sometimes taking the class under a different professor can help ????????? it might just be a matter of finding a teaching style that meshes with your learning style.
The core classes you are taking now do not necessarily define what you will do as an engineer in the ?????????real world.????????? They give you basic knowledge that you can build upon with future engineering classes, and they help develop the critical problem-solving skills you?????????ll need as an engineer. I would suggest that you look into engineering internships, which will give you a good idea of what working in that field is like. That will really help you decide if it?????????s the right career path for you.
A nice pair of slacks and a blouse is always a safe choice for visiting an engineering firm (often referred to as business casual). Dont wear anything too snug or too revealing. Open-toed shoes or dressy sandals are fine - but NO FLIP-FLOPS! Also, make sure your clothes arent wrinkled. Remember - you might want to get an internship there in a few years, so youll want to make a good first-impression.
There are so many career options in engineering. The more technical options, such as design, may require less writing than other areas, but verbal and written communication is still important. There are many wonderful, smart, and successful engineers who are continuing to improve their English skills. In my experience, engineers are a very diverse group of individuals, and I have worked well with people for whom English is a second (or third) language. I would urge you not to limit yourself because you arenn?????????????????????????????????????????????t yet confident in communication and writing! There are plenty of people who will be willing to help you (in college and your career) with English, while you can help them with math and physics (and I have experienced this myself).
Personally, I think the diversity of the people in engineering is one of the benefits of the field!