5 Necessary Skills to Pursue a Civil Engineering Career

Shannon TelepanichShannon Telepanich | Thu, Apr 20, 2017

The idea of a “born engineer” is a myth. Some people can master the profession’s necessary skills naturally, but that doesn’t mean others can’t hone these abilities. It takes time and practice to develop prowess in a given field, but the reward is usually worth the effort. 

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Still, you need to know what these skills are before you can pursue them. Understanding the fundamental elements of engineering will help you know where to focus your energy, but you’ll still need to learn habits that will suit your specific discipline. This especially applies to civil engineering, since its products affect the very structures and routes that people use every day. 

Fortunately, this article can help you develop these habits. It will show you a few of the fundamental skills civil engineers use every day. You’ll be able to start down your desired career path when you apply this knowledge to your work.

1. You Must Be Able to Lead a Team

Civil engineers don’t work in a vacuum. They can’t complete their projects without the help of supplemental technical staff, urban planners, and other professionals. Success will ultimately hinge upon how well engineers direct their colleagues. An undertaking may seem promising, but poor leadership can ruin even the best enterprises

You need to become a leader before a civil engineering firm will consider hiring you. You’ll be responsible for coordinating your entire project, so you need to get the most out of everyone involved. Inspiring confidence and setting a good example are therefore crucial to your success.

2. Creativity and Critical Thinking Are Essential

You shouldn’t become an engineer if you don’t want to solve problems. The entire occupation revolves around evaluating potential resolutions to a technical problem and executing them. You’ll need to consider every possible option and outcome to truly excel.

That’s why you should develop your creativity and critical thinking skills early. A project may call for an unconventional idea, and you have to be ready to think actively on your feet.

3. You’ll Need Strong Interpersonal Skills

Your vision means nothing if you can’t articulate it to others. Your team needs to be able to understand the needs and directions of the project in order to execute it properly. They’ll be more likely to make mistakes if you can’t give them specific directions. Strong communication skills can make a huge difference when deadlines loom and time is tight.

4. Adaptability Is an Asset

Engineers love a new challenge. Each project offers unique characteristics and new challenges. You’ll need to be able to handle these changes without breaking a sweat.

Adaptability will be key to your success. It will make you more decisive when you’re working on a project, and you’ll be able to take on exciting new opportunities between assignments. Your skills will help you complete your work, but your versatility will ultimately make your career.

5. Your Math Skills Should Back up Your Other Strengths

Each of the previously listed skills are important, but they’re hardly unique to engineering. Almost every leadership role requires some form of these traits. Math and science skills are the traits that ultimately set engineers apart from other professionals.

You won’t get the chance to demonstrate your leadership, adaptability, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills if you can’t perform the basic technical requirements of your job. If you hone all five of these traits in tandem, however, your potential in civil engineering will soar.

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Shannon Telepanich

Shannon is a Sr. Engineering Recruiter at the Ian Martin Group; a recruiter who is as much at home qualifying candidates and communicating with clients as building a search strategy. She has an in-depth understanding of search tools, skill requirements and ability to leverage professional networks to allow swift design and ability to impact strategic talent sourcing strategies that dive deep into industry sectors to identify game changers. When Shannon isn’t recruiting she is busy with two tenacious kidos and a big shaggy dog; A lover of all things nature minus the bugs.

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