Top Skills for Civil Engineers in 2021 and Beyond
October 13, 2021

The demand for civil engineers around the globe is expected to increase significantly over the next decade thanks to rapid industrialization, urbanization, and a growing focus on developing high-quality infrastructure. At the same time, civil engineering is also becoming an increasingly competitive field for newcomers as more people are looking to break into this fast-growing, high-paying industry. In fact, a recent study published by the UAE Ministry of Education found that graduates who study civil engineering had the best chances of employment in the country—a fact which has made the field very popular at universities in the region.

As there is no shortage of civil engineers around the globe, hiring firms often receive dozens or even hundreds of applications from recent graduates looking for entry-level positions. In other words, the level of competition is high among applicants looking to land their first civil engineering job or move up and accept a higher-paying position at a more respected engineering firm.

Whichever situation you are—either looking to break into the field or looking to level-up your career at your dream engineering firm—one of the ways to stand out amongst your peers is to make sure you can demonstrate all of the key civil engineering skills employers are looking for. To help give you a leg up, we compiled this list of the top skills that can help you get recognized and hired.

What top skills are civil engineering firms looking for?

Keep in mind that this is not a complete or exhaustive list of all the skills needed to be a successful civil engineer, but it is helpful for recent graduates and career advancers to know the top skills engineering firms are looking for so they can assess their own strengths/weaknesses and plan to up-skill in areas that need some work. With that, here are some of the top skills for civil engineers in 2021 and beyond:

1- Technical skills

Obviously, it is very important to have a strong foundation in the technical areas civil engineers rely on, including mathematics and physics.There may also be specific technical skills civil engineers need to work in different branches of the field, such as construction, geotechnical, structural, and transport. Technical skills also extend to working with maps, drawing, models, and blueprints. 

Well-rounded civil engineers should be familiar with a wide range of different applications and tools, including drafting or drawing software (e.g., AutoCAD, SketchUp), project planning and management software (e.g., Primavera P6, MS Project), civil engineering software for 3D structure/architecture modeling (e.g., Autodesk 3D Studio Max, Maya, AutoCAD Civil 3D), geo-technical modeling software (e.g., GeoStudio, Geo5, ArcGIS), and structural analysis and design software (e.g., STAAD Pro, SAP2000, ETABS). 

2- Project management

Even entry-level civil engineers may be responsible for self-managing and leading a diverse, multi-disciplinary team of professionals. Civil engineers are also responsible for collecting and evaluating inputs from other departments or stakeholders, as well as ensuring that projects work within set budgets and time frames. With so much to “juggle” at any given time, civil engineers must be able to demonstrate strong project management skills, including planning, forecasting, and organizational awareness.

3- Communication skills

Excellent communication is a highly valuable skill among civil engineers. In civil engineering—perhaps more so than other engineering disciplines—the ability to communicate effectively is fundamental to project success. Civil engineers must be able to clearly communicate ideas to their peers and clients, as well as be able to comprehend and understand input from others (remember, communication is a two-way street).

4- Vision and creativity

The best civil engineers are the ones who can demonstrate the ability to “think outside of the box” and have the vision and creativity to do so on a regular basis. The top firms expect their engineers to devise innovative solutions to complex problems, which often requires doing something that hasn’t been done before or making improvements on existing ideas to meet specific challenges.

5- Critical thinking

Civil engineering—like other engineering disciplines—can be broadly defined as applying engineering principles to develop solutions to specific problems. Due to the complexity of the problems facing civil engineers on a regular basis, firms look for people with strong critical thinking skills who can find efficient and workable solutions that satisfy all project requirements and parameters.

How to demonstrate your skills to prospective engineering firms?

Having the right skills is one thing; being able to demonstrate those skills to a prospective employer is another. To help you stand out and get noticed for the skills you bring to the table, here are a few tips for demonstrating your skills to engineering firms looking to hire:

  • Make sure to mention the above skills (and any other applicable ones) in your resume and cover letter, with examples of how you have demonstrated and applied those skills throughout your academic and/or professional career. 
  • Research certifications in any of the above areas to demonstrate that you have taken additional time to develop and hone specific skills. For example, you may earn a certificate in project management, strategic communication, or in using CAD software. You can also look for online CE courses through learning platforms like Engipro to gain practical knowledge in subject areas that engineering firms are looking for. 
  • Look for volunteering or internship opportunities to work on projects that require you to demonstrate proficiency in any of the above skills. Such projects need not be related to civil engineering, so long as you can demonstrate and explain how you applied the above skills.
  • While being interviewed, look for opportunities to answer questions in a way that demonstrates your grasp and mastery of the above skills (and others, as they are relevant).

Want to level-up your civil engineering skill set?

If you want to take your career to the next level, Engipro can help. As the only learning platform of its kind, Engipro is 100% focused on helping civil engineers develop, enhance, and refine their knowledge and skills. Thanks to a robust course library and one-on-one tutoring and consulting, Engipro can help you gain mastery of the top skills and knowledge engineering firms are looking for–including project planning, project management, communication, and proficiency in today’s top civil engineering software. 

And because Engipro was designed by actual civil engineers, we understand the requirements of the job market and know what skills are in demand to make sure that you are always ahead of the curve.Our ready-made courses cover all the topics you may be interested in, no matter where you are in your career. Community members also have access to one-on-one tutoring and consulting, which means you can get insights and advice from experts who can help you take the next step in your career.

For less than the price of a streaming service each month, you can access the world’s richest content library dedicated to civil engineering. Best of all, you can try for free today by downloading the app and seeing all of the amazing courses, content, and bonus services that come with a monthly Engipro subscription.

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