Civil engineering is the oldest engineering discipline. Because of this, it has eventually developed into a complex area of study that it has several sub-disciplines. Some schools and universities offer these sub-disciplines separately from civil engineering, so that graduates already have a specialization. Some schools choose to offer these sub-disciplines as postgraduate courses.
The sub-disciplines of civil engineering include the following: environmental engineering, structural engineering, materials engineering, transportation engineering, construction engineering and surveying. With these areas of expertise, a civil engineer has a variety of career options.
For you to get into a career in civil engineering, first determine your interest and passion. If it is in design and construction of buildings, roads and bridges, you may find the construction industry as your niche and go into design engineering. If you are concerned about orderliness and cleanliness, environmental engineering careers usually focus on wastewater management and sewerage systems, as well as solid waste management. If you are interested in solving traffic problems, transportation engineering focuses on safely and efficiently moving people and goods by making traffic flow smooth and free moving. Transportation engineering doesn't only focus on roads, but sea and air traffic as well, including the design, construction and operation of harbors and airports.
There are several other sub-disciplines to consider. Even before you graduate, it is good to attend civil engineering conventions organized by engineering organizations in school. Most of the time, companies participate in these events to help them in their job recruitment process. Go around and ask questions to help you consider your options.
Once you have taken a job in one of these industries, be teachable and efficient, since entry-level jobs for civil engineers do not immediately take on complex design projects, but are mostly focused in assisting the senior engineers. Once you are considered as one of the responsible and efficient engineers, you can get promoted to become part of the design team as a project engineer, then you can go up to be a supervisor, a manager and so on. Some engineers who have a lot of experience, regardless of age and years of service move on to become consultants. Other countries usually hire foreign consultants, so going abroad is a big possibility for consultants.
Another career option after gaining enough experience and exposure is building and opening up your own engineering firm that offers both consulting services and design, construction and maintenance services. You can partner with other engineers that have expertise in other engineering fields such as electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.
Before getting into a consulting career or opening up your own engineering firm, it is best to have as much exposure in projects as an employee. Get to know clients and fellow engineers in the process and establish your network. It is also advisable to attend conventions for engineers and learn about new techniques and technologies. This increases your chances for promotion, and it will also equip you with the knowledge you need when you decide to move on in your career.