What is the basis in civil engineering

Job profile civil engineer:
Create what remains.

Civil engineers * and their training play a special role in engineering. Here, in the truest sense of the word, the foundation for growth and prosperity is being built. Economic progress is secured with infrastructure projects such as road and rail networks as well as industrial and building construction projects.

In order to show how multifaceted the job description is, we accompanied civil engineers all over Germany with the camera. They talk about their everyday life, their training, their goals and of course about what they are currently planning and building.

* For reasons of readability, the simultaneous use of male and female language forms is not used below. All personal designations apply to both sexes.

What does a civil engineer do?

Civil engineers shape modern civilization. Houses, bridges and streets are the first things that come to mind when you think about construction. But also the planning and construction of airports, rail networks, public buildings and projects for drinking water supply and wastewater disposal are part of her field of activity.
Civil engineers shape our entire living environment and at the same time play a key role in sustainable development.

Civil engineers plan and build, for example:
  • Infrastructure networks: roads, bridges, rails, tunnels, drinking water supply and waste water disposal,
  • Residential, industrial, commercial and office buildings,
  • On- and offshore wind farms, low-CO2 power plants and geothermal systems.

Civil engineers not only prepare the static calculations for the structures, they are also project managers, coordinate the teams on the construction site and in the planning offices, incorporate their ideas and find creative approaches to implementing construction projects.

No project follows “scheme F”. Every project is different
  • in terms of scope - is it a mammoth bridge project or a smaller office building? -
  • from the environment - what is the ground like, what materials and equipment are required? -, and
  • in terms of the environment - are private investors or the public sector contracting authorities?

All of this has an influence on the daily work and the dealings with the construction site teams, authorities, planners, construction supervision and other parties involved. A sure instinct in personal interaction with the team and creativity in planning and implementation are essential.

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What skills should you have?

Civil engineers can have different profiles. Important characteristics are independence and independent, motivated work. The activities require innovative and creative thinking combined with cost awareness.

Other important skills are:
  • Technical understanding
  • Craftsmanship
  • Basic understanding of mathematical and scientific relationships
  • Soft skills such as communication skills, teamwork, leadership skills

In the construction industry, there are constantly changing tasks that have to be solved under pressure and yet with reliability and foresight. In other words: acting responsibly - in the interests of the cause and the people in the team - is essential. Just like the willingness to learn, the willingness for continuous further training and the "thinking outside the box".

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How are IT and civil engineering linked?

Civil engineers have a wide range of tasks with organizational and technical requirements. Even people with a knack for IT applications will find a wide range of development opportunities in the construction industry.

A wealth of ideas, design skills and foresight are required in their daily work with the "Building Information Modeling" tool (BIM tool), which civil engineers are increasingly using. The program for virtual building data modeling does much more than just represent construction projects in 3-D. The model making program brings people, processes and tools of a construction project together digitally. It is used to organize information and processes. Architects, civil engineers, draftsmen, structural planners, house technicians and builders work together across disciplines. Connected via a cloud, everyone involved has access to the digitally visualized 3-D model. Each actor can enter their relevant construction information and refer to the design ideas of other planners. So the building project develops step by step and hand in hand.

A transparent project is created through the simulation of construction processes taking into account time and cost factors. It is possible to react to risks and possible points of conflict at an early stage. BIM is used from the initial planning to the commissioning of the building. A constant update of the performance values ​​of the construction site during the construction phase serves the constant comparison of target and actual values. In this way, performance and cost forecasts can be created and countermeasures can be taken immediately in the event of any deviations. This increases efficiency and quality.

BIM is a planning method that is still being introduced in Germany. However, many universities are already offering special training content on BIM.

The advantage for students: After graduating, they have a unique selling proposition, a qualification that is immediately required in the company. It is precisely in this area that specialists will be sought in the future, because new job profiles such as BIM manager, BIM coordinator or BIM planner are emerging in construction companies. As such, you are a project manager, consultant and database manager.

This video clearly explains how Building Information Modeling works:
What is Building Information Modeling (BIM)? BIM explained in 5 minutes!

What does the course look like?

University or college of applied sciences (HAW)? That depends on the professional goal: The HAW primarily qualifies for a more practical activity, e.g. B. as a site manager. The more scientifically oriented course at the university prepares for more extensive planning and construction tasks as well as for the higher civil service. But of course there are no fixed guidelines here. This flexibility is given in each of the possible forms of study.

Civil engineering degree

At the beginning of the course, natural science subjects predominate and the first basics are taught, for example in building materials and construction theory. The bachelor's degree covers all areas of civil engineering. In the master’s course, you choose a specialization such as structural engineering (concrete construction, steel construction, statics, geotechnical engineering), hydraulic engineering, construction operations or transport. Internships should be part of the curriculum at all universities. They are completed at construction companies, building administrations and engineering offices and familiarize themselves with practice. When choosing a university, it should be ensured that a practical semester is actually offered there during the course of study.

dual study

As part of the dual course of study, it is ensured that the junior employees gain practical construction experience right from the start and are not only theoretically prepared for their future work environment.

Numerous HAWs and some universities offer dual courses in civil engineering. Here civil engineering studies are coupled with vocational training in a construction profession. The advantage of a dual course of study is that you later have two degrees: for example, Bachelor of Engineering and Road Construction. Some training companies cooperate with universities in their area. If you get an apprenticeship place there, you also get a study place at the same time. In the search for suitable training companies, the universities or the regional construction industry associations usually help. Further information on the dual course of civil engineering is also available on the platform www.wegweiser-duales-studium.de/bauingenieurwesen.

A great incentive to take up the dual study program is the training allowance. Apprentices in construction earn the best in Germany. The gross wage averages around 1,300 euros per month over three years.

Professional academy

At the Glauchau University of Cooperative Education you can study civil engineering with a degree in civil engineering (BA). Contact: www.ba-glauchau.de/bauingenieurwesen.

The course is linked to an employment contract in a company, similar to the dual course (see above). In contrast to the dual course of study, however, the student at the vocational academy does not complete any training in a commercial construction profession.

Distance learning

Leibniz Universität Hannover offers a part-time distance learning course in structural engineering. Distance learning is a course for civil engineers with a bachelor's degree (HAW or university) and ends with a master’s degree.

The TU Dresden offers a bachelor's degree in civil engineering as a university technical distance learning course.

At the University of Duisburg-Essen, an undergraduate bachelor's degree in civil engineering can be completed part-time in 14 semesters.

Eligibility to study

To be able to study, a university degree is required. In the case of a technical diploma, a technical focus must have been taken.

Due to the currently high number of new students, many HAWs and universities have introduced a grade point average due to limited capacities. Current information can be found at: www.nc-werte.info. It therefore makes sense in any case not to focus on one university when choosing a place to study.

Normal period

The same period of study applies to the HAWs and universities: The standard period of study for the Bachelor's degree is between six and seven semesters. The master’s course lasts around three to four semesters.

The annual student statistics can be accessed on the website of the Main Association of the German Construction Industry. It has all the student numbers of all universities and HAWs at which civil engineers are trained in Germany

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What specializations are there?

In the course of their studies, the civil engineers specialize, but they are trained to be technical all-rounders because they should be versatile. Many civil engineers later take on tasks that do not always correspond to their specialization. That only works if you have broadly based your studies.

Typical specializations:
  • Structural engineering (concrete, wood and steel construction, static calculation of structures, building materials)
  • Construction operation (site management, construction, construction management)
  • Transport and spatial planning (road and rail construction, airports, traffic control)
  • Water and waste management (hydrology, water management, hydraulic structures)
  • Geotechnics (underground or underground structures, geostatics and geomechanics)
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What are related courses?

Industrial engineer construction or classic civil engineer?

The civil engineering course combines a classic civil engineering course (in basic features) with a business education and therefore has a clear focus on business administration. The majority of industrial engineers in construction are therefore also employed within the company in departments that increasingly solve commercial tasks. The specific differences can best be read from the study plans and examination regulations. These can be obtained from the respective faculties.

Civil engineer or architect: what are the differences?

The architect plans and designs buildings. On the basis of these drafts, the civil engineer plans the load-bearing structure of the building and turns the building project into reality. The civil engineer plans the execution of the project, but architects can also work as site managers. In the implementation phase, civil engineers and architects usually work hand in hand.

environmental engineer

The study of environmental engineering places a focus on the topics of environmental protection and sustainability. The environmental engineer is one of the so-called "green" professions, whereby he is primarily trained for the following areas and tasks: water supply and disposal of waste water, exhaust air or other waste, analysis of risks for the environment and society, sustainable management of all usable resources, remediation of contaminated soils and waters, pollution control. Due to the diverse environmental standards and extensive legal requirements in the area of ​​the environment, there is an ever increasing demand for expertise in this area in the planning and implementation, and also in the future dismantling of structures. A careful use of resources, the use and further development of sustainable energies and an adaptation to the consequences of climate change are becoming more and more important. Environmental engineers also develop new concepts for flood protection and water management. Environmental engineers also find their place in industrial companies in the field of environmental process optimization.

What does a mechanical engineer do in the construction industry?

The basics of the mechanical engineering and civil engineering courses are similar. That is why there are many areas of work in the construction industry in which mechanical engineers can work.

Mechanical engineers are specialists and are wanted wherever construction machinery and equipment are developed and used. The equipment required on construction sites must meet the changing technical requirements. A mechanical engineer supports you with the needs-based selection and adaptation.

Mechanical engineers create project-related operational plans, provide process analyzes with technical advice, take on the management coordination of the assembly and disassembly of large devices and systems and design special machines.

Mechanical engineering degree

Here one deals with the conception, simulation and construction of devices of various types and sizes. Physics, materials engineering, mathematics and computer science provide the necessary fundamentals for this. The master’s degree in mechanical engineering deepens technical knowledge within four semesters and prepares you for specific application tasks. This specialization usually begins towards the end of the bachelor's degree.

dual study

In the dual study course in mechanical engineering, one achieves the academic degree of Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering. During their studies, the prospective mechanical engineers specialize in one of the fields of lightweight construction, manufacturing, textile, construction machinery and engine technology or ergonomics. The subject area should of course correspond with the training company.

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An overview of all civil engineering study locations can be found on this website in the Universities section. All addresses of the universities are also stored here.

The universities of applied sciences have also joined forces at www.fbt-bi.hm.edu. The university construction courses maintain the website www.ftbgu.de

What are the future prospects?

Anyone who starts studying civil engineering today has excellent chances of an attractive job with perspectives, individually designed tasks and an attractive long-term remuneration.

  • There is a lot to do - the job market for civil engineers

    Future security is one of the essential characteristics of the civil engineer profession. In view of the age structure of the civil engineers employed, future civil engineering graduates will find increasingly good labor market conditions, even if the number of students has risen sharply again in recent years.

  • Good job, good money - right from the start

    The collectively agreed starting salary in the construction industry after graduation is for the bachelor's degree: € 3,400 to € 3,600, master's college: € 3,700 to € 4,000, university master: € 4,000 to € 4,400. Any professional experience of the candidates or other collective and company benefits and allowances are not yet taken into account.

  • Active worldwide

    A civil engineer who wants to get to know the world has the best prerequisites. Language skills and flexibility are personally important. Large international companies require employees across Europe, the Middle East and other regions.

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Where do you work after graduation?

Construction company

In the construction company, the university graduate receives intensive “on-the-job training” and thus becomes a project manager and later, if necessary, department head or branch manager - at home or abroad.

Construction managers are now managers who are responsible for leading the team on the construction site and coordinating the use of equipment, materials and personnel. They have a high level of economic responsibility because they are responsible for cost management for the project.

Engineering offices: wanted all-rounders

Design, planning, permits, construction, calculation, monitoring and control of building projects - working in an engineering office involves many creative aspects. Individual offices specialize in special areas such as traffic planning, municipal civil engineering, environmental impact assessment or project management

The public service

Here the civil engineer takes on sovereign tasks and often acts as a client - in the upper and higher service. Among other things, he is responsible for spatial planning, traffic routes, public building construction, approval of construction projects by private investors, water management and environmental protection.

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