Civil Engineering and Its Key Subdisciplines

A lot of people want to become a civil engineer. People like Reddy Kancharla, for instance, have had a huge impact on society as a whole, ensuring various important structures are fit for purpose and safe for the general public. Added to that, there is a huge demand for civil engineers, which makes it a very interesting career. However, it is also a complex career, and one with many different subdisciplines.

A Drive in Demand for Civil Engineers

There are a number of key factors that have led to a significant increase in demand for qualified civil engineers. This includes:

  • An aging workforce, with the baby boom generation retiring.
  • Aging existing infrastructure that requires updating.
  • Greater knowledge of the environmental impact of constructions and their materials, but also of the impact of Mother Nature on structures.
  • The new presidential directives as set by Donald Trump to put infrastructure first.

Civil Engineering Subdisciplines

One of the things students who wish to become civil engineers discover quite quickly, is that it is a very wide and varied career. People like Reddy Kancharla, who have worked in the field for many years, have come together to develop a greater insight into the types of careers and subdisciplines within civil engineering as a whole. Kancharla is also in negotiations with various colleges and universities to encourage them to offer these subdisciplines as concentrations in their bachelor or master degree programs, something that some of them have now started to do.

The accepted subdisciplines within the field of civil engineering include:

  • Materials science and engineering, which focuses on the properties of the different materials used in engineering.
  • Coastal engineering, which focuses on the environmental impact of coastal climates.
  • Construction engineering, which looks a structural, environmental, material, and geotechnical construction issues.
  • Earthquake engineering, which looks at making buildings earthquake proof.
  • Environmental engineering, which focuses on minimizing the environmental impact of construction work.
  • Geotechnical engineering, which looks at the earth's behaviors and how this can impact construction.
  • Water resources engineering, looking at how to minimize water wastage, water conservation, and utilizing water.
  • Structural engineering, which focuses on weight issues but also the impact of Mother Nature.
  • Surveying, which some see as a separate professional altogether. However, surveying is generally included in civil engineering degrees.
  • Transportation engineering, which looks at the transportation network.
  • Municipal or urban engineering, which focuses on urban planning.
  • Forensic engineering, which investigates what causes failures in structures and other engineering projects.

Clearly, there are a lot of different subdisciplines found in civil engineering. It is important to be aware of this if you are considering it as a career. Often, the subdisciplines have some overlap, or even a significant overlap. This means that you will generally work together with students from other subdisciplines. The benefit of this is also that you will pick up knowledge from the other subdisciplines and that you will start to build a network of professional contacts, working together with those who will eventually become your colleagues.