I want to learn about careers as a Civil Engineer

Find out everything you need to know about becoming a Civil Engineer.

Job Title – Civil Engineer


A Civil Engineer is responsible for the planning, design, maintenance and management of construction projects. These projects are concerned with the construction of multi-storey buildings, roads, bridges, harbours, airports, sport stadiums and water and sewage purification plants.

Typical Job Activities

Constant recreation, improvement and conservation of the environment
Establishment of the facilities required for the effective functioning of the community
Designs major structures and monitors the construction process
Supervises surveyors, draughtsmen, technicians and other workers
Carries out research, teach at Technikons and Universities
Serves as a consultant for engineering, construction or architectural firms

Civil engineering is a very broad field and the engineer usually specialises in one of the following:

Geotechnical work
Marine environment
Municipal services
Construction work
Structural design
Hydraulic engineering
Project management

Does this sound like a career for you? Browse jobs in the engineering and construction industry here.

Related Occupations

Aeronautical engineer
Aeronautical engineering technician
Architectural technologist
Civil engineering technician
Civil engineering technologist
Industrial engineer
Quantity surveyor
Town and regional planner

Educational Requirement

Senior Certificate with matric exemption
4-7 years University / Technikon studies

Compulsory subjects:  Mathematics, Physical Science
Recommended subjects: Computer Studies, Geography and Technical Drawing

What natural skills and/or aptitudes do I need for this occupation?

Have an aptitude for science and mathematics
Be able to visualise objects three dimensionally
Be creative and have initiative
Be accurate and persistent
Be able to make decisions
Show good judgement
Be able to work well with others
Express ideas clearly
Have good health and stamina.

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Employment Opportunities 


Market Competitiveness


Income Potential


Self-Employment Options

High – exceptionally high

International Employment Market


Possible Employers

Government - national, provincial, local councils and related organisations like universities, semi-government, etc.
Big private companies
Medium or small Companies
Own small business: Entrepreneurial opportunities in this field
Self-employed: Contractor, consultant, own practice, freelance

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Relevant Contact Details

The Director, SA Society for Professional Engineers (SPE)

The Director, Engineering Council of SA (ECSA)

SA Institute for Civil Engineers

The SA Association of Consulting Engineers, The Executive Director SAACE

Career Progress and Path

Further studies in the specific career field
Further studies in related fields
Experience in specific field
Work performance
Do presentations, seminars, publish articles, etc.
General management studies

Possible Career Paths

Specialist career in the specific field
Management positions in the specific field
Management positions in related fields
General business management
Executive functions
Consultant/ contractor/ own practice/ freelance
Own business

Employment Stability

Moderate – very stable

Reasons to consider this career

The need is determined by new technology
The job is ideal for becoming a general manager
I can design things
I can work with technology
I can create new things
I’ll be able to learn new things on an ongoing basis
I can study for a number of years and face intellectual challenges
I am very interested in a specific subject or field
I can progress in the business world