Civil engineering is a branch of engineering that primarily deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of public works and infrastructure. This article will analyze the difficulty of civil engineering to help you determine whether it is a good major for you.
Civil engineers build roads, bridges, canals, dams, airports, sewerage systems, pipelines, underpasses, buildings and railways. For these highly important tasks, civil engineers are rewarded with a steady career and high earning potential.
Is Civil Engineering Hard?
Civil engineering is hard. Civil engineering is harder than humanities and liberal arts majors but slightly easier than other engineering disciplines. Civil engineering is a difficult degree because it requires students to take several tough math courses, challenging technical classes, and multiple lab sessions.
Grueling Quantitative Courses
Gruelling quantitative courses will mark the start of a civil engineering degree. These classes will provide you with the foundational knowledge to study the more advanced technical courses of your program.
During the first two years of your civil engineering program you will typically study the following courses:
- Calculus I
- Calculus II
- Calculus III
- Differential Equations
- General Chemistry I
- General Chemistry II
- Introduction to Engineering
- Introduction to Computing
- Engineering Statics
- Electrical Engineering Fundamentals
- Engineering Materials
- Electricity and Magnetism
- English Composition I
- Introductory Solid Mechanics
- Introductory Fluid Mechanics
These math and science courses are known for being hard and challenging. Most students struggle with these courses since they are much more difficult than the high school lessons that students are used to.
Advanced Technical Classes
Next, you will have to pass several advanced technical classes which will prepare you for a career in civil engineering. The core courses are almost the same regardless of which engineering discipline you plan to pursue. The advanced technical courses are renowned for their difficult concepts and insane workloads.
Therefore, if you find yourself more inclined to an engineering discipline than the one you currently pursuing; now is the time to change. Switching your engineering discipline during the junior or senior year of college can seriously increase the time it will take to graduate.
You will study courses like the behaviour of materials, construction engineering, environmental engineering, highway and traffic engineering, and civil engineering project.
These lectures will be a mix of theoretical and practical courses to increase your knowledge of civil engineering. Civil engineers need to be proficient in both math and science to have a successful career ahead.
You may have multiple courses during your final year which require you to submit projects to demonstrate your understanding and implementation of the underlying principle. The lab sessions and project courses are a great way to improve your practical skills.
Developing Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are one of the greatest assets that civil engineers bring along with them. Unfortunately developing these skills is an extremely time-consuming and arduous task.
Civil engineers need to master the ability to look at the big picture without ignoring the small details. Colleges strive to develop these skills in students because they are so useful in the real world.
In the real world, there are multiple factors civil engineers need to consider before designing and constructing a tall skyscraper. Building a skyscraper in New York vs building one in Abu Dhabi requires civil engineers to analyze a different set of environmental factors.
For instance, the terrain, weather, and other environmental conditions are vastly different in the two places. As a result, civil engineers need to take into account all of these factors before they can proceed with their building.
Is Civil Engineering Hard for the Average Student?
Civil engineering is quite hard for the average student. This is because civil engineering is a math and science-oriented subject and it is harder than most other fields. If you are an average student you can expect to find civil engineering difficult and you will need to put in a lot of work to succeed in it.
Engineering majors have above-average IQs. This is because engineering is one of the toughest degrees to pursue. More often than not engineers are individuals with technical mindsets, strong analytical skills, and excellent problem solving and math abilities.
Engineers are some of the most highly paid professionals. This is one of the major reasons why some of the brightest and most talented students pursue an engineering degree. University professors use harsh marking and difficult exams to reduce grade inflation amongst highly talented students.
An average student can certainly pursue an engineering degree; however, they will need to put in a lot of hard work.
What is the Hardest Class in Civil Engineering?
Structural analysis is considered the hardest class in civil engineering. Structural analysis is the prediction of the response of structures to specified arbitrary external loads. Structural analysis requires an in-depth understanding of several math and science courses which makes it the hardest course in civil engineering.
Is Civil Engineering Harder than Mechanical Engineering?
Civil engineering is not harder than mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineering is slightly more difficult since it has a broader curriculum, tougher courses, and more mathematics involved. Both mechanical and civil engineering are difficult degrees and you must work very hard to succeed in them.
Civil engineering is a very focused and concentrated field. Civil engineering is an excellent field for someone sure they want to design, build, and maintain physical structures. Civil engineers learn a great deal from their degrees themselves.
Mechanical engineers on the other hand have more learning to do on their job since mechanical engineering is a broader field than civil engineering.
Mechanical engineers hold the advantage when it comes to applying to jobs not directly related to their fields. For instance, It is common to see mechanical engineers being hired in management and marketing positions.
Is Civil Engineering Stressful?
Civil engineering is quite stressful. This holds for other engineering disciplines as well. Civil engineering is stressful because you have to take difficult courses, apply complex mathematical formulae, be extremely precise with your designs, and work in a high-pressure environment.
Engineers are paid more than most other professionals. This is because the work they do is stressful, difficult, and complicated. Civil engineers not only need to create cost-effective and durable blueprints but also execute their designs perfectly.
In many fields, human errors are easily amendable. For instance, a receptionist scheduling the wrong meeting or a painter painting the wrong shade will not lead to catastrophic results.
However, civil engineers can cause entire bridges and skyscrapers to collapse through miscalculations or not taking environmental factors into account when designing the structures. These mistakes can cost someone their life.
Is Civil Engineering Worth It?
Civil engineering is worth it. Civil engineering is one of the highest-paying professions, leads to a stable career, has loads of growth potential, and is a highly marketable degree. However, it is important to realize that civil engineering is a stressful and difficult field.
As a civil engineer, you can expect to be handsomely rewarded for solving complex and challenging problems. These benefits include above-average salaries, vacation pay, bonuses, flexible work, loan repayment help, gym memberships, medical and dental insurance, and other amazing advantages.
A lot of people going into civil engineering assume it is all about constructing cool skyscrapers and smooth roads. This is not always the case. You will also need to design, construct and maintain underpasses, sewerage systems, road lighting, and structures to prevent flooding, erosion, and earthquakes.
A lot of your time will be spent surveying sites, designing structures, debating with your colleagues, and maintaining previously constructed buildings.
Is Civil Engineering A Dying Field?
Civil engineering is not a dying field at all. With a consistent population growth predicted for the future civil engineers will be more relevant than ever before. Advancements in technology and upward population growth demand more roads, buildings, bridges, highways, and other structures are built.
Advancements in technology have allowed humans to build cities in places that were previously considered uninhabitable. Moreover, the ever-increasing population has made civil engineers an integral part of society.
Furthermore, civil engineering problems require unique and well thought out solutions. Civil engineers have almost no fear of automation or artificial intelligence. These are strong reasons why civil engineering is future proof and is expected to grow at a steady rate in the times ahead.
Civil engineering is an excellent field for someone interested in designing, constructing, and maintaining natural and man-made structures. Civil engineering can provide you with a stable and high paying career. However, you will have to put in a lot of effort and work in a high-pressure environment.