Job descriptions and industry overviews

Civil engineer

22 Jun 2023, 13:22

Designs, plans and oversees construction projects such as railways and roads.

Feature image Civil engineer

Alternative job titles for this role

  • Transportation engineer
  • Environmental engineer
  • Construction engineer
  • Geotechnical engineer


Civil engineering is all about improving and protecting the world we inhabit. It involves the planning, design and construction of facilities that we require for everyday living, industry and transport. A career in civil engineering can range from the development of airports, offshore oil platforms, bridges, roads, railways, waste collection and treatment systems, and water supply systems. Civil engineering also aims to solve environmental issues such as air pollution, coastal protection and waste treatment.

What the job involves

  • Undertake technical and feasibility studies including site investigations
  • Use a range of computer packages for developing detailed designs
  • Undertake complex and repetitive calculations
  • Liaise with clients and a variety of professionals including architects and subcontractors
  • Compile job specs and supervising tendering procedures
  • Resolve design and development problems
  • Manage budgets and project resources
  • Schedule material and equipment purchases and delivery
  • Ensure projects run smoothly and structures are completed within budget and on time

How your career can develop

There is currently an abundance of employment opportunities for the civil engineering team both in Ireland and internationally. With experience, there are plenty of opportunities to specialise in a diverse range of areas, including coastal and marine, power, water and roads to name a few. Promotion to senior engineer level is achievable, and with more experience, to principal engineer level and beyond.

Why civil engineering matters

In addition to civic projects, civil engineering also has charitable uses. Recently, three young Dublin engineers travelled to Kenya after winning a prestigious competition aimed at harnessing modern technology to help the poorest people on the planet.


  • Critical, analytical thinking
  • Strong visualisation skills – to visualize how complex components will come together in to a finished project
  • Communication skills
  • Advanced maths skills
  • IT skills
  • Ability to control and monitor budgets and costs
  • Attention to detail

Typical employers

  • Local authorities
  • Civil engineering contractors
  • Consultancies
  • Private industry
  • Materials research bodies

Typical salary

  • Graduate/Starting €30,000
  • Senior/Potential €60,000+

Typical qualifications

Degree in civil engineering. Graduates wishing to become chartered engineers now need to hold an accredited masters degree (level 9) or equivalent. Other gateway degree qualifications include:

  • Construction engineering
  • Structural engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Geomatics
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering

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