Thursday, April 30, 2015


In the past few years many schools have added to their educational offerings and begun to focus on Science, Technology and Math to encourage kids to learn the types of skills that are needed in our fast moving, technology enhanced lives.   In  today’s top career fields these are crucial skills to survive, however many educators are adding ‘Arts’ to the acronym because they realize that in all fields, creative solutions are the key to success.  Looking at Civil Engineering and Land Surveying it is easy to see where each of these educational components are needed to shape our youth into creative, problem solving professionals to tackle tomorrow’s needs.

Civil Engineering is the overall description that covers a wide range of Engineers who work on Public Projects such as buildings, roads, waterways, energy systems, ocean ports, railroads, and airports. Civil Engineering is broken down into subcategories with many different specialties.   But what does it take to be a Civil Engineer?  How do you know if you should pursue engineering as a career?   There isn’t a set type or hard list that can be used, but in general an Engineer is someone who wants to know how and why things work.  A good engineer is someone who can learn and then creatively apply that learning to different situations and applications.   Engineers by definition are problem solvers who create solutions to improve the world around us and to manage our natural resources.   Good interpersonal skills and an ability to communicate ideas are needed to succeed along with a love of learning.  As new technology, information and techniques are developed, the professionals in this field need to listen, learn and adapt to the continually changing needs of our society.   

Civil Engineering, as opposed to other types of Engineering, is concerned with designing, building
and maintaining public works.  Civil engineers work on construction, renovation, and rebuilding projects. Within the field of Civil Engineering there are various areas of focus including Environmental, Geotechnical, Structural, Hydraulic /Water Resources, and Transportation.  Civil Engineers often work with architects, technologists, and other industry professionals on a single project.  Depending on the project a Civil Engineer may have to split their time between working on design in the office and site visits to ensure the proper construction of their designs.  Some Civil Engineers may also be involved in reviewing government regulations, city ordinances and highway designs.

Land Surveying is a profession which relies on legal analysis and science to determine the size, distance and position of the three-dimensional world around us.  Land Surveyors use the Law, Geometry, Trigonometry, Physics and Engineering Principles to produce official Plats, Mapping and Property Boundary Surveys. Land Surveyors also establish points of reference on the ground that are then used for things like geographic Information Systems (GIS), construction, land transactions and planning.  Attorneys, Civil Engineers, Property Owners and Governmental Agencies depend on Land Surveyors to provide them with accurate information about the land in order to divide property, transact property, plan improvements, maintain drainage and manage the existing natural resources.

Anyone thinking of a career as an Engineer (any kind) or as a Land Surveyor should be proficient at math.  Both Civil Engineering and Land Surveying use their math skills on a daily basis.  While there are great advances in technology, programs and models to assist in their work, a good foundation and understanding of math is still essential.

As our society continues to improve technology, the information that a Land Surveyor or Civil Engineer has to work with is increasingly more precise.  GPS, Satellites, and Computer Software all aid the Land Surveyor in making accurate surveys, mapping topography and showing the shape, size and position of landmarks.  AutoCAD is a frequently used Computer Drafting program that allows the Civil Engineer to put their vision on paper.  Despite these advancements in technology, proper education and training is paramount to providing the public with an accurate and dependable final product.

As the youth of today take interest in Science, Technology, Artistic Creativity and Math they will learn the skills needed to find solutions for tomorrow’s world, but they are not the only ones.  As business professionals, our Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors are required by law and a code of ethics participate in continuing education and development to maintain their edge on the ever advancing world of Technology.