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Why do I want to be a civil engineer? Until recently, I did not know the answer to
this question myself. I was lost when choosing a career. Then, I read about civil
engineering, an occupation involving the construction of buildings, roads, and bridges.
As I looked farther into civil engineering, I liked many of the other aspects involved with
the career. Although the education will be difficult, I have determined that civil
engineering is the career that I want to pursue.
What is civil engineering? This career can not be defined using just a few words.
The many obstacles that civil engineers must overcome cover a vast area of
responsibilities. “Civil engineers conceive, plan, construct, and operate facilities that
meet basic human needs and reach out toward the realization of society’s most noble
goals” (Auburn 106). Civil engineers solve real world problems with the combination of
applying mathematics and natural sciences (Hagerty and Heer 2-3).
Upon deciding to pursue a career in civil engineering, I must have many attributes
that help me decide for myself if I am right for this career. Probable civil engineers can
be found occupying their childhood time with mechanical toys and structural sets instead
of traditional toys. These people will get enjoyment from planning, designing, and
constructing works or facilities. They also have the ability to see how intelligent use of
nature has made our civilization today possible and have the desire to want to improve it
(Golze 41). As a child building blocks filled my toy chest, and erector sets filled my
playroom. I loved the challenge of building things and making things work. A young
passion for the work of a civil engineer leads me to believe I could succeed in this field.
The education of a civil engineer deals mainly with math and natural sciences.
The first four semesters of curriculum required, which I will take at Northeast Alabama
Community College, are the basics such as Calculus I - IV, differential equations,
statistics, English, history, literature, speech, chemistry, and physics (Northeast 40).
After completion of the requirements at Northeast Alabama Community College, I plan
to attend Auburn University. “Auburn University’s institutional mission is to prepare
students for the ethical practice of civil engineering” (Auburn 106).
When beginning my studies at Auburn University, I will be required to take
classes that go even deeper into civil engineering. Classes such as hydraulics, statics, and
water treatment, are required to give an engineer a base to help solve problems in real
world situations (Auburn 106). By taking classes such as these, I will be more prepared
to face any problems encountered on the job.
At many schools, students are able to study and gain work experience at the same
time through cooperative programs. These programs allow students to get a first-hand
look at experiences related to the job while still pursuing their education in that career.
The close relationship between the school and the industry is important because both
continue to educate the student (Hagerty and Heer 47-50). After completing my
requirements at Northeast Alabama Community College, I plan to attend Auburn
University and enter its cooperative program and engineering school. I hope that the
knowledge I will gain from both institutions will lead me into a successful career as an
Civil engineers use their knowledge of material science, engineering theory, and
economics to devise, construct, and maintain our physical surroundings. The work duties
depend on many different areas of specialization in engineering. A structural engineer,
who is concerned with loads to which the structure is exposed, must calculate the
maximum load that the structure can hold. On the other hand, a public works engineer
must anticipate and be responsive to social needs. A company will start a young,
inexperienced engineer out with few responsibilities. As the engineer gains experience,
he or she will also gain additional responsibilities (Hagerty and Heer 89).
The practice of civil engineering pays the lowest salary of all engineering fields.
However, over the past few years, civil engineering graduates have seen a 2.7 % increase
in their starting salaries. The average annual starting salary, according to an article in the
Memphis Business Journal, is $30,618 dollars (Scott 4). Those who pursue a career in
civil engineering do not make their decision based on salary. Instead, they derive
satisfaction from the good done by helping meet the social and economic needs of the
people (Hagerty and Heer 88). Aiding the public’s most common needs is what interests
me the most. The task of creating
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Building engineering, Civil engineer, Structural engineer, Engineering education, Engineering, Engineer
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