According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Civil Engineers are involved in “the design, construction, and maintenance of physical structures in the interest of the general public. Technical specialties within the discipline include construction, environmental, geotechnical, structural, and transportation engineering, as well as urban planning and water resources.” The Civil Engineering department’s website also shares excellent information about the field. See what Columbia students have gone on to do with their degree with CCE’s What Can You Do With A Degree in Civil Engineering tipsheet.
There are several possible career tracks for Civil Engineers, including Engineering Consulting, Construction, Academia/Education and Federal/State/Local Government. Government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and departments of transportation, constitute nearly one-third of employment for civil engineers (Source: U.S. Department of Labor). Top employers in the field include: Arup, Bechtel, Gannett Fleming, Lend Lease, MTA, Skanska, Hunter Roberts, Thornton Tomasetti, Turner Construction, Tutor Perini, Weidlinger Associates. The American Council of Engineering Companies also maintains lists of members and companies. For more details on the work of Civil Engineers, visit the Civil Engineering department website, the Civil Engineering pages of Occupational Outlook Handbook, and Sloan Cornerstone Career Center.
Civil Engineering Job Search
While some large organizations may recruit in the Fall semester, many others will seek full-time hires on an “as needed” basis. The key is to start your search early so that you do not miss opportunities. Use resources like the professional associations listed below to apply to positions and seek out networking opportunities, attend CCE’s Engineering Career Fair and Engineering Industry Showcase, and pay attention to your departments’ emails and your LionSHARE saved searches. Opportunities exist in all locations, but are most numerous in major metropolitan areas and in developing regions. About one in five civil engineers will pursue a masters degree at some point in their careers (Vault.com). Entry-level jobs usually involve routine work, often as a member of a supervised team. After a year or more (depending on job performance and qualifications), one becomes a junior engineer, then an assistant to perhaps one or more supervising engineers. Establishment as a professional engineer comes after passing the PE exam.
- Science Technology Engineering Internship Program (STEP) and other CCE sponsored international and national internship programs
- Career Fairs and Networking Events: Attend our career fairs and special events throughout the year including the Engineering Consortium Career Fair and Startup Career Fair.
- Engineering Industry Showcase: Held in the Spring semester, offers a panel session and networking opportunities with representatives from a variety of engineering disciplines.
- List of Leadership Development and Rotational Programs
- Vault & WetFeet guides: We subscribe to Vault and WetFeet, which offer profiles of industries, companies, and careers. For example, download WetFeet’s Industries & Careers for Engineers, Vault Guide to Engineering Diversity Programs, Vault Guide to the Transportation Industry Employers, Vault Guide to Government Employers.
- Student Organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers at Columbia and Engineers without Borders
- Steel Bridge Competition
- Civil Engineering Department Website
- Student Research Involvement Program
- Robert A.W. Carleton Strength of Materials Laboratory
- Information on the FE Exam (Students should find out from their academic advisor whether their desired career path requires EIT/PE certification)
- Fellowships for CC/SEAS, GS, and GSAS
- Mentornet, an online mentoring community in which Columbia University participates
- American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
- Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY)
- Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
- Institution of Transportation Engineers (ITE)
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- Society of Women Engineers
- Pathways to Science: To find programs such as undergraduate summer research opportunities, graduate fellowships, postdoctoral positions, as well as resources and materials pertaining to recruitment, retention, and mentoring
- National Science Foundation REU Sites: The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation
- American Academy for Advancement of Science: A resource list of AAAS career development programs
- Engineering Jobs – Civil: This component of the EngineeringJobs.net site is catered specifically to jobs in the civil engineering industry
- ACECNY: A proactive coalition of more than 270 firms representing every discipline of engineering related to the built environment — civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical — and affiliated companies.
- Research Gate: A network dedicated to science and research. Connect, collaborate and discover scientific publications, jobs and conferences
- Engineering Central: Lists engineering positions and resumes across all engineering disciplines
- Engineer.net: A broad-scale engineering job-search engine that many companies use to find new talent