Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is civil engin. the lowest of the lowest when it comes to engineer?

  1. Jun 6, 2013 #1
    Hello there! I’m still a high school student. My classmates and I were talking about what we course we’ll take for college. Most of my classmates want to become electronics and communications engineers but I think it’d be cool if I become a civil engineer. When I told them that I want to become a civil engineer, they laughed at me.

    ? If not, why did my classmates gave me a laugh?
    Could anybody please provide a list of benefits that I can get if I become a civil engineer?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    Jokes on them, you're making 800 bucks a year more! Just don't look up aerospace engineering (although there are other reasons not to go into that field)

    Telecom and micro engineering are fashionable because of the tech boom but you aren't really making more money unless you're a superstar... in fact if tons of people are going into a field because they think there's more money to be made, then when they all graduate there are too many people for the jobs available and they end up getting paid less. If our nation's crumbling infrastructure has anything to say I would imagine there should be a strong demand for civil engineers in the next 10 to 20 years but I'm sure there are other people on the forum who know more about that than me

    Civil engineering is considered less glamorous because while other people think mechanical engineers design awesome cars and electrical engineers design awesome phones, they think civil engineers design roads and sewers. In fact all of them sit at a computer all day staring at design software so it's hard to distinguish between the careers from that aspect.
  4. Jun 6, 2013 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Civils are useful, but they're fun to make fun of. I'm pretty sure that it's a requirement that civils at my university fail to understand how to control flooding if they want to graduate.

    Aerospace engineers are obviously the best. That's a completely unbiased opinion, too. :)
  5. Jun 7, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Putting others (you) down is a way to make them feel better about themselves. You should pursue something because you have a passion for it; ignore insults from others as best you can.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  6. Jun 7, 2013 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Civil engineers aren't the lowest of the low. Civil servant civil engineers are!
  7. Jun 7, 2013 #6

    jim hardy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I too thought I wanted to become a communications and electronics engineer but found those high level classes not interesting. I preferred things I could see and feel so took some power courses. I really enjoyed motors and transformers, took some nuclear engineering too..

    When you get old and look back on your life it would be very nice to have some accomplishments that you can see. A handsome bridge or building with lots of divine proportions in it would be really something to show your grandkids.
    Whoever designed this skyscraper that mimics the architecture of the beautiful 400 year old church is my civil engineering hero..
    it's above Cathedral Subway station in Montreal.. you should see it from ground level!

    picture courtesy this site ,
    I think it's royalty free per their site- maybe they wont mind a little publicity. I emailed them for permission...

    But when men are young, anything that doesn't move is considered bo-ring.

    Don't buy into the myth that Civil is easy.
    Civils use the same calculus as all other engineers. Buckling is buckling whether it's neutrons in a nuclear reactor or stress in a structural column.

    Do not buy into the "glitz" of fast moving high-tech it can get boring in a hurry.

    In your lifetime, what with our infrastructure falling down around our ears, civil engineers will have more opportunity for a great career than most other disciplines, I think.

    So that "list" you want includes at least
    high employability in a field known for job security and stability;
    opportunity to get involved with "Real" physical structures that can be seen;
    a choice of field work in the outdoors all over the place or an office job where your kids can grow up rooted in one neighborhood.

    As an electrical, that's my view of civil. The older I get the more I respect their discipline.
    Still water runs deep.

    old jim
  8. Jun 8, 2013 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I'm not sure why some people would think that civil engineering is less glamorous than other fields of engineering. I'm a nuclear engineer, and I have a number of colleagues who are civil/structural engineers. We use similar analytical tools, and some civil engineering problems, e.g., dynamic or impact analysis of large structures, are quite challenging and interesting. Civil engineers contribute to the national and local infrastructure.

    If one finds civil engineering a meaningful profession, then go for it.

    One will find that high quality engineers/persons generally have respect for those in other engineering disciplines.
  9. Jun 8, 2013 #8
    please explain more
  10. Jun 8, 2013 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It's like this. When you said civil engineer, they realized what a typical easy non-thought choice they had stated, since electroncs and communications are what is portrayed to be, from the ads and the new products that come our way, as to where all the action is happening in the world. So, to save face, they laughed it off, and probably are sulking to this day.
  11. Jun 8, 2013 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Tour KPMG at 600 de Maisoneuve ouest
    http://www.officespacemontreal.net/financial_core.php?subaction=showfull&id=1287170021&archive=&start_from=&ucat=7& [Broken]

    Originally known as Maison des Coopérants , later Place de la Cathédrale, before the present Tour KPMG.
    The street to the left is University Street and to the right is Union Street. Above and below are boul de la Maisoneuve and rue Saint Catherine.

    Designed by architects WZMH Architects

    The church, the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral, is designated as an historical monument by the government of quebec (1988) and as a National Historic site by Canada (1999).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  12. Jun 8, 2013 #11

    jim hardy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Thanks 256.

    I was in Montreal most of 1986 - 1987 when they were building the metro under that church.
    I got some pictures of it perched up on high concrete columns probably 60 feet above the construction below - it sure looked precarious..

    It was an impressive bit of construction.



    This was before they dug very deep....or maybe when they were filling back in above the metro.


    pictures courtesy http://www.arch.mcgill.ca/prof/sijpkes/alsop/alsop-webpage-final.html
    and http://www.quinndressel.com/projectportfolio/RENOVATION/Renovation.html

    I was delighted when the skyscraper got near the top and they repeated the arches of the little church.


    As I recall the pipe organ inside is the oldest one on this continent.
    The metro station below has arch motif too...

    I loved Montreal and wish life's situation at the time had let me stay...
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  13. Jun 8, 2013 #12


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There are significantly fewer large employers of aerospace engineers so your employment options are much more limited, and you can find yourself shut out of a job for a longer period of time more easily with an aerospace degree than with another type of engineering degree. At least this is what I've been told by people in that area
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook