Civil engineering is one of the oldest traditional engineering disciplines. With the advancement of civilization and technology, civil engineering has been broken down into number of disciplines: architectural engineering, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, municipal/urban engineering, materials engineering, waste water engineering, etc. The earliest examples of civil engineering works can be tracked as far back as 4000 BC. Civil engineering combines the knowledge of science and mathematics to develop something of engineering value from natural resources. A typical civil engineer possesses knowledge in subject areas such as structures, materials science, geography, geology, soils, hydrology, environment, mechanics and other related fields.
Major responsibilities of a civil engineer include design, construction and maintenance of civil structures such as bridges, roads, water systems and buildings. With the advancement of science and technology, the capabilities of civil engineering have grown greatly. Sky scraping buildings, huge dams, great tunnels, and bridges are all results of civil engineering developments. Strong knowledge of engineering mechanics and the strength of materials is a prerequisite for professional excellence in civil engineering. Important components of the civil engineering curriculum include engineering geology, environmental science, fluid mechanics, surveying, hydraulic engineering, structural analysis, foundation engineering, construction techniques, structural analysis, irrigation principles, structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, and the computer aided design of structures and analysis. Other interdisciplinary courses such as project management and construction management are being taught in modern civil engineering departments along with the core disciplines. Hydrology, concrete technology, remote sensing GIS, ground water engineering, traffic engineering and management, environmental impact assessment, and industrial waste management are some of the several electives being offered to civil engineering majors now at universities world-wide.
Current thrust areas in civil engineering include (but are not limited to) the investigation of novel materials for cementing requirements, concrete deterioration study and microstructural characterization, intelligent and sustainable transportation, environmental impacts, water and resource development procedures, structures and materials characterization and study processes, green concrete, soil concrete etc. There are number of journals providing significant resourceful information online to academicians, research persons, and professionals in civil engineering. Two examples are IJHCE and ACI.
Professional civil engineers in several countries (including the United States) will earn a license which normally includes few years of work experience and passing certain examinations administered by a national council. Apart from fundamental knowledge of science and engineering, skills such as experimentation, data interpretation, modern software tools usage, system design, and compatibility with such realistic constraints as economics, environment, society, ethics, and sustainability are some of the attributes needed for excelling in the profession. Interdisciplinary engineering knowledge and professional soft skills are other mandatory requirements for the civil engineering profession. ASCE is a civil engineering professional society offering information to practicing professionals such as code of conduct, recent trends, professional conferences, and emerging developments.