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The Life of a Civil Engineer



Meet Sydney! A Roadway Analyst and Civil Engineer!


How would you describe your job?

I'd describe my job as fast-paced. At a consulting firm, our jobs depend on winning bids and proposals, as well as providing quality designs and it's a constant cycle.

What does your day to day look like?

My day starts with getting to work between 7 and 7:30, answering emails, contacting surveyors and working on designs in AutoCAD and Microstation. I usually eat lunch with the other analysts, (those of us who have degrees but not our official licences), and usually the afternoon is more of the same but also plotting and printing plan sets and QCing them. We close out around 6 or 6:30, except Fridays where we leave after lunch. Field work happens at the start of a project when we double check surveys at sites, and in the construction phase to make sure designs are implemented properly, or to clarify sections.

How did you end up in your job/field?

I ended up in my field because after a test, one of my professors insisted that I should be in his department. The work he was doing interested me enough that I decided to switch my major from mechanical to civil. But I chose engineering because my mom is an engineer, and she gave me so many opportunities to learn about it. I've always loved learning about how things work and why, and how they can be improved.

What do you love most about your job?

I love my coworkers the most. Everyone is brilliant, innovative, and extremely helpful to the newbies.

What is your favorite example of a well engineered or well designed thing (a building, a product, a system), and why is it your favorite?

The Tsing Ma bridge in Hong Kong. It's a double decker suspension bridge the carries trains as well as passenger vehicles on top, and withstands typhoons. And it's gorgeous.

What’s something you think people need to fix (again a product, a system, as big and serious or as small and serious as you want it to be)?

I think we need serious infrastructure reform and restoration in the United States.

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