By Justin Augustine
Have you ever taken the time to stop and look at the world around you? I’m not talking about the people or even the birds and trees; what I’m referring to are those concrete giants that emerge from the earth beneath us that cast shadows on everything that they survey. I’m talking about the structures that make up our cities, freeways, airports, water and waste management systems and even our homes. We often take these marvels for granted, but some of us look at these and wonder in awe.
The brains behind the infrastructures that make up the modern world around us are the individuals known as civil engineers. Their primary duty is to find efficient and cost effective solutions to an array of needs expressed by industry, government and the public, from transport to waste management.
The man with a building plan
Johan Jordaan is a civil engineer employed by Golder Associates in Africa, a global environmental engineering group. “I entered the profession in January 1997, working first for the National Department of Transport and thereafter for the National Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.”
Now civil engineering is a discipline that deals with the design, construction and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, which includes roads, bridges, buildings, dams, and natural features that require a bit of support or preservation.
“Civil engineers serve a vast number of market sectors, including the public sector (various levels of government), mining, industrial, water, energy, waste, construction and oil,” explains Johan. Civil engineering encompasses a vast variety of duties and opportunities as Johan explains: “Ask ten civil engineers what they do from day to day and you’re more than likely to get ten different answers. The advantage of the field is that there are endless opportunities for specialising and creating product lines to address the needs of an increasingly complex world.”
Building your career
Becoming a civil engineer requires a degree in civil engineering and a lot of mentorship under a qualified engineer. “Young engineers are placed in developmental programmes and mentorship and strong leadership is essential. With time the engineer will develop