Ask an Expert CAREER PATHS / JUN. 06, 2017
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Do civil engineers need to be good at drawing?

civil engineer drawing blueprint
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Dilemma:

Hi! I’m Yuri from the Philippines. I am still in high school and planning to take a civil engineering course in college. But I am having some doubts about my skills because I am not that good at drawing. So my question is, do civil engineers need to be good at drawing?

Kyriaki says:

Hello, Yuri! I don’t know how much research you have done, but it might be worth getting some insight into what civil engineering involves to get an idea of what it is required of you.

According to Top Universities, Civil Engineering is the professional practice of designing and developing infrastructure projects. It is the oldest type of engineering, and it offers you the possibility to work on all kinds of projects both small and large in scale. For example, you could be involved with the construction of projects as large as airports, bridges, tunnels, roads or dams, but this largely depends on your own interests.

You will need a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in civil engineering and then get licensed by a professional body. Alternatively, you can do this through an apprenticeship, or start working as a technician and at the same time study part-time towards a degree.

To earn a degree the most essential skills are:

  • Maths
  • Science (particularly physics)
  • Project management
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Technical Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Design
  • Leadership
  • Visualisation

The ability to explain design ideas clearly as well as analyse large amounts of data are also both very important.

You will notice that there are no drawing skills on the list. You do not have to be talented at drawing to become a civil engineer. But, it’s necessary to be able to use drawing software such as AutoCAD. Hand-drawing may be helpful when you design buildings, but most of the companies today use computers that can draw blueprints.

So while you don’t need to be an artist, you will need to be able to review technical diagrams and illustrations and know how to use computer aided drawing programs (CAD) very well.

Perhaps the best way to find out what you need to know is from civil engineering graduates on Quora who say they use drawing as a medium of technical communication. You must be able to comprehend drawings to understand all the quantitative, qualitative and commercial aspects of the job.

While they are not architects, civil engineers need to be skilled in architectural design techniques, working with blueprints, maps, drawings and models as well as computer programs used for architectural design and construction.

Completing a course in engineering drawing might be helpful if you think that you lack designing skills. These will be required to learn how to communicate precise design information and use projections as a means of representing a 3D object in 2D.

Most colleges offer computer-aided design (CAD) classes as part of the core requirements of civil engineering courses. Courses in general writing, technical writing and speech are also taught to help you communicate your ideas and designs with other professionals.

However, some countries and educational institutes may have different educational requirements. So this depends on where you are going to study and it’s worth checking out what these are before you make a decision.

Good luck! If you need more help check out our available resources:

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