Climate change. Population growth. Urbanization. Any number of forces are applying pressure to our global infrastructure and sustainable innovations have never been more vital. Civil engineers are uniquely positioned to respond to these challenges by building sustainable and resilient infrastructures quickly and efficiently. Meanwhile, advances in technology – including cloud-based apps and virtual twin modeling – are revolutionizing the profession. Civil engineering is a job of the future.
At Dassault Systèmes, our 3DEXPERIENCE Edu World is committed to upskilling people and training the workforce of the future to adapt to new ways of working and solve the challenges of our planet. Civil engineering fits squarely in that mold and is the subject of the second ebook in our “Skills wanted for sustainable innovations” series.
In this blog, we’ll look at four factors that make upskilling civil engineers an important part of training the workforce of the future. (For more in-depth coverage and testimonials about real civil engineering professionals, download the ebook.)
Civil engineering: critical for sustainable innovation
The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) believes civil engineering is “the best profession to tackle the issue of how to manage the demands of a growing population.” Meanwhile, the United Nations projects 68% of the world population will live in urban areas by 2050. This kind of growth development challenges civil engineers to take into account the increasing need to develop building assets, transportation, energy systems and other infrastructures.
Beyond urbanization, climate change, growing demand for digital habitat and natural disasters are other topics civil engineers must consider. In their daily jobs, civil engineers must meet regulatory standards, prioritize safety, factor environmental risk, consider the endurance of materials and anticipate cost for more sustainable construction and long-term maintenance. They must work closely with architects to determine the best options for harmonizing the surrounding environment and ensuring sustainable practices.
Changing tech and advancements in the built environment
Gone are the days of 2D drawings. They’ve been replaced by the advent of 3D virtual mockups and integrated digital models. Today, projects can be designed, documented and simulated before a single stone is cut.
Civil engineers are using cutting-edge technologies, such as collaboration on the cloud, 4D simulation, automation, cloud computing, building information modeling (BIM), virtual design construction (VDC), virtual twin and digital continuity to transform the way they handle our built environment in a more sustainable manner. The growing demand for connected buildings, smarter materials, smart cities, modular buildings and digital habitat only accelerate the pace of change.
From BIM to virtual twin – a new era of collaboration
Previously, the various teams involved in a project would each use their own software. This created problems of waste and conflicts due to inconsistent information, which were common issues for the construction industry. All actors now need new ways of collaborating and innovating. Thanks to the use of a unified framework of cross-disciplinary information, as well as a simplified interoperatbility with other software, virtual twins are now taking over traditional methods for infrastructure development, operation and maintenance. They optimize the whole building management and guarantee predictive maintenance and performance of the built environment all throughout its lifecycle.
Job Outlook of Civil Engineers
Industry analysts predict civil engineering jobs will be on the rise over the next decade. By 2030, the global construction market is expected to grow by 85% to reach US$17.5 trillion, according to a Global Construction 2030 study. As infrastructure ages and societies continue to develop, the hiring demand for civil engineers will be high. According to O*NET Online, employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 2% by 2029 in the US. In France, the Building and Public Works industries projects 68,000 civil engineering jobs will be created in by 2024.
With demand for civil engineers on the rise, experts in digital tools and 3D modeling will be very attractive talents. Gaining experience with sustainable approaches, like CAD software from CATIA or SOLIDWORKS, BIM expertise, construction management and infrastructure lifecycle management or modeling will be crucial for the next generation of civil engineers.
Keystones of infrastructure
Digital innovation clearly demonstrates great potential to civil engineering jobs. As we have seen, the time is now for a disruption where technologies have finally come to revolutionize the profession. Cloud-based apps, BIM, virtual twin models, Virtual Reality and even 3D printing are re-inventing the way we build the world around us. Civil engineers must have the experience and knowledge necessary to collaborate effectively and in a fast-paced and creative work environment, across many disciplines. They are keystones in every building and infrastructure project. As those projects continue to grow at a large scale, engineers will be more and more required to strengthen the foundation of a more sustainable world.