Junior Civil Engineer Job Description
Junior civil engineers work on infrastructure projects including utilities and highway and bridge construction under the direct supervision of licensed civil engineers. Junior engineers are skilled technicians with extensive familiarity with the mathematical principles of engineering and design, since they design project elements and calculate dimensions and component needs to support civil engineering activities.
Junior civil engineers work on a variety of projects and may design and engineer elements related to commercial, industrial, and residential construction works. Most junior civil engineers work as part of a larger team reporting to a senior civil engineer who coordinates and signs off on project components. ‘
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Junior Civil Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
While a junior civil engineer’s duties can vary between projects, most of the postings that we analyzed shared several core responsibilities:
Prepare Blueprints and Specifications
Junior civil engineers prepare blueprints and specification sheets for entire projects or smaller components of large-scale undertakings. They may use computer-assisted drafting programs to create dimensional drawings for project elements or assemble material specification documents for contractors. Junior civil engineers may also review plans and blueprints prepared by other team members before they are submitted to the supervising engineer for final approval.
Manage Project Workflow
Many junior civil engineers oversee the progress of project elements. This can include visiting sites to take measurements or resolving contractor delays on behalf of the senior civil engineer. A junior civil engineer frequently serves as a liaison between the engineering team and construction workers. In some cases, junior civil engineers work closely with the lead engineer to develop project schedules and deliverable timelines.
Develop Cost Estimates
Lead civil engineers may rely on junior civil engineers to provide budget oversight and develop cost estimates for materials and personnel based on documents and project plans. In some cases, junior civil engineers may work with the lead engineer to review bids and examine supplier costs to determine the best prices for project materials and personnel, with the junior civil engineer making recommendations to project leaders about vendors and suppliers.
Inspect Construction Sites
Junior civil engineers may make periodic site visits to monitor progress and ensure that projects are completed according to specifications and construction codes. Typically, a junior civil engineer prepares a report about site conditions and progress and reports their findings to the lead civil engineer. In some cases, a junior civil engineer may provide direction to contractors on behalf of the lead engineer, particularly when project elements need to deviate from blueprints.
Provide Engineering Support
Throughout the planning and construction processes, junior civil engineers provide support in ways that can include gathering data for permit applications, presenting documentation or blueprints to government officials, and maintaining records of change orders. Junior civil engineers receive assignments directly from the lead civil engineer, so the day-to-day duties can vary based on the specific needs of a project.
Prepare Project Reports
Junior civil engineers prepare and present progress reports to the lead civil engineer, technicians, and other team members. These reports can include project timelines, areas where costs may exceed expectations, and potential delays or issues that arise during construction. If the junior civil engineer is working on a public works project, they may also need to present these reports with the public and government officials.
Junior Civil Engineer Skills and Qualifications
Junior civil engineers complete engineering tasks for a variety of public and infrastructure projects under the direct supervision of a more experienced lead engineer. They typically have at least a bachelor’s degree, along with the following skills:
- Math and physics proficiency – junior civil engineers perform math and physics calculations for projects and project elements under the supervision of an experienced engineer, so they need a strong foundation in these subject areas
- Project planning – because junior civil engineers provide support throughout the project planning and development stages, they need some skill in project planning, drafting, and documentation
- Project management – junior civil engineers may oversee projects to ensure adherence to engineering specifications, material guidelines, and project schedules, so familiarity with project management practices is helpful in this role
- Problem-solving skills – this role requires junior civil engineers to devise technical and creative solutions to problems that may come up during the course of construction in order to prevent delays or mistakes
- Team coordination – junior engineers work on teams and report directly to senior civil engineers, so effective team coordination and collaboration are both necessary
Tools of the Trade
Junior civil engineers split their time between offices and construction sites. They need to be able to use standard office equipment and technologies in addition to the following:
- Drafting software (AutoCAD, SketchUp)
- Project management software (Asana, Smartsheet)
Junior Civil Engineer Education and Training
Typically, junior civil engineers have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, although many possess more advanced degrees. Engineering programs should be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Because junior civil engineers work under close supervision, many begin in this role soon after completing a degree program and may even work as junior civil engineers while completing their licenses. This role provides many opportunities for on-the-job training as junior civil engineers gain more experience and further responsibilities.
Junior Civil Engineer Salary and Outlook
Junior civil engineer salaries can vary depending on the specific organization the engineer works for and their geographic location. According to Glassdoor, junior civil engineers earn an average annual salary of $63,295 based on 6,349 reported salaries. PayScale’s estimates average $52,424 per year, although its data is based on only 53 reported salaries.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide specific employment outlook information for junior civil engineers, it does expect civil engineer employment to grow 11 percent by 2026.
We searched the web and found many resources if you’re interested in learning more about working as a junior civil engineer:
American Society of Civil Engineers – the ASCE is a professional organization for civil engineers providing networking opportunities, industry news, and career development resources
Civil Engineer’s Handbook of Professional Practice – authors Karen Hansen and Kent Zenobia explore the profession of civil engineering and examine how technology is shaping and changing the industry
Civil Engineer – check out this web portal to quickly access many resources related to civil engineering, including detailed mathematical analyses based on real-world examples
A Dictionary of Construction, Surveying, and Civil Engineering – read this reference guide to learn about some of the most common topics in civil engineering, including surveying and construction management
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