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“The Engineer Creates What Has Never Been”

By Brighton College on August 13th, 2012 in Brighton College News, Civil Infrastructure Design

Take a moment to think about your morning routine every day of the week. Waking up in your apartment building, you probably hop into the shower, turn on your coffee machine, listen to the radio and use the lighting in your bathroom while getting ready. Driving to work, you pass through traffic lights, by sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, under tunnels and across bridges to get to your destination, all the while driving past beautiful Vancouver structures like Canada Place, the Harbour Centre, Hotel Vancouver and the city’s tallest building, Shangri-la. Perhaps you take public transit by riding the bus, maybe the Skytrain too, or maybe you’re a cyclist and ride on your preferred bike route. Whichever way you manage to get your day going, have you ever stopped for a moment and thought about how all of these structures and systems were designed, how long it took to make them, and how everything functions so efficiently? You might want to thank Vancouver’s civil engineers and designers who contribute massively to the flourishing of our community and the quality of life of its citizens.

A famous quote by mathematician and physicist Theodore von Karman reads “The scientist explores what is, the engineer creates what has never been;” but it is not only top engineers that contribute to the smooth functioning of society. All individuals involved in the field, be they students, drafters, project managers, surveyors or estimators each play a fundamental role in helping meet the needs and wants of society in the most positive way possible.

Newcomers to the field often start off as civil engineering drafters and technicians before they work their way up to a specialized path. Nowadays, students are learning the fundamental technical skills, teamwork skills and multi-disciplinary thinking skills necessary to succeed in the field. Top civil engineers and designers are detail-oriented masters of computer software programs like AutoCAD and Civil 3D. With three-quarters of the work being social, they are team workers and efficient project managers able to cope with changing client and team demands; they are also flexible and open thinkers, willing to incorporate aspects of other areas like sustainable design into their work.

A popular industry in Canada, and especially in BC, the civil engineering and construction industry employs thousands of individuals in highly specialized sectors of the industry. Civil designers and engineers can specialize in one of several traditional areas including structural, transportation, environmental and more. An excellent and straightforward resource to check out for more employment information in the field is WorkBC.

Catering towards the demand for leading engineers, Brighton College offers a top quality program in Civil Infrastructure Design, and is currently the only college in BC that offers accredited courses by the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC). The program is suitable for newcomers to the field as well as those with previous experience that are looking to refresh their skills in specific civil engineering and construction courses.

So tomorrow morning, you might want to put yourself to the test. Try counting the structures you see around you on the way to school or work and tell us how many you think were done by a team of civil engineers, our guess is 50 at the least!