Characteristics of A Professional Civil Engineer

Engineering students

After spending months on Civil PE exam prep and then getting your licensure, you would want to be the best engineer you can be. However, being a PE license holder in the United States isn’t enough to ensure you are a top professional civil engineer. Many other factors combined with the PE exam blend together – helping you present yourself as a sound and reliable civil engineer.

Every construction project is a new challenge on its own and it is the abilities of the lead civil engineer handling the project that determines how well the work will be. An expert civil engineer can take on any project, envision it, and develop quality results. Are you sure you are one?

When working on your PE civil practice exam or other prep, you gain every technical knowledge needed. The courses, the equations, the terms, you learn anything and everything. Unfortunately, for fieldwork, it isn’t enough. Fieldwork requires more qualities and skills, which we are going to discuss here.

Check out some of the major characteristics to look for in a professional civil engineer to help you become more balanced in your skillset below:

  • Critical Thinking

As mentioned above, challenges in this field of work are common. And only those who have it in them to overcome such challenges are suited for this position. Construction projects at times can get complex and need instant effective solutions, and this is where an engineer’s critical thinking skills are tested.

A professional engineer should assess the issue, look for possible outcomes, and set the course of action in a way that works best for the project. Critical thinking also includes being calm when the challenge comes up and quickly adapting to the situation to bring optimum results.

  • Communication Skills

Communication is critical in the world we live in today. And same goes for civil engineers. After you become a PE, you will be overlooking high-end construction projects with an extensive team to lead. Your designation will require you to hold meetings with the architects, planners, and more. If you have poor communication skills, delegating work and assigning roles will get tough.

Besides, good communication means you transfer your messages to your employees honestly and with complete transparency. Miscommunication within a construction team can cause more trouble than you realize. Healthy communication is also about listening to what others are saying as much as giving orders.

  • Project Management

Project management is more than just a skill. Even at the beginning of a construction project, project management plays a vital role, guiding the work forward and effectively. Project Management is the tips and tricks that help a professional engineer coordinate the work throughout. A civil engineer will have to assign tasks, review work, balance workload, and do a lot more.

When you know where to begin, and the steps to move the project forward, you avoid unnecessary delays and problems. As a lead engineer of a construction project, if you know how to keep everything on track and complete the work on time, the success of that project is assured.

  • Time Management

Time is the biggest asset of all. And as a professional engineer, one must know how to manage time to meet the business’s needs. This job demands you to work and handle a plethora of tasks efficiently every day. Many projects that you will have comes with a deadline, and as the lead engineer, you should be able to utilize your resources accordingly.

You can take as many PE civil practice examsas you want, but qualities like these cannot be learned there. This is why experience in the industry matters. The more you spend time working closely with other experts, the more you gain valuable insights and more field knowledge.

  • Team Work

The success of any construction project is not solely an individual’s – it is the entire team working together to bring the desired result. If a construction team isn’t well-settled among themselves, they cannot benefit the project. As a professional engineer, you should help carry the team forward and credit them for their hard work.

Even though you are the leader, you should see things from your team’s perspective. Understanding their point of view and ensuring that their abilities are put to best use is very important. It is the head engineer’s responsibility to promote teamwork throughout the project and it is one of the critical elements that drive a construction project to success.

Characteristics of a Professional Civil Engineer

3 Tips to be a Good Professional Engineer

  1. The first step to being a good civil engineer is learning. Never miss out on a chance to take advice from others in the field. Before you get your PE license, you are required to get field experience. During those days, keep a note of things you find worth learning from your lead engineer.
  1. Keep a positive mindset. Don’t take failure too seriously. Stay positive and believe in the process. Work hard on your PE exam prep,and don’t think too far ahead. Sometimes, engineers tend to get too caught up and fail to give attention to the abovementioned traits.
  1. Take feedback from your team. During your initial days as a project head, ask for suggestions. Take feedback and involve your team, especially the experienced ones. It will help you identify your mistakes and emerge as a good professional engineer.


The journey to becoming a successful professional engineer is not an easy one. But with the right mindset and preparation, it is not so far-fetched. If you love being a civil engineer and this is your dream job, always look to improve.

These factors we have listed out for you are to help you present yourself as a sound engineer. Although there could be a handful of more points, these few are the significant features to keep in mind. For your PE civil exam, Civil Engineering Academy can help with the preparation. They have reliable PE and FE review courses, practice tests, and more for you.

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