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    Civil or Construction

    I am finishing up my junior year in HS and want to major in Civil Engineering. I've seen this topic debated before but could someone explain the differences in the two. I have taken pre-calc, construction, and blueprinting already and have enjoyed all of them. Thanks for the help



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    Re: Civil or Construction

    Depends on what you want to do...if you want to do the design of concrete, steel, or other type of structures then do CE. If you want to deal with soils, and all that stuff do CE. If you want to do the building construction, managing, engineering of buildings then do Con E. While you progress through the Con E programs, you take tons of CE courses that are the same classes that CE's take. But again, if you want to do the design of construction projects do CE, if you want to do with the building of projects, management of projects, etc...then do Con E. Obviously I am biased to Con E, but other people will be able to give you teh CE part of thigns



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    Re: Civil or Construction

    I'm in the ConE program right now, and I love it. I would say that a ConE degree would land you a job as a project manager or design engineer for a contractor. I can't really speak on behalf of Civil Engineers.



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    Re: Civil or Construction

    Drop all your classes right now. Immediately get a job as a government employee with a union....IDOT, teacher, law enforcement, first responder, etc..... If you are close to graduating, just stay on the masters-phd-perma-grad-student career track. The private sector cannot compete, and you must look at the trends. In about 10 years you will see my wisdom.



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    Re: Civil or Construction

    Quote Originally Posted by Shinyhappyclone View Post
    Drop all your classes right now. Immediately get a job as a government employee with a union....IDOT, teacher, law enforcement, first responder, etc..... If you are close to graduating, just stay on the masters-phd-perma-grad-student career track. The private sector cannot compete, and you must look at the trends. In about 10 years you will see my wisdom.
    well my state job at this point is pretty nice .. but i wouldnt say drop everything with the union cause most of the union emp at ISU do not get any more overtime ot comp time benefits



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    Re: Civil or Construction

    I got my degree in Civil and now do structural design. Feel free to PM me with any questions. If you want to work on the design side of projects, go into Civil....if you want to be outside building, go into ConE. Though you can get a 2 year construction managenet degree elsewhere and save a lot of money and do what most ConE's do. A ConE degree would give you a more copmlete engineering background which would no doubt be helpful down the road should you want to switch over to more of a design career.


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    Re: Civil or Construction

    Do you or can you start out in civil engineering then switch to ConE after fresh or soph year? I'm staring to get a better picture of things. Thanks for the help



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    Re: Civil or Construction

    If you are sure you want to be in the construction side of civil engineering, go into Con E. If you want to be on the design side of civil engineering, go into CE. If you aren't sure, go into civil because you can land a job in either.



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    Re: Civil or Construction

    I wish the Dept of Civil & Construction Engineering hadn't given up ArchE

    Quote Originally Posted by syclones View Post
    Do you or can you start out in civil engineering then switch to ConE after fresh or soph year? I'm staring to get a better picture of things. Thanks for the help
    The classes overlap so much that it won't be a problem at all, especially within the first two years. In fact, switching to any other engineering department won't be that big of a deal your first couple of years. Just don't wait until your senior year...


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    Re: Civil or Construction

    The first 2-3 years of the CE and ConE programs are pretty much the same +/- 3 courses being different. So you can easily switch programs. The core difference is that CE's come up with the actual design of the roads, buildings, infrastructure, etc. and the ConE's supervise the building of those things. A construction management degree will get you about any job a ConE has though. The ConE's just have the engineering background. I have quite a few friends that have CE degrees and work in the construction industry.

    I'm a CE and graduated almost a year ago. I work down in Dallas and do roadway and utility design for municipalities. I enjoy it because of the freedom I have in design. There are so many things you can do, especially if you work for a large firm that allows you to transfer to a different discipline, i.e. going from roadway design to rail (which is getting to be a HUGE industry, both freight and passenger).



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    Re: Civil or Construction

    Quote Originally Posted by syclones View Post
    Do you or can you start out in civil engineering then switch to ConE after fresh or soph year? I'm staring to get a better picture of things. Thanks for the help
    The first year, year and a half, is interchangeable among almost all engineering majors. You definitely should be able to switch between CE and ConE during the first two years.



  12. #12
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    Re: Civil or Construction

    I'm in a unique position as I got my BS in CE and up until I graduated I was thinking a I wanted to do design. I eventually ended up getting hired by a contractor that specializes in heavy civil marine based projects (bridges over water, locks, dams, piers, etc). I couldn't be happier. I get to be out in the field and can spend time in the office as well. The firm I work for is rather unique as they encourage all of their engineers to get their PE license. We do a lot of in-house design for access, falsework, and whatever else we need done. With the type of jobs we do, there is quite a bit of that work. I've got about half a dozen design projects that I've dealt with in the past 9 months

    I do think a CE can transition easier to a ConE's job than a ConE can transition to a CE's job.



  13. #13
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    Re: Civil or Construction

    I'm an '05 ConE grad and I know some ConE's who do design, both civil and structural. So thanks for marginalizing my degree by stating that a two year CM grad can do my job.

    The biggest difference is that CE's stay focused on design and ConE's get into the business side of the industry. If one took the right courses, a CE could do the job of a ConE and vise versa.

    I am definitely biased but I'd encourage anyone to look at the ISU ConE program. ConE's find the mistakes that CE's made in their design.



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    Re: Civil or Construction

    I'm in the same boat as Sousaclone. I got my BS in CE and a Master's in Geotechnical (branch of CE) and I work for a large contractor. A lot of what I do is risk management and temporary design.

    I would look at your personal preference toward the office vs. field atmospheres. I know a lot of people who couldn't stand to sit behind a computer in an office all day. On the other hand, I also know people who don't want to be outside in the heat/cold/whatever. So, if you're an indoors type person, CE might be best for you because you'd spend 75% or more of your time in the office, in general. ConE's tend to get out to the jobsite more. Obviously, there are many exceptions to these statements.

    One downside that I see to the CE profession is that a lot of times, no consideration is given to constructability. So, engineer's design these huge bridges/buildings and the contractor (my company) has to figure out how to build the damn things. What I like about working for a contractor is you get the opportunity to see the fruits of your labor.

    If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.

    Good luck and don't worry, you have plenty of time to make up your mind! You've already chosen ISU, so you're a step ahead of everyone else


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    Re: Civil or Construction

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwalk View Post
    ConE's find the mistakes that CE's made in their design.
    Oh how I love hearing this..... I know your kidding around, but I get sick of hearing this.



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