JoSAA Advice 2022: Should I Study Civil Engineering? An IIT professor explains it

During a recent interactive session organized by IIT Bombay this month, Professor DN Singh listed the advantages of studying civil engineering over other branches in an IIT. Here is what the veteran IIT Bombay professor had to say:

Why Civil Engineering

In 1982, I had asked my advisor why I should choose civil engineering at IIT Kanpur over other branches.

From my experience I can tell you that I am quite good compared to my batch mates. I am satisfied I can enjoy my life and motivate others. I am part of most (academic) activities in the state and the country. My research activities have been recognized and I am the ‘Innovation Chair Professor’ at IIT Bombay.

Confusion is a good state of mind, so stay confused for life. This is the best humans can do. For those who do not find civil engineering attractive, I suggest you follow the website of the Institution of Civil Engineers or ICE based in London. I am a member of this organization. You should also listen to the ICE President’s address recorded over the years.

I suggest this because I want you to discard the mindset that today’s engineers (from different branches) operated in silos. It is not like civil, mechanical, electrical, aeronautical work, isolated from each other. There are many examples where a civil engineer has contributed a lot to aeronautical engineering. There are two subjects in civil engineering, which are common to many branches such as mechanics, chemistry, aerospace engineering and material science.

The civil engineering profession requires the engineer to see something that is invisible to the naked eye. Think of a land where a residential complex is to be developed, or a commercial complex, dams and airports are to be developed. Do you think ordinary men can do this? I doubt it. It requires a vision. It takes vision to realize that today this is a wasteland and tomorrow I’m going to create a tower here, which will be a vertical campus.

Please watch the recorded message from the President of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Mr. Sanjay Pant from BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) has given a talk in the month of July on the opportunities of civil engineering profession, please also listen to it.

Future perspectives

Civil engineers are strategic thinkers, they can be strategic financial thinkers as well because it has a deep relationship with finance and economics. This comes once you have realized how your thoughts should be implemented, for the betterment of society.

Most civil engineers are leaders because they lead an entire team. When Ram Setu was made, there was a leader who created it. If you’re building a building, a seaport, or a commercial space, you can’t do it alone. You need a team of 20,000 people. Imagine how many companies, financial and administrative institutions you have to deal with.

Ordinary men cannot do this. If you think you’re unusual, welcome to the club. If you are very good in your academics, be it physics, chemistry, maths, computer science, computer science, you will find civil engineering fascinating.

You will be able to apply what you learn every day. This is what I do sitting in my lab. If you look at our publication records, we solve society’s most advanced problems like carbon capture, utilization and storage. It is based on simple physics, chemistry, geology, etc.

Sustainability is the main goal of civil engineers, how to give back to the earth what it has taken. This is the main philosophy.

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