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# civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career15

## civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

(OP)
What can I learn about civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career?

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

Here are a couple things to read and meditate upomn for the remainder of the time.

To turn on your calculator requires you to select the ON/OFF switch to the ON position.
Good engineering decisions will rarely be noticed, but bad ones will haunt you for life.
1+1=2 but 1x1=1
The relationship between the diameter and circumference of a circle is approximated by 22 divided by 7 but is actually 3.141592653....
The inside of a pipe has a smaller diameter than the outside.
You don't know everything even though you think you do!

Regards
Ashtree
"Any water can be made potable if you filter it through enough money"

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

For any calculations - write out all the steps, including assumptions and sources, in the neatest handwriting you can. Rushing and skipping steps is certain to cause problems, no matter how smart you think you are and how familiar the task seems to be. It won't guarantee no errors are made, but it will be much easier to find them and understand the effect.

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

1. Water generally flows downhill.
2. Gravity is generally always directed downward.
3. There's no such thing as an asphalt stretcher tool.
4. If something just doesn't look right to you...it probably isn't.
5. Architects are the most lovable people in the world.

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### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

3
Put it down and look at it again tomorrow.

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

>> Measure at least twice, cut once -- check for corner/boundary conditions; I've measured window openings and then later found that I neglected some fascia at the bottom of the window
>> Always wait 24 hrs before releasing or acting on any news, good or bad. -- the ensuing time often comes with a complete reversal of the original news
>> Take stupid questions seriously -- dumb eyes can sometimes see what experienced eyes gloss over

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

To expand on ashtree, how do you know what you don't know, if you don't know that you don't know it?

"There is always an easy solution to every problem - neat, plausible, and wrong." - H. L. Mencken

If you end up working on highways, the legal definition of traffic* is: "Pedestrians, vehicles, bicyclists, and ridden or herded animals using the highway right of way for purposes of travel." It isn't all about cars.
*In NY State. Your laws may vary.

This will take more than a minute, but take a class in public speaking. If you can't communicate with your colleagues and clients, you can't be effective.

My glass has a v/c ratio of 0.5

Maybe the tyranny of Murphy is the penalty for hubris. - http://xkcd.com/319/

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

#### Quote (JAE)

5. Architects are the most lovable people in the world.

(Only if they are family)!

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

I just hope JAE jr doesn’t see the sarcasm in that.

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### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

manish....that thirty seconds it takes to walk across a stage and be handed your diploma after years of work and study, added to the 30 seconds it takes to open the letter and pull out your first license, again after years of work, study and mentoring!

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

In rough order of importance:

Life

1. Work for a good director/principal engineer. If you don't work for one and are passionate about your career, move on.
2. Smaller companies > Big companies in your early years.
3. Find a good niche and exploit it to death.
4. Everyone has something to learn from.
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Krug...

Engineering

1. Never work without a pad of paper in front of you to sketch, write lists etc
2. If it doesn't look right, it probably isn't.
3. Refactor spreadsheet calculations as often as possible.
4. Never stop learning.
5. As a general rule, add 50% to the time you think it'll take to accomplish an engineering task.

And finally....
Make mistakes in your twenties, and learn from them in your thirties.

If engineering isnt right for you, its never too late to change.

Good luck with your future career!

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

M/I=sigma/y=E/R

That's all your simple elastic beam analysis in one line. Might take more than a minute to explore the ramifications of it.

Cheers

Greg Locock

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Best Regards,
George

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

after you learnt something : to teach it, many times it is not enough to know; you need to know how to do too

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

Don't blindly take engineering advice from strangers on the internet

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

...especially from people telling you not to take advice!

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### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

Rules of Thumb are often useful, but sometimes very wrong. (i.e. DO THE MATH, you might be surprised by the result)

From one of my dad's fraternity brothers, a now deceased structural engineer, who told me while I was in college: "Look for how it can fail."

==========
"Is it the only lesson of history that mankind is unteachable?"
--Winston S. Churchill

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

Look around wherever you walk, drive, ride a bicycle or fly and if you like what you see then you may start understanding what civil engineering is all about and perhaps will define your future.

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

Work in the field of wastewater treatment, transportation and repair. I have been there for 50+ years. And every building needs to get rid of the sewage.

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

Another piece of advice...….there's no such thing as mud at a wastewater treatment plant!

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

There is a lot of money in shit and garbage aka waste water and waste disposal.

Engineering is not about solving math problems, it's about coming up with a solution to the owners problem and then communicating it effectively. For example I determined the factor of safety to be less than unity under seismic loading conditions OR I expect the structure to fall down in the design earthquake.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right, and if it's worth doing it's worth getting paid for. That being said I work for the love of the job and would do it for free if I could. The work is the work and you can't control that but if you don't love the job then get a new job.

The client is paying for a professional opinion as we didn't make the widget that broke that was the manufacturer or contractor, we just think it was built to meet the design intent.

Ignorance is bliss but knowledge is power. Always remember you may only know just a little more than the owner. Continuous learning is a minimum requirement for any profession.

Karl Terzaghi said
I produced my theories and made my experiments for the purpose of establishing an aid in forming a correct opinion and I realized with dismay that they are still considered by the majority as a substitute for common sense and experience.

Ralph Peck said
An instrument too often overlooked in our technical world is a human eye connected to the brain of an intelligent human being.

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

Be redundant in handling water. Water, in geotechnical engineering, is, basically, your enemy.
Use engineering terms in specifications, not common vernacular (i.e., do not use "common fill" unless you actually specify it)

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

So OP any thoughts?

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

3

You don't need to know everything. You just need to know where to go find it.

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

One may think that a pipes maximum capacity is when the depth of flow within the pipe is full (i.e. 1 x D), however, a pipe has its highers capacity when the depth of flow within the pipe is 0.96 x D (cant remember exactly..) due to additional friction loss.

It got me out of a jam once and hence ive never (completely) forgotten it....

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

As a corollary to EireChch, most highway culverts are controlled by inlet conditions and will never run full. As a result, a smooth interior pipe doesn't have more capacity than corrugated.

My glass has a v/c ratio of 0.5

Maybe the tyranny of Murphy is the penalty for hubris. - http://xkcd.com/319/

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

I believe it's 0.88xD. I work in an area with a high water table, so the pipe is always full.

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

jgailla - should your pipes be letting water in?...:)

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

It's a little irrelevant because the pipes' inlet and outlet are submerged and it's below the water table, so there's little gradient. I've never specified watertight joints, only soil tight. Of course, soil tight usually ends up water tight.

And I just caught the smiley at the end.

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

Actually it is .94. and smooth pipe not under inlet or outlet control carried much more water than a corrugated one. Corrugations slow the flow.

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

This is what I learn from school and from work. Use a large safety factor when you are dealing with soil and water. Over design is better than under-design. Leave large gradients for water to run. Inspect the plumbing before it is covered with concrete. For structures, never trust your calculations. Never remove the form work for concrete earlier than it sat. Take enough time for the precast to sit in the yard before it is shipped. Include impact and dynamic loads in your calculations.

disclaimer: all calculations and comments must be checked by senior engineers before they are taken to be acceptable.

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

2
During the first week of my first engineering job my boss, who had been an engineer for >30 years, asked me to name the three most important things to consider in civil engineering. After staring at the blank look on my face for 10 seconds, he answered his own question:

1. Water
2. Water, and
3. Water

### RE: civil engineering in 1 min that will be useful for the entire career

You’re part of a team. It’s you and the people on the floor or the field. Remember your designs are useless without them. But they will probably still function pretty well without you.

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