Nigerian-born Dr Jonathan Oti is a chartered civil engineer and member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He is the course leader for the MSc Civil and Structural Engineering and the MSc Civil Engineering and Environmental Management programme.
Why did you choose Civil Engineering?
When I was about five to eight-years-old, I always got in trouble with my grandmother for digging tunnels and constructing mini cities complete with roads! The passion bred and during my secondary education I did a lot of research into construction and was able to see how the work carried out by a Civil Engineer contributes significantly to the wellbeing of the society.
Civil Engineers are an integral part of society. Without them, we would have no roads, airports, buildings, dams, harbours or the like. It is a very diverse profession, and offers a wide range of activities across a variety of disciplines (Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Structural Engineering, Transport Engineering and Hydraulic Engineering). Each project has its own distinct design challenges and operational issues, and this makes Civil engineering an exciting profession.
Civil Engineers are team players and this paves the way for them to become great leaders within the community. They combine strong technical competence with creative designing. As a Civil Engineer, your work influences lives, you are part of a group that is helping society to become more advanced, by adapting infrastructure to meet challenges brought on by new technologies, population growth and climate change.
What can graduate Civil Engineers expect from the profession?
The average starting salary for those with a civil engineering degree is around £24,000 to £30,000 per year. Civil Engineers can work in a range of sectors, particularly the construction sector, on buildings of all kinds, transport and communications infrastructure. This includes bridges, roads, tunnels, canals and other large structures. They also work for employers involved in international consultancies or the production, storage and distribution of electricity, gas and water. There are many opportunities in the public sector, with local authorities, government departments and environmental organisations, where engineers are often involved in setting project specifications and drafting tender documents. Opportunities are available both in the UK and overseas. As a Civil Engineer, you are likely to be constantly on the move, sharing your time between the site, the office and perhaps even different geographical area.
Which areas of Civil Engineering currently interest you the most?
Sustainable construction material technology, low carbon technologies, construction management and practice. Currently there is a growing pressure on energy efficiency for new civil engineering infrastructure in the UK and worldwide. This has arisen partly due to the increasing awareness of the public for sustainable construction. In addition, there is pressure on the construction industry due to new government regulations and legislations that are targeting energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions.
Why should people do their training here?
Our postgraduate civil engineering courses are accredited for the Further Learning Programme at Chartered Engineer (CEng) and have been embedded onto the ICE key competencies and development objectives. This is a unique feature in UK MSc programmes. It significantly reduces the period required to achieve Chartered Engineer status and you will be taught by an exceptional group of internationally leading experts. Almost all our graduates gain a very wide range of work options, from tackling complex design problems in multi-disciplinary groups to working on construction sites anywhere in the world; to managing the work of a large team of people on projects costing hundreds of millions of pounds, with the remainder going into related employment or further academic study.